The 45th annual Recontres d'Arles, the large international photo festival, will run July 6 to September 20, spread out over 35 different sites in Arles. As in years past there will be themed and stand-alone exhibits, panel discussions, lectures, book signings, open-air screenings, workshops for kids and adults, guided tours and more. Last year, almost 100,000 people attended.
Most but not all exhibits stay up until the end of the festival, on September 20.
The exhibits, sometimes co-produced with French and/or foreign museums and institutions, are staged in various galleries, museums and purpose-built sites around the city. Some sites (for example, a 12th-century chapel or 19th-century industrial buildings) are open to the public only during the festival.
This 2015 Rencontres is being staged in honor of Lucien Clergue, the Arles-based fine-art photographer who died last year.
Opening week (June 6 to 12) is always the busiest of the festival...and it’s the week that many industry professionals attend. As always, it features a number of special events, which you can see on the schedules here and here.
Highlights of opening week include:
*Photography Nights at the Théâtre Antique, July 7, 8, 10 and 11 at 10 pm. These evening screenings present the work of photographers or photography specialists to an audience of up to 2,500 people. Each two-part evening beneath the stars begins with an award ceremony...and then moves on to a screening of photos or film designed specifically designed for the stunning, 2000-year-old amphitheater. The schedule and details for these special evenings are here. Separate tickets are required and more info is here.
*The Night of the Year ("Nuit de L'Année") takes place on Thursday July 9, from 6 pm onwards at Papeteries Étienne in Trinquetaille. The format of this popular event has changed from previous years. Visitors are invited to walk across the Trinquetaille Bridge, from La Roquette to Trinquetaille, and on to the former paper mill, which will be open to the public for the first time. En route, you’ll see photos on the bridge and on screens. At the mill, images will be casually displayed by a group of photographers who’ve been invited to “BYOP” (Bring Your Own Paper). There will be food, drink and a DJ on site; admission is free.
This year, the Night of the Year has been organized in collaboration with the Nuit de la Roquette, a large, annual neighborhood party organized by the folks who live and work in La Roquette. There you’ll find outdoor bars, food, music and more. Again, admission is free.
* During opening week of the Rencontres, many of photographers who have exhibits will be offering tours of their shows to festival-goers. From July 13 to September 20, Rencontres staffers will step in to offer daily guided tours through the exhibit sites.
As in years past, the major Recontres exhibits will grouped into loose themes.
One is “Rereading: The History of Photograph Revisited,” focusing on masters Walker Evans and Stephen Shore.
Another theme is “I am Writing to You From a Far Off Country” which spotlights particular parts of the world.
A third is “Platforms of the Visible: New Approaches to Documentary Photography.”
Yet another is “Odd Collectors.”
New this year is Arles Books, a satellite event which will take place at Le Parc des Ateliers SNCF. The 1000-square-meter space will be dedicated to the book, in every shape and form.
A list of all the 2015 Rencontres exhibitions is here. Start in the left hand column where they’re organized by theme and click the name of the show to see the specifics. Over on the right, you’ll see the venue, show dates, single ticket price and photographer’s bio. A map of all the exhibitions is here.
Tickets to all events may be purchased online or at five ticket offices, which you can see here. Exhibit tickets may be purchased individually or in multi-day passes. Single exhibit tickets start at 3.50€. A pass that gets you one entry into all exhibits, good for the entire festival starting July 6, is 37€. A seven-day pass for opening week (July 6 to 12) is 49€. One-day passes are 29€. Info on all passes is here.
Groups of 10 or more get special rates as do students, jobseekers, large families and companions to the disabled.
Free entry is granted to anyone under age 18, all citizens of Arles and the disabled.
Please note that some shows/venues are not included in pass prices and must be paid for separately. Make sure to get a map to all exhibits when you stop by a ticket office. They should also have them at the Arles Tourist Office.
The Rencontres also presents summer and weekend workshops; info on those is here.
To see the Rencontres press kit in English, click here.
The full Rencontres website in English is here.
The festival office/headquarters is located at 34, rue du Docteur Fanton in Arles and remains open throughout the fest. Help in English may be available by calling: +33 4-90-96-63-39 or +33 4 90 96 76 06.