When youâ€™re at Visa Pour Lâ€™Image the natural tendency is to stay up â€˜til all hours of the night drinking, chatting and schmoozing. This tends to have little or no effect on those involved, as the company is generally excellent and the waiters at the CafÃ© De La Poste reasonably quick, if not terribly cheery.
The early mornings, however, will beat the crap out of you, so itâ€™s best to sleep until Noon. Doing so will cause you to miss some excellent symposia and discussion so the choice is up to you.
Gallery space at the Eglise des Dominicains
Yesterday was my day for making the rounds of the main exhibition spaces, in particular the big shows at a former convent and a former chapel. The majestic space of the Eglise des Dominicains is home to the shows of Elliot Erwitt, Stanley Greene and Henri Huet.
Iâ€™m lead to wonder why Huetâ€™s stuff from Vietnam hasnâ€™t been as prominently displayed for the last thirty years or so. Damn shame but I suppose the phrase, â€œbetter late than neverâ€ fits the situation.
Part of the Erwitt show
Erwittâ€™s pictures are wonderful and tied in to the publication of a new book called â€œPersonal Best.â€ Itâ€™s a huge retrospective, and by huge I mean both photographically and physically. The thing is on sale for a little under 100 Euros (around $130) and feels like it weighs upwards of 25 pounds. My only fear in buying it is that itâ€™ll probably put me over the allowable baggage weight limit for the flight home but sacrifices may have to be made so Iâ€™ll probably have to leave the new toaster-oven (the sale at the Carrefour hypermarket was REALLY good) in Europe.
The shows at the Couvent des Minimes were on a smaller, more intimate scale as the space there is broken up into various rooms, with one or two photographers per room.
The Joe Rosenthal Gallery
In a great tribute, considering his recent passing, one of the galleries is named after AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and thatâ€™s where Contact Press is showing off 30 years of work. In a display that will soon be impossible to re-create they show very large contact sheets (large like 6 ft by 8 ft large) and then some of the pictures from each. I can see a day not too far away when the idea of a â€œcontact sheetâ€ will be a curiosity used to describe something completely different. Sort of like today when you tell someone to â€œdialâ€ your phone number even though the telephone dial has all but disappeared.
Visa seems to be a great place for small agencies to make contacts. A lot of young (and not so young) Europeans band together in photo co-ops or â€œcollectivesâ€ in order to get things rolling.
Prospekt Photo rep Eva Zamboni
One such group is Prospekt Photo (www.prospektphoto.net) in Milan, Italy. They have a talented bunch of shooters that have already won some awards for their work. Thereâ€™s even a whole room devoted to small collectives at the Palais Des Congress (the local exhibition and trade show center). Upstairs thereâ€™s Corbis, Reuters, the AP and Getty, downstairs thereâ€™s Luna, Pixsil, Transit and Odessa. Good luck to you, small agencies.
Tuesday night’s show at Campo Santo
Oil seemed to be the big idea at last nightâ€™s Campo Santo show. Oil on the ground. Oil in the rivers. Oil burning in big, black plumes of smoke. Generally not the view that an Exxon or a BP would like you to see. I seem to be getting vibe that nothing has happened in the last year that was really very nice. Death and destruction abound. Hatred leaps out at you from all corners. China is not only heading for the scrap heap it actually IS a scrap heap and everyone in the developing world carries an AK-47.
An Apple rep helping set up the Todd Heisler slide show
Back to my â€œearly morningâ€ thing I did manage to drag myself down to hear Todd Heisler (Rocky Mountain News) give a talk about his award winning piece on Marine dead being returned to the US and the effects that it had on their families. There were a few, letâ€™s call them French people, who seemed to have a little difficulty understanding the American concept of an objective press (or at least Americaâ€™s valiant attempts towards the idea of an objective press). They kept asking about Toddâ€™s political agenda while doing his story and they seemed to be off-put that Todd didnâ€™t have one. Just a great story about people.
Todayâ€™s edition of â€œMidnight At The CafÃ© De La Posteâ€
Features those fun-loving boys from Swedenâ€™s Kontinent agency (www.kontinent.se). They are (L to R) Casper Hedberg, “The Chauffer”, Fredrik Alm, Anders Hanson, TTreje Lindblom and Magnus Laupa.
Q: Just what is this, â€œMidnight At The CafÃ© De La Poste,â€ nonsense?
A: Since that where everyone goes at the end of the day and since thatâ€™s where more talked is talked and more business done that at any other place Iâ€™m going to attempt (as long as my health holds up) to take a group photo between Midnight and Midnight Plus Ten Seconds every night that people are there. Itâ€™s the end of one day and the beginning of another.