visa-pour-l'image

Tom Stoddart’s Most Meaningful Photo

For 25 years, the international photojournalism festival Visa Pour L’Image has been bringing together people who care deeply about the craft and its responsibility to give voice to the vulnerable and help the world see itself.

It’s a responsibility not taken lightly.

In honor of this, our Reportage by Getty Images photojournalists took some time to talk about which of their images has had the most significant impact on them over their long and storied careers. This is the first installment of the series.

Tom Stoddart: Woman of Sarajevo, 1993

It was 1993 and the Siege of Sarajevo was at its bloodiest.

I was working on a photo-essay documenting the lives of women in that war torn city. Each day the women braved the shelling and snipers who took aim as they queued for water or bread at distribution points. In the suburb of Dobrinja the streets were especially dangerous and people didn’t venture out unnecessarily. There was sniping and I was sheltering by sand bags when suddenly a woman appeared in the deserted street. Her head was held high and she was wearing lipstick, heels and a colourful dress. I shot three or four frames on a Leica as she moved past me, then she was gone.

When my story landed on the picture desk at LIFE Magazine they asked me to go back to Sarajevo to try to find the woman and interview her. Days later Meliha Vareshanovic told me, “My message to the watching gunmen who surround my city is simple, you will never defeat us!”

Two decades after I photographed her, I returned to Sarajevo to meet Meliha again. She was 57 and still strikingly beautiful and full of life. We chatted about the image and the fact that actress Angelina Jolie loved the picture and had it framed on her studio wall when she was editing her film In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Meliha told me the picture I took was during very painful time for her, taken just a couple of months after her mother died.

“I didn’t want to show that pain in my face,” she said. “My mother had a heart attack – she was not wounded, not killed, but what happened to her was because of the war, because there was no medicine, no drugs and no food. I am speechless that Angelina Jolie felt so inspired by my picture – so pleased and surprised. Angelina is one of the most beautiful women in the world and when I hear this I feel breathless.”

See a related feature about the women of Sarajevo on the Reportage Web site.

Tom Stoddart began his career as a freelance photographer in 1978 and later worked extensively for the Sunday Times. Read more about him here.

8

Visa Pour l’Image: A peek at the exhibitions at the International Festival of Photojournalism

The 26th annual Visa Pour l’Image, the “Cannes Film Festival” of photojournalism, kicks off next week, filling the French city of Perpignan with more than 3,000 of the world’s best photojournalists and photo editors, along with agencies from around the world, converging to share tips, contacts, more than a few drinks, and the best of the world’s photographic images.

This year’s Visa Pour l’Image showcases 26 exhibitions around the city. In a year renowned for violence against journalists, many are anticipating a retrospective of recently fallen Associated Press photographer Anja Neidringhaus’ work, as well as images from the late Chris Hondros tribute book ‘Testament.’ The exhibition ‘Amateurs make the front page’ promises some surprises on a variety of subjects.

Meetings, seminars and lectures fill the days, followed by nightly outdoor screenings. Each evening event begins with a news reel of the best work from the breaking news of the year and award presentations. Among the most anticipated is this year’s video presentation of the new book ‘Photographer’s Paradise: Turbulent America 1960-1990,’ by award winning veteran photojournalist Jean Pierre Laffont.

Visa Pour l’Image, directed by Jean-François Leroy, starts August 30 and continues through September 14.

Here’s a preview of the exhibitions.

(Photographs by Klaus Nigge / National Geographic Creative for National Geographic Magazine, Anja Neidringhaus/Associated Press, Philippe Lopez / Agence France-Presse, Olivier Laban-Mattei / The Mongolian Project / MYOP, Doan Công Tinh, Yunghi Kim / Contact Press Images, Guillaume Herbaut / Institute)

See more from the exhibitions and our other slideshows on Yahoo News!

A Guide to Visa pour l'Image and Perpignan - 2013 Edition

Image © Guillaume Roujas.

Professional Week at Visa pour l’Image can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time in Perpignan. So here’s a short guide to the city, the festival and everything else that happens in Perpignan from 02 to 09 September, when thousands of photojournalists will converge on the French city.

In the map below, you’ll find the location of all the exhibitions and official festival events, but also a few other useful addresses such as where to find free Wifi or a supermarket. This map will be updated in the coming days and weeks with details of some open-to-the-general-public parties and other events.

