Sponsors : CANON
Pascal Briard © Rémy Cortin
Those photographers who have known the “Visa pour l’Image” Festival from the beginning associate the red of its logo with that of Canon. And, more than the many ministers who have come here with their promises, often not kept, all the Visa participants hold in their memories the image of its mentor Jean-François Leroy and that of Pascal Briard associated to Canon, unfailing partner of the festival from its second year.
“When one has been present for twenty-two of the twenty-three festivals, it’s something other than commercial opportunity. It is above all loyalty to the work of Jean-François Leroy and his staff, but it’s also a commitment to photojournalism and to its defense,” says Pascal Briard.
Going him one better, Jean-François Leroy says, “I believe in them.” In France, one is always doubtful that a business company can invest in something solely to defend an idea. But that would be ignoring the fact that Canon’s investment for photojournalism didn’t just begin yesterday, adds Pascal Briard. The company also supports the biggest award dedicated to photojournalism: the Worldpress Photo awarded at the beginning of each year. It is a philosophy that can be seen even in the conception of materials. Canon has always sought to create cameras and lenses which facilitate the lives of photojournalists: solidity, reliability, water-resistance of the bodies, systems of focusing optimized for rapidity, lenses which are always a little more open than those of the competition. And for us, there’s no doubt that Perpignan is a trial laboratory that enables us to take back all the information from the field. In what place in the world can one find gathered together for a week more than 1300 photojournalists from fifty-eight countries. One day we saw a photographer arrive who had placed a rod on the base of his camera on which he had fixed a small camcorder. You can’t tell me that the Japanese in charge who were closely following the events of the festival were not inspired by that “ingenious” avant-garde do-it-yourself work to create a product responding to that new demand. And since then, we have seen the success of a product like Eos 5D Mark II.
In fact, if men like Pascal Briard have assured French support for Visa pour l’image from the beginning, Canon inc. rapidly realized the interest to be found in contributing to the development of such an event. Not only, as we’ve seen, because Visa has become the only listening post in real time but especially because Visa responds to society’s ethical criteria. They are in fact very aware of the fact that this is the only place in the world where 200,000 people are able to see forty or so exhibitions on photojournalism during two weeks for free. That corresponds to a philosophy and it’s not for nothing that every year the main Japanese managers make the effort to come to Perpignan.
And Pascal Briard goes on to say that if it is still necessary to demonstrate Canon’s commitment to this event, not only the contract signed until 2013 was never for a single second put into question in spite of the after effects of the Fukushima catastrophe but those in charge of the professional reflexes and lenses came to Perpignan.