Day 2 in Perpignan

By Beverly Spicer September 6th, 2007

It is Wednesday, and the festival is coming alive. Today started off of course at the PAMS where photographers are starting to swarm like bees. Every one of them wants to show a portfolio, and the excellence of the work is staggering. Some of it. The agencies seem to be as hungry as the photographers, and we found almost as many agencies promoting their work on a one-to-one basis as photographers looking for a break.  In other words, where one usually finds 10 photographers competing for a portfolio review, we found several agencies asking instead of being asked. That will all change as more and more of photographers arrive from all over the world.

It doesn’t take long for food and where-to-go-next-to-get-it to become a pressing issue, so at 2pm we headed for the plaza that has many outdoor restaurants, now overtaken with photographie aficionados. We walk along singing the song “He Went to Paris”…where he was “looking for answers to questions that bothered him so”……musing over perhaps a common fate, “the French wines and cheeses and warm summer breezes put his ambitions at bay….”
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But ambitions at bay are not the case here in Perpignan. There is plenty of leanness and hunger to go around, both literally and metaphorically. Maybe an explosion of one’s career, but for now, steak tartare, red wine, mussels au gratin, red wine, thin thin thin anchovy pizza, red wine, fruit, fromages, red wine, water with gasse, cafe au lait.
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This afternoon took us to the Palais Congres where for formal displays by agencies, camera demonstrations and a large room touting the latest in the computer world of Apple. The Palais is a very large building north of the PAMS area with many suites inside. Every one is used for the benefit of Visa Pour L’Image.
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Taking up three floors, it is a maze of visual stimulation, and it is up and down the steps again and again to see it all.
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in viewing the slick quality of work at every turn made me think of the time and energy that has gone into preparing for this festival by literally hundreds of individuals.
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Stacks and Stacks of cards, brochures, pamphlets and information sheets are available, and all of the representatives seems very generous with their time.
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People are here from all over the world, and the presentations show work from the far corners of the earth.
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The Digital Journalist is associated with Digital Railroad, which we use to upload our photos for the magazine site. We loved seeing the reps here, and here’s a look at two of them having a grand time as well.
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At 5pm we settled in a large auditorium for a presentation by renowned Magnum photographer Abbas. Some of the younger photographers seemed only marginally aware of the work by who is now perhaps one of the world’s top ten photographers. For about 45 minutes, Abbas gave a powerful presentation of his work from the revolution in Iran from 1979. As a lover of black and white and also the subject of Islam, and knowing several journalists/photographers who were also there, I soaked it up like a sponge. I was able to speak briefly later with Abbas outside the presentation and also much later when we ran into him accidentally on the street, and I realized when we exchanged sentiments I was not just talking to a man or a photographer, but also talking to history. Here are some of the images from his presentation in the dark auditorium. The last is of Abbas himself, an intriguing, soft-spoken gentleman who has, shall we say, seen a lot.
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I had a tech problem yesterday. When I could write, I was unable to get onto the internet to file. When I was elsewhere, I was unable to plug into an electrical outlet. Keeping batteries charged and finding a free internet connection are things which, if they happen together here in Perpignan, are a dream come true. More to follow.

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