The ENSP is a higher education institution under the supervision of the French Ministry of Culture, located in Arles in the south of France, a city renowned for its photographic culture. In 2020, the school relocated to a luminous 5000 m2 building, designed by French architect Marc Barani, allowing it to combine its teaching programme with areas open to the public : a 450m2 exhibition space, an auditorium seating 185 people, a library with over 30 000 works and a Fablab laboratory for digital and material innovation around images and related objects.

Proud of its tradition of developing new interdisciplinary reflections and a multiplicity of image-based practices, several spheres of training and activities intersect at the Arles School; from the initial training, open to 25 students each year leading to a Master’s diploma, to the Formation continue for professionals seeking a diploma or certification, as well as research programmes such as the Doctorat, in partnership with the University of Aix-Marseille, and classes for amateur photographers with the ‘Cours de photographie pour tous’, alongside a research and creation mentorship residency programme open to young international artists.

The origins of the school

The École nationale supérieure de la photographie was founded in Arles in 1982 and is the only art school in France dedicated to photography.

In 1979 Lucien Clergue, Maryse Cordesse and Alain Desvergnes came together to create a place of university level study where the practice and techniques of photography could be taught, and where theoretical practice would be broadened to the wider cultural domain of the medium and of images in general.

With the support of the mayor at the time, Jacques Perrot, the Rencontres d´Arles were offered a building at 16 rue des Arènes and the decision was made to dedicate the site to the teaching of photography. The Ministerial delegate for Fine Arts, Claude Mollard, advised that the school should operate as a nonprofit association. In 1982, following the election of François Mitterrand, the finalised project for the school became one of the president’s major cultural projects.

Over the years Lucien Clergue, Maryse Cordesse, Jean-Maurice Rouquette and Michel Tournier had turned Arles into an undisputed capital of photography. It made sense to set up a national photography school here, both as a tribute to the founders of the Rencontres and in recognition of Arles as a world centre for photography.

The programme of teaching put in place by Alain Desvergnes, based on a small team of teachers, artist residencies and speakers, was an innovation for its time. L’Ecole nationale de la photographie was built on the creative freedom, the discoveries and the autonomy of its students.

The school has transformed over time and through its different directors into a public institution, becoming the École nationale supérieure de la photographie (ENSP) in 2005.

In 2019, as the school moved into its new building, Marta Gili, the ENSP’s first female director was appointed.

Board of directors

Members of the board with voting rights

Chair of the board of directors

Members of the board 
Deputy Director for Employment, Higher Education and Research, Directorate-General for Artistic Creation, Ministry of Culture

→Bénédicte LEFEUVRE
Regional Director of Cultural Affairs by interim, Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Ministry of Culture

President of the Regional Council, Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

→ Patrick de CAROLIS
Mayor, Arles

Artist et Filmmaker

Director, Villa Médicis, Rome (Italie)

→ Fabien VALLOS, titular
→ Muriel TOULEMONDE, titular
→ Caroline BERNARD, substitute
→ Tadashi ONO, substitute

Staff Members
→ Tatiana ROSETTE, titular
→ Yannick VERNET, titular
→ Lucile GUYOMARC’H, substitute
→ Patrick MASSARY, substitute

→ Christiane RODRIGUES-ESTEVES, titular
→ Manon AUDIFFREN, titular
→ Loïsa GATTO, substitute
→ Théo-Maxime PETIT, substitute

Also attending the deliberations of the board without the right to vote:
→ Marta GILI, Director
→ Laure CARLES, General Secretary
→ Delphine PAUL, Director of studies and research


The Commission for Research, Education and Student Life (CRPVE) is one of the advisory bodies within the ENSP.

It is consulted on:
→ the adaptation of lessons to training objectives
→ the definition of the educational and research orientations of the institution
→ the definition of research likely to be carried out which will allow the development of higher education in the field of fine arts
→ the distribution of permanent and temporary teaching functions among the various disciplines that can be taught in the institution, as well as the corresponding skills and qualifications
→ the award of travel and study grants
→ the implementation of partnerships and exchanges.

It is made up of:
› Marta Gili, President
› Fabien Vallos and Caroline Bernard (substitute), representatives of the teaching staff
› Marie Constant and Axelle Georges (substitute), representatives of the technical teaching staff
Estela Blenet, Samuel Vorms, Raphaël Lods and Alionor La Besse Kotoff, student representatives
› Delphine Paul, Director of studies and research

The committee may hear from experts from within the establishment or external to the school.