If people have concrete ideas as to how to make anything at Visa or around Visa better, more engaging, more relevant, or more interesting, they should get in touch with us. Think the work we show is bad ? Send us your own, better work. Think Visa is irrelevant ? Come and make it relevant. Think Visa sucks ? Come and make it good. We don’t care who distributes your images, and we won’t show your work because it was published in a prestigious magazine, even if that magazine is our sponsor. We won’t show it because it wasn’t published in a prestigious magazine, either. We will show it because we think it is good, and that others will, too.

It’s that simple. We’re a small team, and we have limited ressources. But we’re listening.

JF Leroy, Festival Director

(only constructive comments welcome)

  • iamnotasuperstarphotogrpher

    I want to go to Perpignan next year as I love photojournalism as a medium. I go to Arles instead. So I have some ideas… I hope you are true to your word and listen.

    Every time I read something about Perpignan, it is a photographer speaking about meeting other photographers at the Cafe-la-Poste. This is the reputation of the show so I do not go. I get images of people fighting to show work to the editor or the NGO who has a budget.

    I did not write this:- http://foto8.com/new/online/blog/645-visa-pour-limage-3-round-up and read the bottom conclusion written in 2008 about the integrity.

    In 2009, the booklet I bought in Arles declares the death of photojournalism (in a defiant context of course).

    It has the reputation of an industry trade show with the tourists as a sideline. So to help people like me who are just members of the public (and not ethnically white male western) who would love to come…

    Some ideas that can help, as someone who is not part of your industry.

    1. Creating a sustainable audience.

    What community engagement programs have you developed? And if so, what feedback have you got from them to measure achievements against objectives? Arles does this and it gives the festival a deeper meaning than just a showcase of work. Particularly initiatives working with schools to see and test their response to the festival next year. Bring them into the wonderful world of photojournalism you can create in 2011 by letting them be a part of it.

    2. Embracing audiences online.

    Some people will love the idea of going to Perpignan. Given the online world, what is done so we follow them online if we cannot to participate in person? Is there recording of shows, talks available online so we can be immersed in the complexity and avoid accusations of stereotyping? Enforces responsibility and avoids the “shanty town” effect. Look at the selection on the front of your webpage. I looked at that and decided not to go and I think it is obvious to all now why. Show the talks that provide the context.

    Make me feel like I am not going to be the subject of a white photographers curiosity as a minority by welcoming people like me in.

    3. Economic Conflicts of Interest.

    In order to avoid the conflict of economic interest issue you point out when you say “I am nobody’s whore”… instead of having your hard earned reputation put at risk in this unfortunate way, do you have a formal editorial panel with a cohesive set of objective editorial values that you can publish?

    Do this and you do not even have to say that you are “nobody’s whore”.

    Objectivity, plurality, transparency = trust.

    4. Getty and the festival.

    I have no issue with Getty investing in the festival at all. I applaud good business relationships that make the festival possible. Mutual economic benefit is a good thing managed correctly and the people in Getty who choose to invest in Perpignan are probably different to the people who have decided to back AFP in the Morel case. It is a big complex business that has responsibilities towards its stakeholders and sometimes photographers mistake that for being against Photography. I do not take that view so I applaud your relationship with them.

    However your Morel defence raised legitimate questions surrounding the objectivity of your position. You have become very personally identifiable with the festival as the director so maybe this could change with a broader decision making structure.

    Even with a small team, you have so much good will that you could leverage and bring more people in to embed objectivity into everything you do. You would not be forced to personally defend the festival if you are not so personally the person behind it.

    You would be showing humility for the benefit of the public and avoid accusations of vanity and elitism.

    5. Shanty Town photography.

    What is the cultural, racial and gender make up of the team you employ? Does it contain members of the public who are outside of this? If not, could it – invite members of the public who are part of the work you intend to show to have a say? For example, could a chinese individual be invited to have a look at work chosen showing China? A East African comment of work around East Africa?

