Bonjour from Visa pour l’Image, the international photojournalism festival held annually in Perpignan, France.
As I write this post, I am surrounded by people of every nationality, speaking every language under the sun — and it is quite inspiring to see so many people come together to share their love of photojournalism.
Getty Images has a strong presence at this year’s festival, with daily portfolio reviews, exhibitions of our photojournalists’ work, the announcement of our editorial grant recipients and several of our Reportage photojournalists being nominated for prestigious industry awards.
Reportage by Getty Images photojournalist Alvaro Ybarra Zavala is exhibiting his Colombia- in Eternal Sorrow project, which showcases the current civil war situation in Colombia – a nation which has been fraught with civil war for the past five decades. His stunning work has been nominated for the prestigious Visa d’Or award in the features category, and the interest around this is huge.
Just yesterday I had a spare few moments and was able to visit his exhibition and despite the quiet time of day, there were so many people enthralled in the work that the crowd was five people deep. The work is exhibited in a beautiful old chapel, alongside Reportage by Getty Images’ photojournalist Ed Ou, whose work on child soldiers in Somalia has seen him receive the Young Reporter of Perpignan award.
It’s an incredibly exciting place to be and the work we have seen so far has been breathtaking. Just yesterday as I was lucky enough to attend a seminar by French film maker, Pierre Deschamps, who has recently filmed a documentary on the All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team. Being a Kiwi and so far from home, not to mention that we are on the verge of the Rugby World Cup, the film sent shivers down my spine and I think provides the perfect demonstration of the wide variety of amazing content and wide array of talent here in Perpignan.
Another highlight of the week will be the announcement of the 2011 Grants for Editorial Photography recipients. With Visa Pour L’Image being the most highly regarded photojournalism festival in the world, synonymous with high-calibre and inspiring photojournalism, it is the perfect place to present our editorial grants. To date Getty Images has gifted over $700,000 to photojournalists around the world through the grants programme, demonstrating their commitment to promoting excellence in photojournalism through tangible, positive contributions to the industry.
While we can’t reveal just yet who the recipients of this year’s grants are, we can say that the photojournalism community will not be disappointed. The variety of recipients’ work is wide and the quality is outstanding – these are images that stay with you.
When a colleague of mine asked Tom Stoddart, one of the judges of this year’s Grants for Editorial Photography, what he thought about judging, he told them: “After spending hours looking at submissions from talented, committed, passionate photographers, I came away with an answer to the age old question – is photojournalism dead? NO – it’s alive and kicking!”
You only need to spend just a few minutes wandering around this year’s festival to see that this thought is very much echoed all around.