If you are an agency, a photographer or a third-party company and are holding an event you would like me to flag up on the map, let me know at olivierclaurent[at]gmail[dot]com.



How do I get from the airport to the city centre?

There are taxis at the airport, but they can be expensive if you’re alone. The best number to use to call one is: +33 4 68 35 15 15. But the city also runs a bus shuttle. It costs around €5 and will get you to the centre of town in around 20 minutes. Don’t miss it though, it won’t wait for you to finish your cigarette.

How do I get from the train station to the city centre?

You could grab a cab from the station to city centre, but with your luggage and other fees, you’ll end up paying a minimum of €15 for a five to 10 minute ride. Or you could just walk. The city centre is close to the station - 15 to 20 walking distance maximum.

I just arrived in Perpignan, what do I do now?

Go to Palais des Congrès to get your official accreditation. It will also be the opportunity to get information about talks and events, as well as a list of all the exhibitions and evening screenings. Accreditation costs €60.

What are these evening screenings that everyone’s talking about?

Each evening, from 9.45PM, the festival presents a series of photography screenings at Campo Santos (see map above). Each screening is made up of two parts – one part recounts what has happened around the world in the previous 12 months, while the second part is dedicated to individual projects and photographers. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the screenings can be watched from Place de la République, allowing you to have dinner at a reasonable pace while watching the show. However, this year, I would advice photographers to attend the Friday screening from Campo Santos (it’s the festival 25th anniversary, so there’s bound to be some surprises).

All I want to do is meet editors to show them my work. How do I do this?

There are two predominant spots where you can meet photo editors: on the second floor of the Palais des Congrès or on the 7th floor of that same building. The second floor is the official spot, where agencies will have stands as part of the festival’s media centre. This year, the following agencies have taken a stand:

  • Agence France-Presse
  • Agence VU
  • ANI - Association Nationale des Iconographes
  • Associated Press
  • Audiens
  • Central Dupon
  • Cosmos
  • EPA - european pressphoto agency
  • Gamma Rapho
  • Getty Images
  • Gtresonline
  • Haytham Pictures
  • Kyodo News
  • MYOP
  • Pixpalace
  • Polaris
  • Saif
  • Sipa Press
  • UPP (Union des Photographes Professionnels)

Some of these agencies will have a schedule of available times for free portfolio reviews. But, be there early to secure a space – for example, in Getty Images’ case, if you don’t show up as soon as the doors of the Palais des Congrès open (Tuesday to Saturday at 10am), you will have missed your chance: within minutes, all of the day’s spots will have been booked.

Your second option – the unofficial one – is the 7th floor of the Palais des Congrès, where photo editors for publications as prestigious as TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times and many other worldwide titles from Geo to National Geographic will get a table and look at photographers’ work (there is no assigned position, they will grab a table when they find one).

Most often, these editors have already booked meetings with photographers they know and want to see – my advice: email the editors you want to meet ahead of Visa pour l’Image –, but they will also allow, sometimes, for a queue to form up to see the work of other photographers.

The best advice I can give you is to know who these editors are. With a bit of research on Google or even Facebook you should be able find out who is who. And it’s not because you have an opportunity to meet with the TIME’s photo editors that you should actually show them your work – know whether you are ready to meet that person, if your work corresponds to what they usually publish, and ask yourself if you will be wasting their time or not. Sometimes, photo editors will appreciate being told: “I don’t think my work is good enough right now, but could I get your business card for the future?”

Also, and this is important, if you’ve been waiting in line for a hour to meet a photo editor and he or she decides to leave before you had a chance to show them your work, do not track them down or start arguing with them (I’ve seen it happen so many times!). Most likely, that editor has a good reason to leave, but more importantly, the last thing you want to do is annoy a potential future client. In a lot of cases, that editor will be back at the Palais des Congrès the following day.

What is this Café de la Poste that everyone is talking about?

Café de la Poste has become one of the festival’s emblematic meeting points (see map above). In the beginning, this is where photojournalists on show at Visa would gather for a drink in the evenings. And year after year, they were be joined by other photographers, young and old, until the wee hours of the morning. Since the Café is open 23 hours a day during professional week, you can expect to find photographers there even at 5AM, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday when the Café will be overtaken by more than 1500 of them. Seriously!

