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Visa pour l’Image 2013

A man and his daughter outside his partially destroyed house in Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo. Syria, August 28, 2012© Muhammed Muheisen / Associated Press.

A man and his daughter outside his partially destroyed house in Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo.
Syria, August 28, 2012. © Muhammed Muheisen / Associated Press.

« It was 24 years ago when Perpignan held the very first, very new, very small festival of photo-reporting, Visa pour l’Image. Even then, there were 24 exhibitions and six evening shows (actually three shows, each screened twice). In those days, there were no computers, and the captions were pretty rough, or nonexistent.

Yet from that very first festival, we felt the event would soon be noted in the diaries of people working in photography and news. Six years later, we changed from “photoreporting” to “photojournalism” which seemed the better term.
In those days magazines offered assignments to produce their own reports, agencies were flourishing, talented photographers worked happily and good-humoredly, with proper payment for their work. In other words, that was another era, a different world, a time now past. Today, while some magazines still produce reports, there are fewer and fewer of them, and budgets are getting smaller and smaller.

25th Festival International of photojournalism Visa pour l’Image to Perpignan (France).
Pro week : 02/09 to 08/09
Festival : 31/08 to 15/09
More info : www.visapourlimage.com

Many agencies have disappeared or, even worse, are but a mere shadow of their former selves. What about photographers who make a decent living from their work? There must be only a couple of dozen at the very most. What caused the revolution? We know the reasons; they have been analyzed and
debated over and over again. Every sector in the photography business has changed, and it has been radical change, from sales circuits to photo labs, with every
link in the chain appraised and questioned. Everything has had to be reinvented.
Strangely enough, there have never been so many people aspiring to be photographers, dreaming of it, for it has always been a dream. Is that a good thing? It is easy to achieve technical proficiency, but it is quite different when it comes to being a proper journalist. Not everyone can tell a story as it is, even if they can shoot reasonably good photos. Visa pour l’Image always inspires dreams, which is great, but it is puzzling to see so many reports sent in, to see pictures with no captions. “Hello, here’s my report. I was in Syria.” OK. Great! But what news story do you want to tell? Where did it happen? When? Who are the people in the pictures? The 5W rule – Who? What? Why? When? Where? – is now obsolete, which is a great shame. In the deluge of news breaking fast, there is an urgent need to get back to some of the basics, or to invent new basics. That’s what we are trying to do, with the same joy and enthusiasm, and for the 25th time.
Welcome to Perpignan! »
[Jean-François Leroy]


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