Friday, June 29, 2012

Rencontres d'Arles Opens Monday July 2

The annual Recontres d'Arles, the fantastic international photo festival, will run July 2 to September 23 in Arles. This year more than 100 photographers have been invited to present 60 different exhibits, lectures and performances. As in years past there will be panel discussions, book signings, open-air screenings, classes, portfolio reviews and more. 

The opening week (the week that many industry professionals attend) will feature a number of special events, such as an evening with Elliott Erwitt alone on stage, presenting his work on an enormous screen in Arles' amazing Théâtre Antique. (Construction of the theater began in the 1st century and was completed in the 12th. And you thought your builder was slow!) The evening with Elliott Erwitt is Thursday July 5 and tickets are €13. Translation will be provided for all evening events in the Théâtre Antique and there will be live music on July 5 as well.

Unique at this year's Rencontres: The photographer members of the legendary press agency Magnum, who get together annually in New York, Paris or London, will celebrate Magnum's 65th anniversary by holding this year's meeting in Arles for the first time. The second half of four opening-week evening programs at the Théâtre Antique (July 3, 4, 5 and 7th) will be dedicated to Magnum photographers and their work. 

The first half of those evenings (starting at nightfall, around 10 pm, on July 3, 4, 5 and 7th), Christian Milovanoff, a photographer and teacher at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d'Arles since its inception, will give a performance/critical lesson about different photographic genres and the four ''stories'' that preoccupy photographers: the portrait, classification, memory and words. This program (subject varies each evening) is called ''The Evening Milo.''

After ''The Evening Milo'' on Tuesday July 3, you can hear ''Magnum Premier'' (20 top Magnum photographers including Susan Meiseles and Alex Webb talking about their early careers) and ''Looking for America'' in which five Magnum photographers discuss their spring 2012 trip to the U.S. (Tickets: 13€.)  There will be live music this evening as well.

On Wednesday July 4 (13€), Mr. Milovanoff will be followed by a showing of the film La Siecle de Cartier-Bresson (Cartier-Bresson's Century). 

Friday July 6 is called "La Nuit de L'Année" (The Night of The Year) and 14 photographers will be displaying their work on large screens along the Quais de Trinquetaille (Trinquetaille Docks) from 10 pm to 1 am. Come one, come all: it's free. Trinquetaille is the neighborhood on the ''other side'' of the Rhone. The quai has recently been renovated and is a great place to stroll; get there by crossing the Trinquetaille Bridge. (Van Gogh painted the bridge and there's a small plaque showing the painting, on the southern side of the bridge. )

On Saturday July 7 we're back at the Théâtre Antique (€13) for The Evening Milo, followed by a showing of the film French Diary by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon. That evening, the winner of the Discovery Award--and its €25,000 prize--will be announced, along with other awards.

There has long been a slight tension between the locals in Arles and those that come from around the world to participate in the Rencontres, an unspoken grudge that the town is taken over by "arty types." To help bridge the gap, the organizers of the Rencontres created "La Nuit de L'Année" (see above), featuring exhibitions and slide shows in public spaces. The majority of these were located in the Roquette, one of Arles' oldest neighbourhoods, far off the tourist track. The evening was an immediate success and the locals came out in droves, mixing with professionals late into the night. When the event was moved to the Ateliers SNCF in 2009 (and to the Arena last year), a group formed to sponsor a separate evening (that is no longer affiliated with the Rencontres). The free-styling spirit remains: amateur and professional work is shown side by side, along with short films, music and even a graffiti artist. This year's Nuit de La Roquette takes place on Thursday July 5th, starting at 7pm and lasting until dawn. For more info and a map, click here.

Other activities during opening week include a July 4, 5 and 6 symposium entitled ''The Intensity of Photography'' at the Théâtre d'Arles. It happens every day from 10 am to 1 pm and admission is free. Live translation will be provided. 

For a complete day-by-day schedule of opening week events, of which there are many, click here and then see the column on the left. These include photographers guiding people through their exhibits, book signings, panel discussions, films, workshops and more. A few topics include fashion photography, the future of book publishing, the relevance of Magnum and workshops on Olympus cameras. All opening week events are simultaneously translated into English and other languages.

Also of note: From July 2 to 7 in the Archbishop's Palace Courtyard, the alternative festival-within-a-festival called Voies Off celebrates up-and-coming photographers with screenings and exhibits. This year they honor the Voies Off Selections Prize, photography from the Nordic countries and the 30th anniversary of the National Photography School. Info on Voies Off is here and available by calling +33 (0)4 90 96 93 82.

General tickets and passes for the Rencontres start at €3.50 to €11 for a single exhibit entry. A €27 day pass (valid July 2 to September 23) gives you one entry per exhibit. A full festival pass (one entry per exhibit from July 2 to September 23) is €35. A one- week pass offering unlimited access to all exhibitions July 2 to 8 is €45. A pass for the month of September only is €27. A €60 pass for industry pros provides unlimited access to all exhibits and evening screenings from July 2 to 8, except July 7. 

Tickets for all Recontres events are available at a number of locations in Arles including the Place de la République, the Espace Van Gogh and the Parc des Ateliers. The main festival ticket office is at #34 rue du docteur Fanton. All ticket offices are open 10 am to 7 pm daily. They're also online here.

Meanwhile, weekend photo workshops sponsored by the Rencontres will continue throughout the summer. See that specific schedule here

For all the Rencontres info in English, including exhibition schedules, other activities, maps and ticketing, click here. You can also call +33 (0)4 90 96 76 06 or email: But wait, there's more! You can learn about the Rencontres app for iPhone here and follow the Rencontres on Twitter too: @rencontresarles.

Images: Festival posters have become collectors' items. One of Eliott Erwitt's most-iconic images, ''Felix, Gladys and Rover,'' taken in 1974. Opening week poster. Mexicans stopped trying to cross the U.S. border, photographed in San Ysidro, California in 1979 by Alex Webb. Poster for this years Nuit de la Roquette.

1 comment:

  1. IS it that time again... they come around quickly... Happy Sunday Julie... xv