Visa pour l'image 2012,
la Mecque du reportage
Athènes, 20 octobre 2011. Manifestant fuyant les gaz lacrymogènes © Aris Messinis / AFP
From September 1 to 16, Perpignan will host the festival of photojournalism “Visa pour l’Image”, the annual meeting for those whose job is to provide us with images to help us better understand the world we live in.
Now in its 24th year, hundreds of thousands of strangers will descend on Perpignan to consider the state of the world. There were 209,000 visitors in 2001, nine thousand more than the previous year. It never ceases to amaze me that “Visa pour l’Image” has become the season’s most important photographic pilgrimage.
Where else can you spend a week in the company of so many news reporters and magazines editors? By the end of your time at the festival, you will have seen tens of thousands of images. It’s a real refresher course in journalism for the pros.
Unless you work at a major news agency, it’s hard to imagine what festival director Jean-François Leroy goes through to arrive at his selection. He’s in touch with photographers across the world. His inbox is overflowing with .jpeg files. It’s a job that requires constant attention to the news, and an uncanny visual memory.
In the end, the “Little Prince” of photojournalism has arrived at thirty exhibitions. What’s more, they’re all in beautiful spaces. Thank you, Perpignan, for being so nice and pretty, and at the same time—like the festival director—a little stormy.
This year, from North Korea to Syria, from Nigeria to Cuba, from Greece to Kurdistan and dozens of other countries, the festival gives us a chance to see what’s wrong with the world. The grief is astonishing. Who wants to bury their head in the sand and get a kick in the pants without knowing why it happened? Photojournalists are there to pull us by the sleeve and remind us that the so-called crisis in France, for example, isn’t quite famine, poverty and war. But they’re also there to shine a light on the inconsistencies of presidential campaigns and immigration reform.
The “little gray-haired old men” who run “the press” today think the misery of others doesn’t interest us. But at Perpignan, the crowd is made up of regular citizens, people who read independent French magazines like Polka, Six Mois and XXI, people who watch documentaries on television and the net. These people are interested. And those gray-haired men can’t see them past their spreadsheets, or hear them over the sound of the stock exchange
All week long I’ll be sharing with you my impressions of the festival, with images by Geneviève Delalot.
See you soon,
Exhibitions: Sep. 1 – 16
Professional Week: Sep. 3 – 9
Projection Nights: Sep. 3 – Sep. 8
Transmission pour l’Image: Sep. 3 – Sep. 5
School week: Sep. 17 – 21
More information can be found on the festival’s website.
• Polka Magazine, n°19
• Images, n°53