Special Issue #6
Arles, 50 years of meetings
Fifty years of marriage between photography, Arles and the rest of the world, it deserves an exceptional anniversary. At 50 years, the wedding is golden, which may seem a bit trite or understood. But what has been happening in Arles for the last fifty years has nothing banal or understood. Who would have imagined that a city marked by post-industrial turmoil, invaded by mosquitoes and far from the usual circuits of glamorous Provence, would become the world capital of photography? It is now an obvious fact, which has been forged in the shadow of the Forum square, summer after summer, rosé after rosé, to become today an unmissable event that attracts photographers, scenographers, editors, collectors, curators and all those curious about an evolving image. Arles has consecrated photography as an art, and even more than the medium, the Rencontres have distinguished the men and women who have given it life. It is through the prism of the human being that we have chosen to tell the story of fifty years of upheaval, risk-taking and passionate debate. The Meetings, through the eyes of the actors who have shaped them, lived them. Like archaeologists, we went in search of images, testimonies and the hidden meaning of a history in motion. This special issue will obviously be useful this summer to deepen your reading of this 50th edition of the Rencontres, but it is also a momentum that will still have all its value in a few years. It seemed logical to us to produce a paper magazine on the occasion of this anniversary, because Arles has dedicated itself to photography on paper through prints and books. Of course, new forms of images are appearing at the heart of the Rencontres, such as the highly acclaimed VR Arles festival, dedicated to immersive projects, but paper has a special place in Arles. This special issue also questions the particular and intimate relationship we have with the Rencontres. Fisheye finds its genesis there and has decided to embrace this destiny a little more by setting up a permanent gallery there. The Rencontres, as Sam Stourdzé, director of the event, says, are “a common good that must be taken care of”. It is also a fertile ground that has allowed the emergence of the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, the Luma Foundation, the Voies Off, soon the Lee Ufan Foundation, and many other things. This resource must be preserved for the future.