Thanks to a boatlaod of support from Canon Visa Pour Lâ€™Image in Perpignan, France is back for another year, its 18th, and the party has already started.
Some of last yearâ€™s attendees are back, some new folks have arrived and more will be coming later in the week. Pulitzer Prize winner Todd Heisler is here to give a talk, show some work and have his back patted an awful lot.
There was a small problem at the registration table in that Visaâ€™s computer thought that I was either Dirck Halstead Jr or, perhaps, a recently clone. Two of him were listed in the system, none of me. After explaining that the world is not really ready for two Dirck Halsteads the wonderful and talented ladies of Visa
sorted things out and issued the proper badges, schedules, pamphlets and booklets and the all-important invitation to Sunday eveningâ€™s â€œWelcome Drinkâ€ at the Hotel Pams, hosted, as last year, by Visa organizer Jean-Francois LeRoy.
To give you some idea of how important photography is to the French LeRoy was made a member of the Legion of Honor last year, which would sort of be like Robert Redford being given a Presidential Medal of Freedom for starting the Sundance Film Festival. (The Redford thing, by the way, ainâ€™t going to happenâ€¦)
One of the more popular people on this first day was NPRâ€™s Neal Jackson who made the mistake, unintentional Iâ€™m sure, of telling people that he was looking for photographers and agencies that National Public Radio could use for their ever-expanding web site. By saying this Jackson instantly turned into a large vat of honey and the photographers became fliesâ€¦
One thing Iâ€™m particularly looking forward to is an exhibit of work by my all-time favorite photographer, Elliot Erwitt. While he may not be the only photojournalist in the world with a sense of humor heâ€™s one of the very few that actually shows that sense in many of his photographs. One line from his exhibit statement is, â€œMaking people laugh is one of the highest achievements you can have.â€ Bravo.
A Film Camera And A Cigarette – Retro Style
Tonight? Cafe De La Poste.