Visa pour l’Image

Another of the big annual festivals I’ve never been to is Visa pour l’Image at Perpignan, which accurately describes itself as the “International Festival of Photojournalism“. Held every year in the south of France since 1989, it’s been going for 20 years and has established itself as the most important event of the year for many photojournalists, with many of the big names as well as those who would like to be more famous attending during the professional week – this year from 1-7 Sept.

There are around a thousand photographers and others in the business listed (you can download it from the site)  as being there, and something around 30 exhibitions, among them one arranged by the friends and family of Alexandra Boulat, who died tragically last October, only 45.

Those attending were also saddened to hear of the death of one of France’s greatest photojournalists, Françoise Demulder, after a long illness; photographing for Gamma, she was the first woman to win the World Press Photo of the Year in 1976.

In the evenings at Perpignan there are screenings of images covering the events of the year and various meetings and events. Freelance photographers also get a chance to show their portfolios.

The Visa d’Or awards are presented at Perpignan, for news, feature reporting and the daily press, as well as a special best young reporter award. Four four nominees are selected by an international panel for each award, and a different panel meets during the event to select the winner. The Canon Female Photojournalist Award and the CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reporting are also made there.

The nominees were announced some time ago. For the Features award, made on Friday night they are:

  • Carlos Spottorno / Getty Images : Xinjiang, China’s Far West
  • Alfred Yaghobzadeh / Sipa Press for the Figaro Magazine : Religious Minorities in Iran
  • Brent Stirton / Reportage by Getty Images for Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine : Virunga National Park, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, July 2007
  • Agnès Dherbeys / VIImentor program : Temple of Dooms, Wat Prah Bat Nam Phu, Thailand;

and for the News category to be awarded Saturday:

  • Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP : Kenya
  • Philip Blenkinsop / NOOR : China Earthquake
  • John Moore / Getty Images : Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
  • Anthony Suau / Bill Charles : Mexico/US border fence

You can read reports from the festival on several sites, including Foto8 and PopPhoto, although others who have promised to cover it – such as the  Digital Journalist – have yet to make a post from Perpignan as I write.  But I’m sure they will find a hot spot soon!

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