If you end up staying at La Poste until closing time, grab a bottle of wine, wait one hour until it opens up again, and you can finish your night with coffee and croissants.

Who’s in Perpignan during Professional Week?

Visa pour l’Image has a great page on its site with the names of everyone that has checked-in at the Palais des Congrès to get their accreditation. Here it is:  http://www.visapourlimage.com/professional/who_is_in_perpignan.do

What about the parties?

Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, National Geographic, Canon, Paris Match and many other organisations will be organising private parties during professional week. The keyword here is “private”. Unless you’ve been formerly invited or are someone’s +1, you will not be allowed in. But on Saturday, Visa pour l’Image organises the official closing party at the Couvent des Minimes from 11PM.

On the Sunday, there’s also the beach party, which takes place at Canet Plage (20-minute taxi ride from Perpignan). Entry costs €50 (dinner included) and you can expect to see the festival’s organisers and official staff, as well as some photo editors and photographers.

Image © Mazen Saggar

Talking about the beach, where is it?

The nearest beach is at Canet Plage. You can get bus number 6 from the Castillet or Palais des Congrès. Expect a bus every 25 minutes in both directions. Be careful, though, the last bus usually leaves Canet Plage at 9PM, so don’t fall asleep on the beach! On your way back, the bus will be packed. Just remember that unlike in the UK and in the US, in France people don’t queue, so you will have to push your way in an already-packed bus.

Are there other events worth checking out? (Contact me to add your event to this list)

  • Since last year, Reuters has set up its Digital Space on the first floor of the Palais des Congrès, where it will showcase “some of the best content from the first year of the Wider Image app, in an interactive, multimedia exhibition,” says Reuters, which will also present “a short film featuring Goran Tomasevic talking about his experience covering 20 years of conflict.”
  • Panos Pictures will present On Solid Ground, an exhibition (which isn’t part of the official programme) outside of the Palais des Congrès.
  • Photographer Christoph Bangert, who published the excellent Iraq - The Space Between, will be hosting a guerrilla screening on Wednesday 04 September from 9pm. ” A quick and dirty outdoor slide show event,” he explains. “The whole thing involves a Land Rover and a really old but powerful slide projector that is placed on its roof. Yes, I’m showing real slides! There will be no talk. No cheesy music. No drama. No awards. No straight men kissing on stage. No stage. No mediocre wire pictures of last years’ news events.” And he’s inviting photographers to bring their own slides to the event. Check this Facebook page for more details (only friends of invited guests can see it, though).
  • Visa pour l’Image runs a lot of official events, from talks with the photographers and symposiums on Digital Security and, this year, on the psychological effects of covering conflict (do NOT miss this one!) A full calendar is available on the Visa website here.

Don’t make this one visit your last one.

If it’s your first year at Visa pour l’Image, be prepared. It can be intimidating. You will find yourself among thousands of photographers who are, just like you, trying to make it in a very competitive market. You might not know who to talk to, where to hang out, what to do. But don’t give up. Come back the following year, and the one after that. It’s great fun!

Any other tips?

  • Do not carry two camera bodies around your neck. This is a festival where you’re trying to sell your work and meet people, not report on it. If you really want to have a camera with you at all times, a compact one will do, or even your iPhone. Also, you won’t run the risk of being mugged at 3am in the morning because you’re carrying $10,000 worth of kit around your neck (trust me, every single year I’ve attended Visa I’ve heard of a photographer being mugged).
  • If you are staying the entire week, remember this is the South of France: stores WILL be closed on Sundays. So if you’re planning a big feast on Sunday afternoon, visit the local supermarket on Saturday.
  • Alcohol. If you want to buy a bottle of wine or some beers at the local supermarket (see the map above) do so before 8PM. In Perpignan, it’s illegal for stores to sell alcohol between 8PM and 6AM. Of course, this rules doesn’t apply to restaurants and bars.
  • Find the time to see the exhibitions. Not only does it make sense, but it’s also a good way to find out what photographers like Pascal Maitre, Darcy Padilla or Jérôme Sessini look like – each exhibition carries a description of the work and a portrait of the photographer. It might come in handy when you’re at Café de la Poste.

