Bits And Pieces (It’s All Bits And Pieces)

By Jim Colburn September 7th, 2006

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It’s not easy running a major international photojournalism festival…

I managed to spend an hour or so “backstage” at last night’s slide show at Campo Santo with Jean-Francois LeRoy as he prepped for the evening’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 don’t know how, it all comes together at Visa each night. Sort of like The Daily Show but with fewer laughs.

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One of the nicest things about the Internet, aside from The Digital Journalist, is the rise of the virtual community. I’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). It’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 L’Image it was suggested that people get together for a drink on Wednesday night.

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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 Résistance at 7:00 (19h00) to shake hands, put faces to names and say things like, “You’re taller/shorter than I imagined,” or “You’re a man/woman?”

One Light Stalker turned out to be Digital Railroad (www.digitalrailroad.net) CEO Evan Nisselson. Evan’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, “The drinks are on me for the next hour”. The bar loved him. We love him. We had a drink or six.

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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 it’s a presentation masterpiece, a “darkroom” 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 you’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.

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The Medicines Du Monde exhibit

Shameless Plug of the Day:

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The Digital Journalist’s Dirck Halstead taking part in a symposium about the Subject of a photo becoming an Object

His proclamation that “in ten years all photographers will be shooting video” 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.

Today’s edition of “Midnight At The Café De La Poste”

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features Scott Mc Kiernan From Zuma Press celebrating Hazel Thompson’s being awarded this year’s CARE International Award For Humanitarian Reportage for her work on children in prison in the Philippines.

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