Spéos History - Photography School - © Alain Beulé

© Alain Beulé

Spéos: 35 year anniversary!

Since its foundation, Spéos has trained thousands of photography students and communication and image professionals. The school has developed its activities in the following domains: training, consulting/audit, Internet services, research/publications.

The name Spéos comes from the Greek σπέος (speos), which means “den, cave” and refers to the allegory of the cave presented by Plato in Book VII of The Republic. It depicts men turning their backs to the entrance and seeing only their own shadows and those of external objects projected on the walls of the cave. This is a situation comparable to the pinhole and the camera obscura, both precursors of the camera, where an image of reality is projected inside the box. This allegory also illustrates the conditions of man’s access to knowledge, as well as the transmission of knowledge — both of which are the very missions of the school.


• Spéos sets up a distance learning offer with an immersive online program in Commercial + Fine Art Portrait Photography, and a distance learning program in Blended Learning Professional Photography: available in English at Spéos London only, this program consists of 6 weeks on site, followed by 26 weeks of distance learning.

• During the second lockdown, which in France started on 30th October 2020, Spéos continues to operate normally and ensures the smooth delivery of all its programs.

• Spéos wins a grant from the European Union for a cooperative project entitled “The Cycle: European Training in Photographic Heritage Management”. The project, funded by the European Union’s “Creative Europe” program, is carried out by a consortium of 5 European partners. The objective: to develop a transnational training and networking programme in the field of photographic heritage management. Spéos is notably in charge of the development of the website dedicated to the project.

• The school intake, which has traditionally taken place in September for the past 35 years, starts in 2020 in October to await the reopening of the borders for international candidates.

• Due to Covid-19 and the mandatory measures to be followed, Spéos’ traditional end-of-year exhibition is for the first time entirely online, with the creation of a website dedicated to the presentation of the students’ work.

• So as to adapt to the current Covid-19 pandemic, Spéos reorganizes its teaching to ensure its primary mission: to train the photographers of tomorrow. Spéos thus continues to work online, allowing its confined students — wherever they are in the world — to continue their program in close connection with their instructors. The school thus adapts its pedagogy to distance learning. In order to prepare its reopening and to facilitate the return to practice, Spéos also equips itself with 12 new photo studios, to reach a total of 24 studios.

• Spéos expands in Biarritz and offers several short courses to introduce students to different fields of photography.


• Development of 3D and CGI (computer generated image) to support the evolutions and demands of the photo and image market.

• Spéos and Polka create a photojournalism program in 5 months in Paris.

•  Spéos and INSEP create a program dedicated to sports photography, particularly in view of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

• Spéos is once again a partner of the Festival Circulation(s) de la jeune photographie européenne with the loan of equipment for Studio Photo 2019.

• Spéos hosts the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Winter Session.

•  Spéos also welcomes the National Association of Iconographers (ANI) for their internal training and portfolio readings of Spéos students, as well as the training courses of the Photoshop Club Paris.

• Spéos/Maison Niépce, together with the Clemenceau-de Lattre Museum and the Ministry of Culture, has created the Club des Illustres, an association aimed at promoting exchanges between the Maisons des Illustres in order to create a professional network and make the Maisons and their activities known to as many people as possible.

• Spéos welcomes the very first Urban Photo Race in Paris, with the Photoclub Paris Val-de-Bièvre.


Spéos L’Annexe: Spéos extends its premises and opens a new vast space, with the aim of hosting photo and video studios, conferences and various events organized in collaboration with the school’s partners (Magnum Live Lab 2017, Journées Matos Leica…).

More video classes at Spéos: video courses were previously optional. They are now automatically included in most of the professional photography programs. In order to do so, the school has been furnished with advanced professional equipment.

Spéos and Magnum Photos London launch a new short program in 5 months, available in London only.

• In 2018 again, Spéos is a sponsor of the Circulation(s) European Young Photography Festival  and more particularly lends photo equipment for the Studio Photo 2018.