Contact me at olivierclaurent[at]gmail[dot]com.

vimeo

It’s been more than two month now that Edouard Elias and his colleague Didier François have been abducted in Syria. A couple of weeks before, we made an interview with Edouard that was meant to be the first episode of a series about Haytham photographers. 

Since june though, this video represents a little bit more than that for Chewbahat, me and Laura. This is our contribution to a broader effort, a commitment to help Edouard - and of course Didier - to come back by raising awareness on the difficult conditions to be a war photographer. 

Continue to sign the petition at otagesensyrie.org

Thanks to Visa Pour l’Image-PerpignanJean Francois Leroy and Delphine Lelu for publishing this video too. 

3

Photojournalist Ian Parry was only 24 years old when he was killed while covering the Romanian Revolution in 1989 for The Sunday Times of London. Aidan Sullivan, then the Times’ Director of Photography, created the Ian Parry Scholarship, which assists young photographers, from a determination ‘to create something positive from this tragedy.’ 

Now, 25 years after Parry’s death, the winners of the scholarship are being shown in a special exhibition at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. See more photos by the winners and read about Parry’s legacy on New York Times Lens Blog. 

Above photos by: Jonas Bendiksen, Marcus Bleasdale, Farzana Hossen

Visa pour l'Image - A Beginner's Guide

Le Castillet © Mazen Saggar



It’s that time of the year again. Messages keep popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds with the same questions: “Who’s going to Perpignan this year?”, “Who has a place to stay?”, “Can I share a ride?”

Perpignan is, without doubt, a rugby stronghold. But, once a year, around the first week of September, it’s the home of photojournalism, when thousands of photographers and photo editors, as well as sponsors such as Canon, Getty Images and France 24, to cite just three, gather in the French city to celebrate (or critique) the best of photojournalism produced over the past 12 months.

It’s time for Visa pour l’Image.

Since 2012, I’ve published my Beginner’s Guide to this festival, the world’s largest and most popular festival dedicated to photojournalism and press photography. This year, I wondered whether a new edition of that guide was needed. That was until, a few weeks ago, I received an email from a young Syrian photographer, who had a terrible experience in Perpignan in 2013 but who was cheered up to read that, seven years ago, when I first attended the festival, my experience was just as bad. In previous editions of this guide, I explained that attending Visa could be an overwhelming experience, especially for a young photographer fresh out of university. But, I argued that if you stick to it and come back the following years, you’ll start to realise how beneficial this festival can be for your work and your career.

This email convinced me to produce this edition of my guide, which, for the first time this year, is also published in French on Our Age is Thirteen, an amazing photography online magazine that deserves everyone’s attention (I’m especially talking to you, PR and marketing people reading this)!

When and Where

Professional Week at Visa pour l’Image takes place from Monday, September 1 to Sunday, September 7, 2014, with the bulk of the activities happening from Thursday to Saturday (this is when most photo editors are in Perpignan). I’m usually there from the first Monday, in order to find the time to see all of the exhibitions before the rush.

In the map below, you’ll find the location of all the exhibitions and official festival events, but also a few other useful addresses such as where to find free Wifi or a supermarket. This map will be updated in the coming days with details of some open-to-the-general-public parties and other events.

If you are an agency, a photographer or a third-party company and are holding an event you would like me to flag up on the map, let me know at olivierclaurent[at]gmail[dot]com.

Getting to Perpignan

From Perpignan Airport to the city center

There are taxis at the airport, but they can be expensive if you’re alone. The best numbers to use to call one are: +33 4 68 35 15 15 and +33 4 68 83 83 83 (a word of advice, when you order a taxi, it will come from Perpignan’s city center, so you’ll have to wait 20 minutes - so call as soon as your plane lands).

The city also runs a bus shuttle that departs around 30 minutes after your plane has landed (Perpignan Airport is very small, so it won’t take more than 15 minutes to clear customs). The shuttle costs around €5 and will get you to the centre of town in 20 minutes. Don’t miss it though, the bus driver won’t wait for you to finish your cigarette.

From Perpignan’s train station to the city center

You could grab a cab from the station to city centre, but with your luggage and other fees, you’ll end up paying a minimum of €15 for a five to 10 minute ride. Or you could just walk. The city centre is close to the station — 15 to 20 walking distance maximum.

