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How was Perpignan?

Hi! To all  who were at Pepignan—how was it? could you describe the festival—who you met,what was great about it (i assume it was),why would you go back next year (if you will),and to Sion-was it still the same for you as the last time (like you said in a past post) :)
A friend and I plan to go next year. And this would help us in our preparation. Thanks very much.

by Kat Palasi at 2005-09-05 17:29:17 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) MANILA , Philippines | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hi Kat

This was my first Pepignan.

First the positive:
It’s a really relaxing place to be where you can see some excellent exhibitions from many of the world’s best photojournalists.
Really good opportunity to meet fellow photographers, editors and agencies.
Evening screenings on giant screens of different stories.

Some of the negative aspects:
I really got fed up with seeing pictures of dead bodies! Many (NOT ALL) of the stories were very sensationalist, where the overriding theme seemed to be how many body bags where featured.  There was very much an emphasis on doom and gloom – I don’t know if this is a French/cultural thing, but I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of work. Many of the exhibitions were on ‘third world’ issues, which I think reinforces many negative stereo types.

Although I moaned about the variety of work, most of it is very high quality so it is inspiring.  Just getting the opportunity to meet other people socially was useful, I got some good ideas for projects and made some good contacts.

This year I stayed for five days, which was possibly a day too long.  Overall a good experience, which I will probably repeat next year.  Hope that helps.


by Martin Shakeshaft | 06 Sep 2005 01:09 | Staffordshire, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
From my point of view, I stopped looking at Perpignian as a place to do business a couple of years ago. People you speak to are very positive, we love your work, etc, but actually getting a firm financial commitment to fund a new project is practically impossible. In this respect, I think grants are the way forward. Yeah, magazines should be funding exciting new work, but they aint. Welcome to the modern world.

Saw people from Le Monde 2, Nat Geo, Time. It’s kind of hard to work out who’s who, and there’s a lot of waiting around. Next time my portfolio will be 1 black and white story, quite hard, about 40 pics, and one colour, about the same length, but softer.

Like Martin said, there was a lot of dead body stuff going on, and a lot of black and white. It’s a good way to see how someone works if you’re looking to comission them, but as far as buying existing work, colour is the way to go. Are you selling an archive, or looking for commissions in your area? If you’re looking for comissions, don’t show too much stuff from somewhere you don’t live at least 6 months of the year.

I thought the editing was patchy this year. There were some great stories in both the slideshows and exhibitions, but the whole format is geared to 40-60 picture stories, so you had times when 2 or more stories got stuck together when they were shot in different places. Some stuff just doesn’t work in 60 pictures.

The best bit is meeting old friends and new ones, drinking pastis at the Cafe de la Poste, having a picnic in the park, or breakfast at the Hotel Pams. I had a great time. I’ll be back, but probably the year after next. Unless I have some work in next year. Who knows.

by John Perkins | 06 Sep 2005 03:09 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I actually thought it was one of the best editions i have been to. Really high quality shows (Marcus Bleasdale, Paul Fusco, David Burnett, Yuri Kozyrev to name but a few of the really good ones)…and more important, great ambiance this year…I found people were really laid back and extremely positive compared to last year for instance…Perpignan is not really a place to sell stories, it is a place to meet the people and get them to know you and your work…it is a long term thing…but it really works!

by [former member] | 06 Sep 2005 06:09 | | Report spam→
It’s all about he pastis really, people only want an excuse to drink something that’s over 50% proof BEFORE eating ;)

Trust me, I know, I grew up in that country :p

by Stephan Sturges | 06 Sep 2005 07:09 | | Report spam→
I only went for 48 hours to conduct a specific bit of business, so can’t really comment on it’s overall ambience, except to say that a brief look round the exhibitions did give me the impression also that the ‘doom and gloom’ count was high.

Personally I have no objection to this – if anything, I think mainstream news coverage of conflict and disaster tends to be too tame, however, I think a festival of this type ought to be thinking of broadening the spectrum of subject matter a little…the sad fact is the gloom and doom stuff shown there is preaching to the already converted and the festival should be seeking to challenge the expectations of the attendants as well as reinforce them.

The one trend which I welcome is exhibitions by wire service photographers who don’t really get the recognition they deserve.

