Visa Pour L'Image and Project28

07 September 16

Posted at 1:09

Untitled

I spent last week in Perpignan attending the 28th Visa Pour L'Image. The visit was my first. I found the exhibitions, talks and screenings highly motivational, informative on a whole range of topics/issues and all in all a great experience.

I was pleased to read an article by Jean-Jaques Naudet http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2016/09/05/article/159918097/editorial-visa-pour-limage/ that neatly sums up my own and other's impressions on our first visit. It really reflects how photography and photojournalism are going through fundamental changes. The field is totally different today for an emerging professional that it was 20 or 30 years ago when many of the contributors at Visa were commencing their careers. Visa will have to get up to date, especially on the third floor, if it is to survive. Though photographer or not please don't let that put you off visiting, the photography is superb, the 'meet the photographer' talks are inspiring and give an in depth understanding of the various topics.

Untitled Photo Sophie Fouchier

What's more it is free!!! Free entry to all the exhibitions, most of the talks and screenings. You can, as I did, pay 60 Euros for accreditation, which gives you access to the 'third floor', to portfolio reviews, access to agencies and priority access to the night screenings and some of the events during the  'professional week' which is the first week of the two week event.

It is not my intent to review the whole event here but I would like to highlight one of the exhibiting photojournalists, Brent Strirton, http://www.brentstirton.com/ . What a photographer, what an exceptional human being he is! OK there do appear to be some who are critical of the way he lights his subject - "you use flash in the day- why?" asked a member of the audience, in a condescending tone, at one of Brent's talks. He politely answered the question - a question that to me was simply irrelevant. I say Brent is an exceptional human being after listening to him speak about his Ivory Wars project. He is modest, articulate, passionate about his subjects and about factual, long form, journalism. He talks so much sense, measured  and conscise . He belies his stereotypical South African physical appearance. In a few hours I have the greatest respect for him and his achievements. Check out his work and the film Virunga National Park In Conflict.

 

Above all my experience at Visa Pour L'Image has caused me to reflect on my new venture Project28 . Having been in meetings with so many renowned photojournalists I have concluded that my research must go far deeper than perhaps I intended. Visa was also highly motivational so I really can't wait until it is time to shoot again, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are my next three venues. Over the last 24 hours I have been seeking the most cost effective travel arrangements and scouring AirBnB for the cheapest rooms available (the project does not yet have any funding!!).

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Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015

23 June 15

Posted at 12:19

Yesterday I visited the first day of the exhibition of The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 at the Royal Geographic Society in Knightsbridge.  Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 The exhibition include images from amateur and professional photographers from across the world. The aim is to raise awareness of environmental and social issues and raise awareness of their causes.The photography is quite impressive and it is clear that there is a welcome spectrum of experience and ability. I say welcome as I beleive giving amateurs/beginners to have their work dsiplayed alongside more experienced and professional photographers is both motivational and refreshing.

The exhibition is not perhaps a cohesive as it could be. The display flits between locations and types of environmental issues. As in the main there is just a single or few iamges of any particular problem the only theme the viewer picks up is on of rampant consumerism and apalling waste management on a global scale. I am sure many of the images come from larger bodies of work but that was not clear from the exhibition. Because there are so many different issues and locations portrayed the viewer may easily become blaise to the real issues. That is true particularly when so many of the images are perhaps soft on the mind, they are colourful pleasing images to observe and even with the accompanying texts they sanitise horrendus situations. 

I considered that Burtynsky uses fine art photography to get the real messages across why does this not seem to work in this exhibition. Well, first I guess,  as I said this is a display of single images of a miriad of issues with the environment as the only common theme. But beyond that is presentation, Burtynsky's work is large format and presented large. Of course one could not expect this competition for all levels of photographer using all levels of equipment to replicate Burtynsky's impact however it is presentation that lets this exhibition down in terms of its potential impact. The photographs are all the same size and presented uniformly, window mounted and framed. Worse still is the failure to use non reflective glass. Fighting with the reflections dimishes the impact of the images. One of the first entries in the visitors book highlights this shortcoming. A variety of image sizes, some at least if not all unframed and if framed non reflective material fronting the image would have improved the viewers experience and the messages no end.

Aside from those gripes I recommend a visit, it is free and the standard of photography is high. I do fear that this partocular exhibition will do little in terms of a call to action for addressing the world's environmental problems whereas to do think photography, still and video, has a major part to play in both education and provoking change.

The exhibition rusns at the Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore London SW7 2AR 10 till 5 daily until 10th July 2015 and the at the Grizedale Forrest Visitor Centre Forrestry Commission England Cumbria 18 July until 6 September 2105

 

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