Checking In

Once you’ve made it into your hotel or rented flat (a lot of apartment owners will take the first week of September off to earn some cash by renting their flats to photojournalists), your first stop should be the city’s Palais des Congrès (see map above) where you’ll get your official accreditation, which costs €60.

I hear a lot of people complain about that price tag, but if you’re starting in photojournalism and want to meet some international photo editors, it’s worth the price (more on this later).

The Palais des Congrès is also where the large majority of talks, workshops and portfolio reviews take place - and a couple of rooms offer free Wi-Fi.

The Screenings

Each evening, from 9.45PM, the festival presents a series of photography screenings at Campo Santos (see map above). Each screening is made up of two parts – one part recounts what has happened around the world in the previous 12 months (with a thrilling, but repetitive music score), while the second part is dedicated to individual projects and photographers.

Do not be late, as once the show starts, the doors will be closed. Also, there are two lines to get in Campo Santos - one for badge holders and another one for the locals/non-badge holders. Both lines will be long, especially if you show up at 9.45PM.

The screenings last until 11PM - 11.30PM most nights. One piece of advice, if you know you’re going to have to leave earlier, find a seat on the left-end side of the theatre so you’re close to the left exit. If you’re on the right-end side, know that when you stand up to leave, you’ll be walking past most the photographers whose work is being shown, as well as the festival’s director and staff, as well as city officials.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the screenings can also be watched from Place de la République, allowing you to have dinner at a reasonable pace while watching the show. Best to book your table ahead of time!

Screenings © Mazen Saggar

Meetings with photo editors

For many photojournalists, Visa is the opportunity to meet with some of the world’s top photo editors. Each year, representatives of The New York Times, TIME, National Geographic, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, Washington Post, etc. come to the festival. And while most of them will have set up appointments with photographers they work with or are looking to hire for future shoots, some generous souls will spend some of their time looking at people’s work.

There are two predominant spots where you can meet these photo editors: on the second floor of the Palais des Congrès or on the 7th floor of that same building. The second floor is the official spot, where agencies will have stands as part of the festival’s media centre. This year, the following agencies have taken a stand:

  • AFP - Agence France-Presse
  • Agence VU’
  • Anadolu Agency
  • Associated Press
  • Audiens
  • Central Dupon
  • Cosmos
  • Days Japan
  • EPA - european pressphoto agency
  • Getty Images
  • Gtresonline
  • Kyodo News
  • PixPalace - PixTrakk
  • Polaris
  • Saif
  • “La culture avec la copie privée”
  • Sipa Press
  • UPP (Union des Photographes Professionnels)

(Yes, you’ve read that list correctly, some of the best-known photo agencies and collectives are not officially represented at the festival - go figure!)

Those that are there will have a schedule of available times for free portfolio reviews. But, show up early to secure a space – for example, in Getty Images’ case, if you don’t show up as soon as the doors of the Palais des Congrès open (Tuesday to Saturday at 10am), you will have missed your chance: within minutes, all of the day’s spots will have been booked - and you can’t book an appointment for the next day - you just have to get up early!

The Association Nationale des Iconographes (a fancy French word for Photo Editor) also hosts portfolio reviews on the second floor from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm, Monday, September 1 to Saturday, September 6.

Your second option – the unofficial one – is the 7th floor of the Palais des Congrès, where some photo editors will seat down at a table and look at photographers’ work (there is no assigned position, they will grab a table when they find one).

As I said, most often, these editors have already booked meetings with photographers they know and want to see – so my advice: email the editors you want to meet ahead of Visa pour l’Image. Yet, by coming to the 7th floor of the Palais, these photo editors know what they’re doing. They know that if they sit down at a table, a queue of photographers will form. This is how it works.

The best advice I can give you is to know who these editors are. With a bit of research on Google or even Facebook you should be able find out who is who. Ask the people in line as well - some petulent photographers will want to keep that knowledge to themselves, but trust me, photo editors can tell who they are!

A few words of advice, though. If you’ve been waiting in line for a hour to meet a photo editor and he or she decides to leave before you had a chance to show them your work, do not track them down or start arguing with them (I’ve seen it happen so many times!). Most likely, that editor has a good reason to leave, but more importantly, the last thing you want to do is annoy a potential future client. In a lot of cases, that editor will be back at the Palais des Congrès the following day.