Kat, you might want to take a look at the LS thread on the upcoming photo festival in Cambodia. It’s in October, and would provide you a little taste of Perpgnan a little sooner, and a little closer to Manila…

by [former member] | 07 Sep 2005 07:09 (ed. Sep 7 2005) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Thanks! Looks like everyone had at least something positive to say about Perpignan.Interesting observations and suggestions-that’s good:) Yes,Sion —saw the post of Gary Knight and that’s definitely nearer our shores.Will await the updates. We would have gone on to Perpignan but we had to wait for a looooong time for our visas. release date was way too late. so we just decided not to go.it’s not easy out here.  But it’s helpful and great to hear all the comments/insights. well,maybe we can  make it to Cambodia. kitakits!(see you when we see you).

kat :)


by Kat Palasi | 07 Sep 2005 08:09 | MANILA, Philippines | | Report spam→
Didn’t make it to Perp this year, but a buddy of mine who lives down there said the place has seen lots of action this year.Lots of clashes between the locals and the gypsies.Pretty rough apparently. What I don’t miss is the amount of thieving that goes on down there every year.

by Mikethehack | 07 Sep 2005 16:09 | | Report spam→
Mr. Modesty (bruno) failed to mention he had THREE solo slide screenings this year, all of them superb. I think he even closed out the festival with his Uganda story if my memory serves me (which it seldom does in that town for some reason).

I thought it was a very good year, probably the best yet for me both professionally and socially (this was my sixth). Only time will tell on the professional angle but it felt good.

Just watch out for the Moroccan restaurants and remember it’s often better to settle for making a good first impression with an editor than it is to clobber them with a portfolio when they’re not in the mood…

by Dave Yoder | 07 Sep 2005 17:09 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Hi. I was thrilled with my first Perpignan experience. I would suggest going on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the professional week, no need to go earlier as the photo agency booths and seminars are not set up or underway until Tuesday. It was a great place to learn about the photo agencies and if you were lucky enough, to meet with magazine photo editors. Meeting with the magazine photo editors was not organized. You had to wonder around the patio at Hotel Pams of the rooftop patio at the convention centre and seek them out. As they had no signs or placards posted, it was difficult to tell who they were and what magazine they were from. The exhibits were great and the I thought the slide shows were OK. Of course there was a strong French bias and felt there was a definite anti-American theme to several presentations and seminars which was unfortunate. As far as portfolios go, most editors and agencies said they actually preferred looking at a printed book of a few strong images, rather than viewing on a laptop. The Fuju lab was handy as they had a fast printing service for professional, good-quality portfolio books at a reasonable price. I had two small books printed in an hour at the festival. Canon threw a great lunch buffet party as well as the Saturday night party which I somehow managed to stay at until 7am! Try to book a hotel EARLY and try to get one in the central area which is walking distance from all the festival sites and La Poste, the after-hours festival hang-out. Overall, Perpignan is a place to make contacts and meet other photographers. I loved it and can’t wait to go back!

by DEDDEDA | 18 Sep 2005 10:09 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | | Report spam→
For anyone who hasn’t yet made it to Perpignan, I wrote the following after Visa this year that I hope gives a feeling for the event. I think it’s a great festival and will continue to go every year until there’s anything able to match it. Many people would like to see the content broadened, myself included, but Perpignan is a great venue, and in September, a fabulous place to host it… hope what follows is useful, if you already read the news on Visa perhaps best skip it… Peter Howe’s ‘Vive la Folie: The Perpignan Report’ on The Digital Journalist also captures the madness of the event.