    The response itself would be an interesting component of the festival and really show people you have listened – imagine the respect you would earn linking the work with the people. You do not have to tell people you listened. You can show them you have.

    More diversity equals more understanding. Big business has been doing this for years so is able to respond. I hope you have done so too.

    All these ideas can be done quickly, cheaply and efficiently through good organisation. Most of all, they would increase the social value of the images and move beyond the frame.


    You promised to listen Mr Leroy. If you have done these things already, I apologise. I hope you read these comments in the good faith that they were written in. This took me 10 minutes to write – in the days you have to plan 2011, there are plenty more ideas that can make the festival say more than it does to people like William Klein.

    I hope they help. I am sure that in the right context, duckrabbit would love to work with you to share ideas about a progressive future for the medium and the festival as they want the same thing you do – a better future for the industry.

    It takes a brave man to invite ideas instead of defending a position through pride. I hope you take the opportunity to be brave for the sake of the long term future of the festival.

    I am a member of the public who loves the medium of photojournalism and I go to Arles every year. I would love to see something that makes me think that Perpignan is the festival I want to go to instead.

  • Amen.

  • My2cents

    Interesting post… FYI, the festival does have a public week, which follows the professional week. In involves many schools etc. But the professional week remains focussed on photographers, editors, agencies, publications, NGOs, exhibition curators, etc who work in the industry, and use this as the one week each year where everyone can convene in a pleasant setting, catch up (with each other and what the industry has been doing for the past 12 months), and get a lot of actual business done, which is much better to do in person rather than on the end of a phone/email from opposite sides of the planet. Even though it is limited to this group of people that first week each year, there are so many of us that it is an extremely busy time for all. So i for one feel that the public and professional weeks need to remain separate, if nothing else than for the sheer number of people attending from around the world.

    • That’s the problem. Photojournalism is in danger of becoming a scene that celebrates itself.

  • My2cents

    You’ve missed the point… the professional week does the things i have outlined because there is a need & demand for this. It’s the one week each year that enables us all to get together. Won’t you let us have that? It’s not about celebrating itself, as i pointed out already. There are opportunities every single day of the year for the public to view photojournalism, and get involved if they wish to. Including on sites like this. And don’t get me wrong, it would be better if the public were even more aware & interested in the stories being told from around the world, rather than trashy celebrity gossip & sports, but it’s their choice ultimately.
    This doesn’t remove the need for a place & time when the people working inside the industry, living & breathing photojournalism, can get together and interact. That’s what the professional week of the festival is about!

    • No I get your point and it is well argued and well made.

      I have friends who live in Perpignan and I own a house near by. Many locals like the photography festival but wish it had more diversity. They enjoy the off festival work more. Are they being listened to?

    • iamnotasuperstarphotogrpher

      You do not even have to have a pro-day. You just have to go and mingle with your industry mates as nobody is stopping you. Last time I read, it is not a trade fair!

      If Mr Leroy was smart, he would not publicise this need to focus “on photographers, editors, agencies, publications, NGOs, exhibition curators, etc who work in the industry, and use this as the one week each year where everyone can convene in a pleasant setting, catch up (with each other and what the industry has been doing for the past 12 months), and get a lot of actual business done, which is much better to do in person rather than on the end of a phone/email from opposite sides of the planet.”

      That sounds like a trade fair. Have a trade fair – good idea… but don’t hijack a festival for the public. How long is Arles? Perpignan is on for only 2 weeks with half of it being advertised as a trade fair?

      Arles goes on for nearly 2 months and look at the list of sponsors compared to Perpignan. The audience has to be more important than the industry.

      The open market is punishing PJ’ism ruthlessly. Arles vs Perpignan is an example of this. Change is needed.

      re: Community engagement. I apologise to Mr Leroy again if these things are done.