Also it’s not because you have an opportunity to meet with The New York Times’ photo editors that you should actually show them your work – know whether you are ready to meet that person, if your work corresponds to what they usually publish, and ask yourself if you will be wasting their time or not. Sometimes, photo editors will appreciate being told: “I don’t think my work is good enough right now, but could I get your business card for next year?”

On the ground floor of the Palais des Congrès, Canon will also, at times, organize some portfolio reviews and other events. Check with their staff for more information.

The Famous Café de la Poste

Le Grand Café de la Poste has become one of the festival’s emblematic meeting points (see map above). In the beginning, this is where photojournalists on show at Visa would gather for a drink after the evening screenings. And year after year, they were be joined by other photographers, young and old, until the wee hours of the morning.

Since the Café is open 23 hours a day during professional week, you can expect to find photographers there even at 5AM, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday when the Café will be overtaken by more than 1500 of them. It’s overwhelming the first time you see it!

If you end up staying at La Poste until closing time, grab a bottle of wine, wait one hour until it opens up again, and you can finish your night or start your day with coffee and croissants.

This year, le Café de la Poste has been renovated. It has new fancy furniture, an improved bar, and a new menu (with new inflated prices!) but, be reassured, the funny and grumpy waiters are still there!

Who will I meet?

Visa pour l’Image has a great page on its site with the names of everyone that has checked-in at the Palais des Congrès to get their accreditations. It’s precious information, especially if you want to know which magazines and newspapers have sent photo editors.

Here it is: http://www.visapourlimage.com/professional/who_is_in_perpignan.do

Parties

Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, National Geographic, Canon, Paris Match, etc. will be organising private parties during professional week. The keyword here is “private”. Unless you’ve been formerly invited or are someone’s +1, you will not be allowed in. Sorry.

But on Saturday, Visa pour l’Image organises the official closing party at the Couvent des Minimes from 11PM. It’s fun and will be your opportunity to dance with some of the world’s top photo editors (nothing better to break the ice the next time you meet them).

On the Sunday, there’s also the beach party, which takes place at Canet Plage (20-minute taxi ride from Perpignan). Entry costs €50 (dinner included) and you can expect to see the festival’s organisers and official staff, as well as some top photo editors and photographers.

The Beach

Perpignan is not a coastal town, but it’s just a few miles away from the nearest beach, which is Canet Plage. If you’ve rented a car, just follow the signs for Canet.

But, you can get bus number 6 from the Castillet (see map above) or the Palais des Congrès. Expect a bus every 25 minutes in both directions. Be careful, though, the last bus usually leaves Canet Plage at 9PM, so don’t fall asleep on the beach! On your way back, the bus will be packed. Just remember that unlike in the UK and in the US, in France people don’t queue, so you will have to push your way in an already-packed bus.

Exhibitions © Mazen Saggar

Events

Visa pour l’Image runs a lot of official events, from talks with the photographers and symposiums. You can find the full list on the official website here: http://www.visapourlimage.com/festival/meetings/calendar.do

If your organization or collective is running a special event, and you’d like to be featured here, do contact me at olivierclaurent[at]gmail[dot]com.

Useful tips

  • Do not carry two camera bodies around your neck. This is a festival where you’re trying to sell your work and meet people, not report on it. If you really want to have a camera with you at all times, a compact one will do, or even your iPhone. Also, you won’t run the risk of being mugged at 3am in the morning because you’re carrying $10,000 worth of kit around your neck (trust me, every single year I’ve attended Visa I’ve heard of a photographer being mugged).
  • If you are staying the entire week, remember this is the South of France: stores WILL be closed on Sundays. So if you’re planning a big feast on Sunday afternoon, visit the local supermarket on Saturday.
  • Alcohol. If you want to buy a bottle of wine or some beers at the local supermarket (see the map above) do so before 8PM. In Perpignan, it’s illegal for stores to sell alcohol between 8PM and 6AM. Of course, this rules doesn’t apply to restaurants and bars.
  • Find the time to see the exhibitions. Not only does it make sense, but it’s also a good way to find out what photographers such as Pierre Terdjman, Guillaume Herbault, Alvaro Ybarra Zavala or Sebastian Liste look like – each exhibition carries a description of the work and a portrait of the photographer. It might come in handy when you’re at Café de la Poste.

