It’s been a couple of weeks now since we returned from Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan. As is inevitable after events such as this, the process of assimilating all that we saw goes on and on. Vivid vignettes remain, memories of conversations with people we met persist, I can still taste the food, smell the air, see the exhibits, remember the night presentations, and most importantly, am still gripped by the images from this year’s sampling of the best, most powerful work in photojournalism. This process brings the past, present and perhaps even the future into focus. There is something deeply moving about seeing daunting images of war and conflict hung in the still silence of a cathedral that once housed cloistered priests and nuns. The beveled glass windows of the Eglise des Dominicains, for instance, allows a sharp beam of light that illuminates the interior in an artistic statement all its own. Coupled with the images on display, the effect created an atmosphere of ghostliness and ghastliness that rendered us speechless for a while. The memories for me burned deep, and likely I’ll never forget them. The whole festival was like that, really.
The Eglise des Dominicains was just one of several of Perpignan’s religious structures that were converted to massive exhibition halls for the display of photographs, some in very large format. This particular cathedral included exhibits of Magnum’s Dennis Stock, Palestinian photographer Raed Bawayah, Veronique de Viguerie, winner of Canon Prize for Best Female Photojournalist, and Hady Sy, whose X-ray images of weapons juxtaposed against the cathedral walls as we entered made a profound statement that I’ve yet to articulate.
As I mentioned before, there were many interviews of those who exhibited in Perpignan, and our editor/publisher Dirck Halstead gave several about his retrospective in the large hall of the Ancienne Universite on Rue de Musee.
You can see Dirck’s interview as well as those of Jean Francois Leroy (Director of Visa Pour L’Image) and photojournalists Stephane Lagoutte, Raed Bawayah, Angnes Dherbeys, Yannis Kontos, Eric Hadj, Mikhael Subotsky, Jordi Vidal, and Hady Sy by going to this site: http://www.3declic.com . When you get to the home page of 3declic, choose “Le Magazine,” and there click on the red and white logo that says “VISA – pour/l’image.” This produces an index to the individual interviews, which you can watch at your leisure.
Just because the week at Perpignan is over doesn’t mean the experience is over. It’s like a love affair. It goes on.