The 38th annual Rencontres d’Arles Photographie kicked off the evening of July 2nd for an opening week of exhibits, lectures and nigh-time projections. The festival, with over 50 exhibitions of photography showcased at hertiage sites (12th century churches and abbeys, 18th century townhouses, 19th century industrial buildings) throughout the ancient city of Arles, France continues through September 16, 2007.
This years Rencontres focuses on photography being produced in China and India. Industrial China continues to grow at a rapid pace, creating intense energy deriving from human density and ever changing cityscapes – the content of which is ripe for creative deconstruction and exploration. Artists living in Beijing’s Dashanzi district (798) investigate the exploding urban growth of their surroundings using photography, self portraiture, video installation and historical comparisons. Their art making is fresh, exciting and strangely appropriate to be shown in the revitalized Les Ateliers area of Arles, a city rich with its own historical and cultural revolutions.
India represents its identity void of the usual colorful stereotypes and displays yet with a similar urgency to China. The photography we see is a narrative of contemporary everyday living, relationships and family life as well as representations through antique family albums and bookmaking. A common thread throughout the various works is a strength of tradition and a celebration of photography as art making.
Other exhibits include contemporary photographs from Jeff Wall, vernacular photographs collected by Erik Kessel, works borrowed from PHotoEspana by Alberto Garcia-Alix and works by the newer “discovery” talents as nominated by curators and art professionals world wide.
Another strong presence at Arles is Magnum Photo Agency, celebrating their 60th Anniversary. Lectures, workshops and book signings will be held by some of the greatest master documentary photographers (and friends of Fotovision) including: Alex Majoli, Jim Goldberg, Martin Parr, Abbas, David Hurn, Guy Le Querrec, Susan Meiselas, Lise Sarfati, Chris Steele Perkins, Paolo Pellegrin, John Morris, Marco Bischof, Josef Koudelka, Thomas Dvorak, Christopher Anderson and more.
Street parties, debates, nightly projections in the antique theatre, awards for emerging photographers and books of the year, all comprise this years celebration of photography at Recontres d’Arles.