Don’t make this one visit your last one

If it’s your first year at Visa pour l’Image, be prepared. It can be intimidating. You will find yourself among thousands of photographers who are, just like you, trying to make it in a very competitive market. You might not know who to talk to, where to hang out, what to do. But don’t give up. Come back the following year, and the one after that. It’s great fun!

4

When the Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire photo staff in June, it revived what has become an all-too frequent argument in the media: Do we really need photojournalists?

For some, the iPhone era has ushered in the notion that everybody is a photographer — and sometimes it feels true. Some of the first images of major news events such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the uprising in Egypt came via photos posted on Twitter and other social media sites, where hundreds of pictures are posted every second.

But Jean-François Leroy is on a mission to remind the world that the most enduring news images still come from photojournalists, people who know that documenting the stories the public needs to see often involves more than simply clicking a shutter.

“If you are a photographer, you rarely make a picture by accident. You are working, you are making inquiries, you worked to find your subjects, you worked to get into the position where you could make that picture, you are trying to tell a story,” Leroy said. “You are a journalist, someone people can trust. The world needs that. I need that.”

I talked to Jean-Francois Leroy about the state of photojournalism and previewed the upcoming Visa pour l-Image photo festival which starts next week in France. The story includes a pretty extensive slideshow of some of this year’s exhibiting photographers, and we’ll be updating with more images throughout the festival (via Yahoo News)

Brent Stirton’s Most Meaningful Photo

For 25 years, the international photojournalism festival Visa Pour L’Image has been bringing together people who care deeply about the craft and its responsibility to give voice to the vulnerable and help the world see itself. In honor of this, our Reportage by Getty Images photojournalists took some time to talk about which of their images has had the most significant impact on them over their long and storied careers.

Brent Stirton: Silverback Gorilla, 2007

1. Which of your images has had the most significant impact on you? Either due to the story behind how you got the shot, or the impact the story behind the photo had on you.

I’d have to say the image of the dead silverback gorilla being carried in Congo, because it got a huge reaction that I totally wasn’t expecting. It also transformed my thinking about photojournalism and the environment and that is now the space I work in most often.

2.  Tell us a bit about why the image had an impact on you. Was it the subject in the shot or the overall story behind the image?

The reason the image affected me so much is because it was a genuine cross-over photograph that talked about both conflict and the environment in one frame. It made me realize how connected those things are and my focus has been on that connection ever since.

3. What lengths did you have to go to get the shot?

At the time of these images I was in DR Congo to photograph fighting between a special forces group of conservation rangers and FDLR, the Interhamwe Hutu fundamentalist group behind the Rwandan genocide who fled into Virunga in 1994 to escape reprisals. They have lived there ever since, exploiting the National Park and destabilizing the region. There were also 11 different paramilitary groups, as well as a corrupt Congolese Army and a rebel Army offshoot called CNDP. The killing of these gorillas occurred in the middle of all that. As a result it was a little tense moving through the forest with all these groups in conflict. After I shot these images, myself and Scott Johnson, the journalist from Newsweek, had to flee over the Rwandan border to escape the Congolese Army. They had heard that Journalists had photographed the dead gorillas and because of their involvement with the perpetrators they wanted to keep the story from leaving Congo. When the story came out I waited three months before I could go back and then I lived with CNDP for a while as they were occupying the mountain gorilla sector. That was the only way to follow up in the story and the safety of these very rare primates.

See more of Brent’s work on the gorillas of Virunga National Park on the Reportage Web site.

Brent Stirton is a South African photographer based in New York. He frequently shoots for clients such as National Geographic, Human Rights Watch, the World Wildlife Fund and more. Read more about him here.