      I go to Arles and I would argue that Mr Leroy has to bring more people in and stop people like me from going to Arles again in 2011 to see less of the shanty town, more of the narrative.

  • My2cents

    Come on, are you really arguing the validity of Arles vs Perpignan… look at the work on show, what is of greater potential consequence/benefit/importance to humnaity around the world? Yes Arles may be more accessible to the public, and involve them, as well as being less of a ‘trade-show’ as you put it… but if photojournalism is being accused of celebrating itself in Perpignan, what about the content you would see in Arles? And do what end ultimately?
    Perpignan is not a trade-show that is hijacking a festival for the public, as you put it. It has been around a long time, and has maintained its founding principles. Indeed you seem to be trying to hijack Perpignan, and make it something else. I agree some change is needed, but it still fulfills a much-needed role in the photojournalism industry. I think you have misunderstood what Perpignan is intended to be. It is unique, that’s the point. It is not trying to be like other photo festivals. And we applaud it for that. If public access/attendance had been the driving force/goal, it could have been held in Paris to start with.
    The open market ‘punishing’ photojournalism is not because of the format of Perpignan… it is due to public interest (or peceived dumbing down of the public, in terms of interest in the subjects that photojournalists cover, in favour of sport/celebs/trivia), and the spread of the internet, which has massively impacted the amount of investment in photojournalism production (reduced mag circulation and reduced print ad budgets, as the target audience is waning and going online to read what they want for free).
    Ultimately, Arles and Perpignan are intended to be two very different things, and therefore appeal to two different groups of people, albeit with some crossover of people who appreciate the merits of both. If you don;t agree with the principles of what Perpignan is about, and aims to achieve, then maybe Mr Leroy is not trying to bring people like you to Perpignan, and stop you from going to Arles, as you say. Maybe you are not his target audience, and maybe i am not the target audience for Arles.

    • Who is the target audience? Because I love documentary photography, and so do most people I know.

  • iamnotasuperstarphotogrpher

    Fair comment my2cents and this brings out the detail.

    First I should answer you questions.

    1. Look at the work on show, what is of greater potential consequence/benefit/importance to humnaity around the world?

    All I see are victims. Victim, victims and more victims. Actually, Stephanie Sinclair says “look at these weirdo’s… sensitively”. It is all terribly base. I leave Klein out because he actually dares show an image of someone who smiles. Justyna Mielnikiewicz looks objective and interesting but most of it is all base. Show me a work that moves beyond the statement “This is f*cked shot amazingly”. Maybe Allard’s?

    The point is similar to the state of the industry and to what Mr Klein refers to. Showing scenes of shock does not equal knowing more about “a greater potential consequence/benefit/importance to humanity around the world”. All you show is that it happens. Well I bet most of the public know that. It is bland and it is uniform in its political message and all the website shows is bits of the troubled parts of the world in 5 images.

    If you want to show “greater potential consequence/benefit/importance to humnaity around the world” then just show it. Show what is being done. Show why it happens. Do not just show the point of conflict. Do not use artistic language of abstraction to justify the right to show people suffering.

    The industry lacks sophistication and understanding. Perpignan celebrates this ideology. Society has moved on from sensationalist messages. PJ has become like a headline without the detail. Maybe we should not call it photojournalism at all but the “Festival of Humans in Crisis (in pictures)”. There is a difference between this and journalism.

    Who is attacking the really big issues? What are they? Can they be shown in less than 24 images?

    2. What about the content you would see in Arles?

    Well I saw work of D’Agata, Brassaï, Michael Ackerman. A document of the punk era in context to others who did the same. No judgement, gave me space to think for myself. Documentary not journalism? Not Reportage? How about Paulo Woods, Portraits in Iran with text. He also did Afro-China in the same style. Amazing works of journalism. China is not just a bunch of migrant workers or factories on the Yangtze. It is a developmental force in Africa too. Now that is interesting. His work on Iran was broad, subtle, informative and beautiful journalism. He does not force me to take his position or force me to feel the emotions of the photographer in a single stressful image. He invites me to think about the issues he raises and let me think about it after I walk away. It is mature.