This year’s Visa pour l’Image festival came to a close for the professional week on September 3rd at a party hosted by Canon. With champagne and great music, it was a memorable end to a marathon week of frenzied networking, press conferences, exhibitions, nightly projections and debates for which the world’s biggest photojournalism event is renowned.
The work being showcased in Perpignan both at the exhibition venues and on the big screens ‘was breathtaking. David Burnett’s Too Close?’ exposed his genius for interpreting both subject and moment in its’ broader context and for bringing psychological closeness between subject and viewer. Danielle and Olivier Follmi jointly shone a ray of light into the proceedings with The Wisdom of the Human Race which portrayed a vision of non-violence and peace, as did Michael Nichols in his The Last Place on Earth, a wonderful book on Africa. Kadir van Lohuizen in Diamond Matters reported in monochrome the appalling conditions on the ground in the diamond trade tracing diamonds from the pits in the Congo, Sierra Leone and Angola to the shops where they’re sold as messages of love between the rich and famous.
Whilst wandering through the maze of exhibits at the beautiful Couvent des Minimes, I stumbled on Paul Lowe who was unveiling ‘Scars’, a sequence from his book entitled Bosnians’. It was uplifting to see a vision of hope in the aftermath of war, and a treat to have the work introduced by the photographer, a personal touch in a world more virtual by the day. It provided an opportunity to see his pictures, the power of their stillness, through his eyes, which added another dimension.
This years’ nightly shows were superb in quality with Visa’s new projection system and the atmosphere was fantastic, out in the open in the cool night air. The subject matter was, not surprisingly, skewed towards the very heavy with as much as two hours of emotionally-charged matter which was too draining for some. There was the shocking but superb work of Juan Medina, winner of the 2005 CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage with his story ‘Clandestine Immigration of Africans to the Canary Islands’ and heartbreaking imagery from Philip Blenkinsop that unveiled the devastation wrought to people and places through ‘Tsunami’, to name but two.
One of the highlights of Visa is catching up with friends and making new acquaintances and getting feedback on the work you’ve done throughout the year. This year I ended up showing a handful of single images and a mock-up of the book I’m working on. But direct selling opportunities at Visa are limited since picture editors are notoriously elusive, and book publishers do not appear in the numbers that we photographers do of course. This in no way detracts from the joy of an event that brings the work of some of the world’s best photojournalists before your eyes. Visa informs and educates, and drives photojournalists on. I wore a trench in the staircase going up and down to the rooms of the Palais des Congres and scoured Pams Hotel religiously for editors. Apple computers filled a huge room with banks of gorgeous G4 laptops and G5 desktops with packages for photographers displayed on enormous high-res screens. They offered Internet access and showcased some brilliant work. Across the hall, Fuji was demonstrating equipment, producing prints and offering a facility to make simple portfolios, a service snapped up by those just back from assignments overseas. Next door, Canon was loaning out digital cameras which could be seen throughout the streets of Perpignan being tested by some of the best hands in the business, out documenting moments of everyday life. Another highlight was the first of the Magnum roundtable discussions that will each year examine contemporary issues of particular relevance to the young generation in the world of photojournalism. The discussion was brilliantly hosted by David Alan Harvey who brought humour to the analysis of ethical issues. On the way to La Poste restaurant, the subject turned to issues of practice in the field ’ where photojournalists are striving to report on war and injustice, they can find themselves contravening a wounded subject’s right to say: ‘No! I do not want my picture taken!’ The image chosen to promote Visa in 2005 of an apparently seriously-injured woman in Baghdad being carried in the arms of a man down a street who is holding up her hand ’ palm to the lens in a position which generally means ‘Stop!’ or ‘No!’ then became the subject for debate. It is an amazing image by Scott Nelson that both documents a moment and contrasts violence with beauty, but some thought it may be conveying an unintended message. This led to the complex question of how far demand dictates the how, where, and why pictures are taken and the relationship between the public’ and the press’ appetite for images of suffering and the role that the photojournalist plays in this overall picture. As usual, discussion continued long into the night.
All-in-all, the professional week at Perpignan went far beyond expectations with so many superb venues showcasing tremendous work. Sitting in the warmth of an autumnal evening discussing the industry and watching the nightly screenings under the stars was unforgettable, especially for those of us who spent the year in remote parts of the world.
September 10th, 2005

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 22 Sep 2005 14:09 (ed. Sep 23 2005) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Personaly i had such a great experiance in Perpignan, i learned more about the profesional world of photography in a week there than i did in the 3 years of my degree. I would highly recomend it to anyone starting out in this field of work. Everyone is so approachable n open to giving very constuctive advise n critism. My one critsm is that the slide shows contain so much work that its hard to take it all in, whether this is a good or bad thing i dont know. People banging on about to many dead bodies well, i can c yr point, but this is the world we live in, n i think its important to c this as not many publications show us what is really happening in realities true colours. I can understand that Perpignan is a bewildering n difficult place to navigate n sell yrself, but i think if u go there with the attitude of ‘what have i got to lose’ some great opportunities can present themselfs. Either way its a great experiance n i cant recomend it enough.

by Leo Maguire | 22 Sep 2005 15:09 | Bristol, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

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Kat Palasi, photographer Kat Palasi
Northern Luzon , Philippines
Martin Shakeshaft, Photojournalist Martin Shakeshaft
Barcelona , Spain
John Perkins, Photographer John Perkins
Cairo , Egypt ( CAI )
Stephan Sturges, Student/Photographer Stephan Sturges
In Brussels , Afghanistan
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom
Dave Yoder, Dave Yoder
Milan , Italy
DEDDEDA, Freelance Photographer DEDDEDA
Freelance Photographer
Tofino, Bc , Canada
Jenny Lynn Walker, Homo Sapien Jenny Lynn Walker
Homo Sapien
London , United Kingdom
Leo Maguire, Photographer Leo Maguire
London , United Kingdom


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