RIP Rémy Ochlik
Le 4x4 se rapproche inexorablement d’un barrage. On prie pour que les Chimères qui s’y trouvent sachent lire afin qu’ils puissent voir “international press” sur le véhicule. (…) La bouche déjà pâteuse, on allume une cigarette qui n’a plus de goût, qui brûle la gorge. Les portières s’ouvrent, on est sorti de la voiture, une arme automatique sur la tempe. On pense à sa famille, au jour de son enterrement et à un tas de choses hors contexte. Le pire, ce sont leurs yeux : rouges, vitreux, sans vie. Complètement shootés au crack, ils sont capables de tout, surtout du pire. Ils hurlent des ordres en créole qu’on ne comprend pas. On est fouillé sans ménagement, toujours le canon de l’arme sur la tempe. Ils cherchent des armes. L’un d’entre eux nous fait signe de remonter dans la voiture, les autres ne sont pas d’accord. Ils crient, se battent entre eux à coups de bâton. On n’en mène pas large. On a vingt ans et pas vraiment envie de mourir. On donnerait tout pour être loin, très loin, ne jamais être venu. Témoigner ? La belle affaire ! Pour qui ? Pour quoi ? Tout le monde s’en fout de cette île pourrie. Ils peuvent bien s’entretuer, le monde n’en a cure. Et nous, on est dans la merde. Il suffirait d’un rien pour un coup parte, que l’on se retrouve à terre. Puis, il y a cette détonation, les tympans semblent avoir explosés, on n’entend plus rien. Une distance se crée entre le cerveau, la pensée et l’extérieur, on est comme dans une bulle. On voit leur bouches s’ouvrir sans aucun son n’en sorte. L’imbécile qui vient de tirer semble content de lui. Ils ont fini par se mettre d’accord, on peut partir. (…) On est livide, médusé. Mais on est passé. L’adrénaline redescend, les nerfs se relâchent. On éclate de rire, un fou rire étrange et déplacé, mais incontrôlable. Le coeur commence à retrouver un rythme plus régulier quand au loin, on aperçoit un autre barrage… Ce soir-là, en revenant du nord du pays, sur la route St Marc / Port-Au-Prince, on a croisé six barrages semblables à celui-ci. Plus de trois heures pour parcourir cinq malheureux kilomètres. (…) On pense à cette étrange dualité que crée la guerre. On vient de vivre des instants terribles, pendant lesquels on aurait vendu les êtres les plus chers pour être loin de cette merde, et pourtant nous voilà, à peine sorti d’affaire, avec une seule envie, une seule idée fixe : y retourner, encore et encore, sentir cette peur à nouveau, cette montée d’adrénaline si puissante. La guerre est pire qu’une drogue, sur l’instant c’est le bad-trip, le cauchemar. Mais l’instant d’après, une fois le danger passé, on meurt d’envie d’y retourner prendre des photos en risquant sa vie pour pas grand chose. Il y a une sorte de force incompréhensible qui nous pousse à toujours y revenir…
— 

Témoignage écrit par Rémi Ochlik après un reportage à Haïti en février 2004 alors qu’il est encore étudiant à l’école Icart-Photo. Sa série pour l’agence Wostok lui vaut d’être remarqué par Jean-François Leroy qui l’invite à Visa pour l’image 2004.

Né en 1983, Rémy Ochlik a été tué ce mercredi 22 février 2012, lors du pilonnage d’un quartier d’Homs, en Syrie. Photojournaliste de guerre, Rémy Ochlik avait couvert de nombreux conflits dont ceux du Printemps arabe en Tunisie, en Egypte, en Lybie.

Le site de Rémy Ochlik : http://www.ochlik.com/

“As a director of photography, if you can convince the photographers you work with that you are 100 percent behind them in everything, they will give you 100 percent. I’ve always stuck up for my photographers – whether it was at the Sunday Times or Getty Images. You have to have that relationship with them because they are really vulnerable. They are only as good as their next picture. They are constantly soul-searching. They need support. They need someone to trust. That’s what I’ve always based my career on, and that’s why I have such a strong relationship with the photographers I’ve worked with. It’s my job to encourage, support and inspire them. I’ve been a photographer and I know how lonely a place that can be. I’ve been in difficult situations and know how scary that can be. For this profession to continue, we need to give as much support to the guys out there as we possibly can.”

- Getty Images VP Aidan Sullivan in an interview with The British Journal of Photography. Read more on the BJP’s Web site

Credit: Aidan Sullivan, center, on one of his last photography assignments in Afghanistan before joining the Mail on Sunday as a picture editor. (© Aidan Sullivan)

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Justin Jin

Exhibits work at Visa pour L’Image

This year at the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, Justin Jin, 2011 EF photographer, exhibited, “Zone of Absolute Discomfort” on the advance and retreat in Russia’s Arctic at Perpignan. 

Look out for 2010 EF photographer Krisanne Johnson, exhibiting “I Love You Real Fast,” on the coming of age for Swazi girls at Visa Pour Li’mage’s exhibition.