    “Perpignan is unique”, I am not sure if that means anything. Conserve it like a Skoda – that was a unique brand until VW got hold of it and liberated it by the application of sophistication. “It has been around a long time, and has maintained its founding principles.”? Maybe but it has turned into a trade show because it dedicates a week for its own people to feel the love of a medium together that was once respected by the public. Half of the entire show for goodness sake.

    Charge some Euro’s like a trade show to keep the producers happy and take the exhibition to Paris where more people can feel the impact of the work. measure the feedback and implement a structure of continuous improvement by perpetual evolution and PJ’ism might not find itself so far behind.

    All it does not is tell us that we are dumb – “dumbing down of the public, in terms of interest in the subjects that photojournalists cover, in favour of sport/celebs/trivia”. I love sports and I respect that after a hard days of stressful boring work, my girlfriend wants to just enjoy her evening to relax her mind by watching entertaining TV/magazine/browse online. Many times I join her.

    She has 2 degree’s and I have a MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (with a Distinction) so neither of us are dumb. But we chose to go to Arles because we did not want stand in a place that told us to feel angry or made to feel guilty for being part of the world that created these problems unless we personally did something about it. That is very emotionally immature. Like trying to be a photojournalist, you get half a chance to show 20 images to someone who might let you be part of their gang so you go for their throats and show explicitness or weirdness… but there is no time for context.

    No wonder they feel they have to shout in the only media space they have worked months and sometimes years to get hold of… “THIS IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD UNLESS YOU ARE DUMB”

    No, not dumb but the shouting has made me numb. That is Perpignan to me. Arles says “Come in, have a look” so I do. They even charge me yet I do not mind as the experience is very positive.

  • @ iamnotasuperstarphotogrpher you got it bang on!

    Arles has its faults but one thing is for sure it shows PHOTOGRAPHY to the public, photographers, editors, curators… and anyone that wants to go over and participate.
    Perpignan is more and more a “scarf wearing, not so gentlemen club”… A vanity fair where you go to see the latest trends on “How to go to underdeveloped regions and get your award wining photography in just 5 days”…

    I have attended Perpignan for years but since I visited Arles for the first time this year I feel no need or desire to go back to Perpignan. Anyway most of the people I want to meet up with also attend it. And I can actually see exhibitions with PHOTOGRAPHY on.

    @ My2cents: for you just a few words “Nuit de l’Année”.
    Come over to Arles next year and see how “professionals” and “regular people” can attend the same event and populate the same spaces with no problem whatsoever… I promise no one will get in your way, and you can always see a lot of PHOTOGRAPHY throughout the night.

    Many cheers to you all.


  • Joe

    The world of photography is not so dissimilar to that of fashion. Photojournalism is sooo, terribly out of fashion at the moment. Right now it’s all about shooting slightly desaturated middle format portraits and having a so called ‘unique’ voice.
    And please, by no means must you show me dramatic situations, don’t show me the ‘victims’ of terrible man made tragedies in case I might feel guilty. Because that would be such a pain in the arse that once in a while in my otherwise peaceful, comfortable and wasteful life of a fat, wealthy Westerner that I am, I feel a bit of empathy, and yes maybe a bit of shame. Because I am so bloody immature or maybe just too lazy and complacent, I won’t reflect, I won’t act on what I see.
    Please let me watch Wimbledon once again and the bloody Oscar’s red carpet because hey, it’s so radically different from one year to another. But my no means will I hear and see the story of a starving child from Darfur. Because I already saw that emaciated ‘African’ four years ago on page 18 of some magazine and although it was in a completely different country and that, this child was dying of AIDS and out of a completely different set of circumstances, I can’t make the difference, because my attention span is that of a twelve year old asbo. Ignorance is such a bliss.
    Besides I had already paid a hefty price for that magazine, I mean after all, I bought it for less than a can of coke! But I like my Coke, and that’s already far too high a price to pay because I can get all the decent, quality ‘documentary’ photography about some place or another in a break away republic of the Caucasus on free internet blogs.

