It is not particularly original these days to talk about pictures being in oversupply. They are everywhere. We live in a world full of photos and videos - in the street, in public transport, and now quite often in our own pockets, displayed on cell phones. We have become the passive recipients of pictures with more and more being sent faster and faster. We no longer take the time needed to analyze or rank them. Usually we are in a state of inertia at the receiving end of this vast quantity of visual material.
A festival such as Visa pour l'Image is here to run counter to this trend, making choices, asserting them and taking a stance; seeing different stories with varying degrees of importance, for exhibitions and evening screenings; showing how important a caption can be, and leaving everyone free to choose a favorite shot. This is why there is a deliberate policy requiring a single format for prints. In a magazine, the decision to print a picture as a double-page spread or a thumbnail is a matter of editorial choice. A photo printed across a double page is obviously more important than a picture the size of a postage stamp, or at least that is the message conveyed. If one picture in an exhibition is printed on a scale two or three times larger than the others, this is artifice. We need to give consideration to the people viewing the photos and who come from a range of backgrounds. And it is quite obvious that different juries with different members will invariably choose different winners.
I would like to come back to the evening shows, and state that the finest screening shows in the world are presented to audiences in Perpignan. No other festival has devoted this level of production and technical resources to provide such a showcase for the work of photographers. We believe that the evening programs are one of the finest features of Visa pour l'Image and are extremely proud of them.
After 21 years, we are sometimes told that we have become fossilized, but that is not the impression we have. While both form and content have changed considerably, the main goal has remained unchanged: to present the best work produced, discover up-and-coming new talents, and rediscover the true greats in the world of photography. This is what we are doing, with determination, and still working with the same enthusiasm and passion.
July 9, 2010