• Launch of the optional year of professional coaching: open to students who have successfully completed a long-term program at Spéos. This optional year is recommended to those graduates who wish to continue to benefit from the reassuring framework of the school, so as to start their professional activity.

• Launch of the distant learning offer, exclusively designed for Spéos Alumni as part of the Alumni Care Program of the school.

• Spéos welcomes the RISD “Winter Session”

• Spéos hosts, since 2010, the National Association of Iconographers (ANI) for their internal training and portfolios readings of Spéos students.

• Spéos also hosts, since 2010, the Club Photoshop Paris trainings, which brings together the best specialists in this application.

• Spéos becomes a training organization referenced in the Datadock tool, a unique database on qualitative vocational trainings. It enables vocational training funders to verify the compliance of training organizations with the quality criteria defined by the law.

• Spéos confirms its commitment in the research and development of the inventions of Nicéphore Niépce with the appearance of the Pyréolophore into Le Musée des Arts et Métiers on Thursday, September 27 at 7pm. After many years of research, the Nicéphore Niépce House and its team have officially proven that the invention of Nicéphore Niépce, named the Pyréolophore, is the first internal combustion engine in the world.


• The French magazine Paris Match and Spéos partner up to create a new and exclusive “Photo-reportage and Press Magazine” program in Paris. This new program is a 2 year long program and is taught in French only.

• Spéos hosts the Magnum Live Lab 2017 in its premises in Paris.

• The school also welcomes the “Journées Matos Leica”, taking place 28-29 November and organised by Leica.


In 2016, Paolo Roversi and Spéos create a unique 1-year master class for Fashion Photography on the Paris campus. The formal program is delivered by Spéos and its appointed teachers, and complemented by the Art Direction of Paolo Roversi and Dominique Issermann.


In 2015, Magnum Photos and Spéos are partnering to create a new and unique 1-year master class for Creative Documentary & Photojournalism in Paris.


• Spéos joins stock agency Alamy‘s 100% student project. This program is a unique way for students to get involved in stock photography: they upload their images for free and — for two years — receive 100% of the sales of their images.

• Renewal of partnership with Magnum Photos: for 5 months, students in the photojournalism specialization have been attending master classes taught by Richard Kalvar and the Magnum team. Group project here.

• Spéos lends its studios to “Comme les Autres”, an association founded by Laurent Onde to assist people with disabilities following an accident in their lives during the reconstruction process, to help them discover the world of photography and enable them to practice.


• Partnership with Magnum Photos and Spéos: students in the photojournalism specialization attend classes taught by representatives of the Magnum agency. Project 24 hours on the Champs Elysées.

• The Niépce House Museum is awarded the prestigious label Maisons des Illustres by the French Ministry of Culture.

• Lens Culture FotoFest Paris hosted for the 4th time at Spéos from November 11-13.


• Lens Culture FotoFest Paris hosted for the 3rd time at Spéos from November 12-14.

• Opening of  Spéos Alumni Studio in Paris, allowing our graduates to begin their professional careers.

Studio Alumni

Studio Alumni


26 ans, 26 promos, 1 expo: a collective exhibition in Arles in July.

• Lens Culture FotoFest Paris hosted for the 2nd time at Spéos from November 7-9. Watch the film.

• The photography school Spéos and the museum Maison Nicéphore Niépce in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes are happy to announce the online publication of Niépce – Letters and Documents, by Manuel Bonnet et Jean-Louis Marignier, the largest number of documents ever collected on the inventor of photography (1765-1833). This project is sponsored by the Académie des Sciences and the Académie des Beaux-arts.

• Initiated by the museum Maison Nicéphore Niepce, the “Route de la Photo” — a series of photo spots — invites visitors to discover Burgundy following the footsteps of the inventor of photography. Interactive Map

2010: Spéos celebrates its 25th anniversary!

• Lens Culture FotoFest comes to France for the first time during Paris Photo from November 15-17. It is be hosted by Spéos. Watch the film.

• The Spéos students participated at the 47th Bièvres International Photofair.

• “The digital revolution”: Exhibition Opening at the Swiss Cam