    Mr. Leroy, be careful with the moralisms of Western societies, the same ones that send armies to far away places but don’t want to see what a high velocity bullet or cluster bomb, manufactured next door and with their own, taxpayers money, does to the human body miles way. Who don’t want to see what it means for a poor farming family in Helmand or that of a teenage American soldier from Oklahoma to be violently robbed of someone who meant so much to them. Who don’t want to see the consequences of the economic, agricultural and environmental policies of their freely elected leaders on drought or flood stricken areas. Who don’t really understand or want to understand what it means to be denied citizenship, basic access to education, democratic representation and a free press.
    Please don’t be the censors, these places have their own.
    Thank god China is not only about exploited textile workers or Lagos the world dump for computer electronics but hey it makes me think twice when I decide to buy or throw away something. If people get ‘numb’ watching the pictures, I wish they could smell an overcrowded refugee camp or hear and feel the mighty power of so called ‘precise’ air strikes, that would wake them up. Watching the pictures is the least they could do.
    But my experience is that viewers when confronted with difficult images immediately want to read the caption and understand and know more about it. Maybe if you are numb you ‘consume’ a too large amount of photojournalism but this is in NO WAY the case of the wider public.

    Actually if I wish one thing is that all those wire stringers who are paid a daily pittance, whose names no one cares to pronounce properly let alone remember them, who certainly will never show anything at Arles or elsewhere for that matter, these stringers who tell the story of their own country on a day to day basis, sometimes good and yes sometimes tragic and gritty, who dare put their own leaders to shame and make them accountable for their actions, who make visual records and let people and events not be forgotten, because photojournalism is not only for a Western consumption by the way, I wish you would bring these people on, make them compare their visions of insiders with those of the outsider photographer, both are valid and important.

    I wish photography at festivals was more about the stories, small and large, and the issues than about the medium. In ‘Photojournalism’ there is the word journalism, invite the writers, the experts along with the photographers to bring context and engage the audience with the subject.

    I really couldn’t care less if Perpignan is a trade show or not, if photojournalists want to compare scarves by the pool side of a rented villa, talking about checkpoints and the state of roads between Harare and Bulawayo, good for them, after all they lead lonely lives and are treated and paid shit the rest of the year, as long as the issues are brought to a wider audience. If the town of Perpignan is too small to mix everyone, make it somewhere else or make it last longer.

    And lastly, I cannot see why one way of telling stories has to be exclusive of others, so listen a bit the the moralizers above and bring on some of these square format, because I too loved a lot of the stuff at Arles.

    • Some great stuff here … that made me laugh out loud …

      Thanks for your comment

  • joe

    oh well at least someone laughs, for me when I read people saying they feel numb looking at the pain of others it makes want to cry. Where they are must be a nice cosy place where no one has to feel personaly responsible for anything. I am glad to be emotionally immature if it makes me feel a common sense of humanity. Thanks for allowing a debate anyway.

    • Hi Joe,

      apologies if you took my comment the wrong way. i certainly was not laughing at you.

      • Joe

        Ben, no offense taken. Cheers.

        • iamnotasuperstarphotogrpher

          Great post and you are right.

          The issue is that as an audience member, if all we are faced with is the same thrust of shock, then it reduces the value of the work. Shock is better within William Klein’s context, context, context. I agree. Like someone jumping out from the bushes shouting “Boo!”. Do that to me every 5 seconds and I become numb. That is not something to be celebrated at all.

          Who buys a newspaper that only has un-redemptive headlines?

