Arles 2016

If like me you can’t get to Arles, you can at least see something of what will be happening there on Lensculture’s Editors’ Preview: Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016.

I’ve never been to Arles for ‘Les Rencontres‘ for various reasons. When it might have made most sense for me to attend I was always still busy as a full-time teacher and examiner in early July and it just wasn’t possible. It fits in fine for those in Higher Education, but the dates didn’t work for those of us in lower ed.

After I moved from teaching to being a full-time photographer and writer, it would have been possible, and I did make some half-hearted attempts to persuade one or two of my photographer friends that it would be a good idea to go there, as I didn’t like the idea of going on my own. But it seemed to coincide with a few years when Arles seemed have lost its way, and I couldn’t persuade them it was worth the time and expense. And perhaps I couldn’t really persuade myself either.

This year’s event, the 47th, does look more interesting than many. The opening week of Arles 2016 is July 4th-10th, and doubtless there will be much online about it. The exhibitions continue until 25th September, so if you happen to be in the South of France it may be ‘worth a detour.’

I’ve not been to the city since the early 1970s, shortly after the festival began, but I was there at Easter, generally a rather better time to visit the South of France. My thoughts at the time were rather more about Van Gogh than photography (and we spent considerably more time in Cezanne’s territory to the east around Aix en Provence and Mont Sainte Victoire, where we got lost in the clouds.)

Also taking place in Arles is Voies Off, a kind of festival fringe, which seen from the web has often seemed to have some exhibitions of more interest than the official festival.

There is an Arles page on Lensculture, which has links to their preview of last year’s festival and also to the 45th festival in 2014.

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