Visa pour l'image 2012: Diary of Doug Menuez
Woman in middle of local protest in streets of Perpignan. © Doug Menuez
Sign at local protest march. © Doug Menuez
Child falling behind her parents and marchers during a protest in Perpignan. © Doug Menuez
Entrance to the Palais des Congres where Visa Pour L'Image is based. © Martin Gisbourne
The house cat under a table in La Route du Tanger. © Doug Menuez
Visa Pour L'Image evening screening. © Doug Menuez
Mother and daughter pass by the fountain in front of the Palais des Congres. © Doug Menuez
Photojournalism professor Ken Kobre with Mark Milstein. © Doug Menuez
Dead bird. © Doug Menuez
Massoud Hossaini being interviewed near his Afghanistan exhibition inside the Église des Dominicains. © Doug Menuez
Local teen couple in the park. © Doug Menuez
Family walking near the park. © Doug Menuez
"Guantanamo" by Mathias Braschler & Monika Fischer. © Doug Menuez
Portrait from "Guantanamo" by Mathias Braschler & Monika Fischer. © Doug Menuez
Tapas for lunch. © Doug Menuez
An interview with me about my exhibition in L'Independent. © Doug Menuez
PERPIGNAN DIARY: DAY 4
By Doug Menuez
Wednesday was a lazy blur to start, then picked up with some harsh reality brought on with "Guantanamo" by Mathias Braschler & Monika Fischer. Such simple portraits when seen from a distance, up close they punish the viewer. Photographs like these provide evidence, they communicate history and bear witness in this case to the shameful, shocking and tragic chapter in American history that needs to be closed. The church setting for these haunting images reverses the sacred and profane.
Later, Tereza and I walked miles around Perpignan, fantastic, lovely place with such complicated history. As a Basque descendent, I know there is a strong bond between the Catalans and the Basques and both fought together against Franco. The Catalan influence is huge here to say the least, along with the large Gypsy population. Along the way I felt compelled to do some portraits of some local residents, which I started doing yesterday, so I expect these portraits will show up through the week here in my diary. And last night we saw a demonstration of local people with lots of children, Catalan flags, marching through the narrow streets.
After taking in the film "Cultures of Resistance" we were thoroughly discouraged. Sometimes man's inhumanity to man is so comprehensive and efficient there seems no chance for things to improve. Time for more wine. Heroin would be better probably.
Our mood brightened when we bumped into Jean François Leroy who brought up the quote he used in his briefing, "Twitter makes you think you are a personality, Instagram makes you think you are a photographer, Facebook makes you think you have friends. It's going to be hard when reality hits."
Another bright spot, aside from the many amazing photographs to come in the evening presentation, was standing in line and meeting two young photographers from the UK. Interestingly, the conversation that has been going on about how photographers can make a living came up right away. The young woman, 18, said she was confused and not sure what to do about college or where to go. I'm sure she'll figure it out because, as I thought to myself, well, you are 18 and somehow care enough about photojournalism to get your ass over to Perpignan to see Visa and the rest will take care of itself. The future in photography belongs to those who want it bad enough, as it always has.