          “Where they are must be a nice cosy place where no one has to feel personaly responsible for anything.” – I am not that at all but even if I was, surely the job would be to convert me and discuss using a more conversational tone. Look at the Amnesty/Nepal video duckrabbit posted for an example of what can be done. Full of “common sense of humanity” without the “LOOK AT THIS AND BE ANGRY”.

          That is the point though – treat me as this: “Where they are must be a nice cosy place where no one has to feel personaly responsible for anything.” and I will just walk away asking what are you doing about it except taking pictures of other people’s suffering for sale? I know that is not fair but used just to make a point). It does not have to be that way and Perpignan does not have to be the way it is. I do not have to bow down to somebody else’s moral high ground. I just want to learn and make my own opinions without having the photographer’s thrust upon me.

          Thanks for taking the opportunity to debate.

          I concede that I did not point out what you highlighted – and that is inside and outside are “both are valid and important.” I was at pains to call for more diversity and made a point of celebrating Eugene Richards as an experienced western white male to avoid demonising that demographic. I just think there is too much of that kind to reflect the sheer diversity of ideas out there.

          That includes medium format squares, like Paolo Woods at Arles and I agree that one way of telling stories should not be exclusive to all the others. Tell that to Mr Leroy please!

          Like I have said, nothing wrong with a trade show but somebody please take the work to the public with conviction. Take it to Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Marseilles, Nice, Barcelona, Valencia, Manchester…

  • Joe


    I actually just been looking more in depth on the Visa pour L’image website because I haven’t been in person, and I cannot really see the thrust of shock you are talking about.
    I don’t really see any work that makes me think someone is shouting at me from a moral high ground.
    Which work made you feel that way? I thought everything was pretty tamed.
    It’s just photojournalism, not all very good I concede.
    I guess the misconception is that photojournalism and documentary photography are alike.
    I am not saying Mr. Leroy should not be including more documentary approaches in his selection, but I think photojournalism is not documentary photography. I don’t really understand the trial made here. If Perpignan wants to preserve its photojournalistic identity, let it be, if it wants to incorportate more documentary approach to attract even more people, well that’s great.
    I think the ‘taking pictures of other people suffering for sale’ is the typical argument of the day. Photojournalism is out of fashion and accused of anything and everything because it has lost it’s primary audience, newspapers and magazine readers, for lots of reasons explained earlier in the thread. I don’t think it has so much to do with the content.
    I know it sounds very unfashionable but the primary role of photojournalism is to bear witness. And not just for the west, for the ‘rest’ of the world as well, whoever takes the picture (western or non western).
    When doing documentary photography, a lot of the time, not all of the time, you have a point of view, if not an agenda because you often think in terms of representation.
    I am not saying it is good or bad, it just is. And in this aspect very removed from journalistic principles.
    It may bring about more reflection, maybe more context, but personally I don’t think photography as a medium, just the photos I mean, can do all that.
    Look at the work you mentioned earlier by Paolo Woods, Chinafrica. For you it shows China as a developing force in Africa, so it is REPRESENTING china differently from the autocratic, slave labouring giant we are supposedly used to. Well, if you read on the subject, some analysts argue that China’s developing force has great cost on democracy for the African nations who contract them. How is it different from western nations doing it, in terms of geopolitical developments and advancement of fairer, more democratic societies? What is the transfer of technology for these African nations, when for most of these projects the Chinese contractors bring the workers and the engineers all the way from china. Etc. My point being, photography cannot answer all these questions, what you saw as a document which presents China under a different, more positive light, I saw partly as yet another postcolonial opportunistic phenomenon. And I have no idea what Paolo Woods intentions were. Far from me the idea to put on trial anyone. I actually never met him and haven’t gone to some of the places he went to, so difficult for me to form an opinion. He probably didn’t have any intentions, which makes it even better for me.
    But I think to believe that documentary photography presents greater truths because it is in appearance more sophisticated is a lure. The medium of photography only raises questions. Context, words, can answer them. Photojournalism at its best sometimes raises questions but mostly it bears witness. I personally am very interested in photography as an historical document and so I attach a lot of value to photojournalism because a lot of it is not tainted by an agenda. But it doesn’t mean that I will demonize any other form of photography. If you don’t like the principles behind Perpignan or photojournalism as a whole, you don’t have to discredit it or its practitioners. Just don’t go. Talking about what’s on show at Perpignan as ‘taking pictures of other people suffering for sale’, even just for argument’s sake, is extremely disrespectful to people you have never met and who really don’t make any kind of big money as this seems to imply.
    ‘What are you doing about it’, well what are you doing about Iran once you have seen Paolo Woods’ portraits?

