Every year in the first week of September, the international photo festival ‘Visa pour l’Image’ takes place in Perpignan. Various historical sites throughout the city provide the perfect background for the impressive exhibitions. News photos of the most important events from the past year taken all over the world show that photojournalism is still alive.
Both professionals and photo enthusiasts find their way to Visa pour l’Image every year. The editorial director of Paris Match Roger Thérond created the festival in 1989. Since then, it has become one of the most important photojournalism festivals in the world, currently led by Jean-François Leroy. The 2020 edition has 20 exhibitions scattered around Perpignan in some emblematic venues. Every year, the Convent des Minimes and the Église des Dominicains serve as a humble background for the impressive photos.
My tip is to try to arrive early and to avoid going on the weekend. This way you can take your time to absorb all the different visual stories. Although the 2020 edition is different than the other years, the pictures still speak for themselves. With moving images from the latest news we are currently living, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid 19 pandemic. Festivals like Visa pour l’Image are so important to tell the true story, but also to support the difficult job of being a photojournalist.
However, Visa pour l’Image is more than just a photo festival. It also is a wake-up call for human rights, global and local conflicts, political misbehaviour and ignorance, and has partners and sponsors that are ethically and morally committed. You will find big stories that have made the news next to small stories that need to be told. Besides the free to the public exhibitions, you can also attend screenings, meetings with the photographers, conferences and so on. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, most of these events are only available online this year. Nonetheless, like every year, the best stories will receive an award at Visa pour l’Image.