Itâ€™s not easy running a major international photojournalism festivalâ€¦
I managed to spend an hour or so â€œbackstageâ€ at last nightâ€™s slide show at Campo Santo with Jean-Francois LeRoy as he prepped for the eveningâ€™s presentation of photographs. He and his crew write and practice intros and patter, greet important guests, smoke a few cigarettes and drink a lot of coffee. Somehow, I donâ€™t know how, it all comes together at Visa each night. Sort of like The Daily Show but with fewer laughs.
One of the nicest things about the Internet, aside from The Digital Journalist, is the rise of the virtual community. Iâ€™ve been a member of a web site discussion group for BMW motorcycles (www.ibmwr.org) and sports photographers (www.sportsshooters.com). Upon arriving in Perpignan I found out about another group called Lights Stalkers (www.lightstalkers.org). Itâ€™s an interesting site with lots of chats, lots of questions and answers and a whole bunch of information. Since a few people from the Light Stalkers community were coming to Visa Pour Lâ€™Image it was suggested that people get together for a drink on Wednesday night.
The Light Stalker group photo
The group had people from the US, France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, other European countries and places as far away as China. We all met outside the Municipal Theater in the Place de la RÃ©sistance at 7:00 (19h00) to shake hands, put faces to names and say things like, â€œYouâ€™re taller/shorter than I imagined,â€ or â€œYouâ€™re a man/woman?â€
One Light Stalker turned out to be Digital Railroad (www.digitalrailroad.net) CEO Evan Nisselson. Evanâ€™s a nice guy but out of his freaking mind, as he uttered that most dangerous of phrases when in the midst of a group of 40 or so photographers, â€œThe drinks are on me for the next hourâ€. The bar loved him. We love him. We had a drink or six.
Evan (c) and two of his happy employees
Medicines du Monde (the people behind Doctors without Borders) have an exhibit in a tent outside the main hall that in interesting in many ways. On the one hand itâ€™s a presentation masterpiece, a â€œdarkroomâ€ with photos on the wall and in developing trays. One thing, though. It is a dark room. In order to see pictures you need light. Unless youâ€™re willing to spend 15 minutes inside to get your eyes adjusted to the low light level it can be a bit hard to see some of the work.
The Medicines Du Monde exhibit
Shameless Plug of the Day:
The Digital Journalistâ€™s Dirck Halstead taking part in a symposium about the Subject of a photo becoming an Object
His proclamation that â€œin ten years all photographers will be shooting videoâ€ caused a stir in the audience. In an equivalent meeting in the 15th Century Dirck would have been dragged outside and burned at the stake.
Todayâ€™s edition of â€œMidnight At The CafÃ© De La Posteâ€
features Scott Mc Kiernan From Zuma Press celebrating Hazel Thompsonâ€™s being awarded this yearâ€™s CARE International Award For Humanitarian Reportage for her work on children in prison in the Philippines.