    And btw, I really like Paolo Wood’s work.


  • @Joe (“I wish photography at festivals was more about the stories, small and large, and the issues than about the medium”)
    I think this is spot on. The general public doesn’t care so much about the medium, it cares about storyline. One thing left outside the debate so far is the rise of prizes and awards. With declining budgets for real storytelling media and the rise of prizes and awards, could it be that the focus has shifted from storyline to spectacular and graphic image taking? Photographers may not be trained in researching and contextualizing stories. In addition, doing that takes a lot of time. There is hardly any photograph that can contextualize and explain itself. So when real storytelling media like in-depth magazines and newspapers have lowered budgets and an increasing community of photographers continue to whip out work at increasing speed and volume it is inevitable for the work that is the product of all their combined efforts to become more shallow (exceptions exist!) and they may be the very cause of the effect they are trying to avoid. How to solve this has me puzzled, completely.

    How can photographers create value in the general public’s eye again? Anybody having some good thought please share them here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bite-magazine/112993382065165

    Sorry Duck, don’t mean to hiyack your discussion, so edit these lines out or delete my comment, if inappropriate…

  • Joe

    Totally agree Diederick.
    But for me it’s interesting that someone earlier in the thread was talking about the lack of sophistication in hard news photojournalism and saying that people don’t need to be reminded of facts, they already know bad things happen in the world.
    I have to say, when I have conversation with people who are not part of the photography world, friends and others, the reaction is the opposite. In these times when people don’t read as much news and magazines as they used to, sometimes hardly at all, often people who come to the photos at festival and various awards’ traveling exhibitions, come across issues and stories they weren’t aware of. Maybe next time they quickly go through some mag at the dentist they’ll read the article just because they saw that picture that triggered some interest. And difficult images, no matter how basic they may be, often trigger reaction. Of course it must be in good dose, that’s the role of curators and editors, but I would say in that field that it is all very, very conservative nowadays.
    Maybe Perpignan should just be a trade show, because of that, or make two sets of displays, one to be seen by industry people and another one by the general public.
    Generally though I can’t help thinking the value of factual journalism is very overlooked now in favour of more sophisticated narratives, which I also prefer, because I am often familiar with issues, but it’s really not the case of the wider public. Factual journalism and photojournalism is at best described as basic and shallow, at worst accused of being exploitative, the photographers vilified, but if all I get is photography from the NGOs PR departments, from which photojournalists tend to work for more and more, NGOs which in some parts of the world are far from being neutral elements, (apart maybe from Amnesty or Human Rights Watch) I don’t think it’s a good thing either, regardless of how hopeful or how redemptive the message is, it is not journalism.
    Another point, some photographers are not good at documentary approaches, either they don’t work for clients who give them enough time or they don’t ‘do’ narratives. You have to do what you are good at. Wire photography can be described as basic but it’s a real knack and discipline (btw, I am not a wire photographer). Others on the contrary excel in the form of documentary. Why do the formers have to defend themselves all the time because of the so called lack of use of what they do? In that case what’s the use of journalism? Documentary photography can certainly be more eloquent but to what end ultimately? Does it have more impact on people’s willingness to act as responsible and engaged citizens, to donate to charities, to be more understanding, does it make them more informed? How is it less exploitative?

duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

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