Photo Festival 2009
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Les Rencontres d’Arles festival of photography, and we’re delighted to feature 94 preview images from the official festival selection. As always, it's an eclectic mix.
For four decades, this festival has helped to define the best and brightest in photography — and it has generated quite a bit of controversy along the way, often featuring the work of iconoclasts, renegades, and troublemakers, some of whom are regarded as superstars today.
So, there is a good deal of heightened anticipation about what we will discover from this year's guest curator, New York photo legend Nan Goldin. Let's hope it's edgy and controversial, really fresh and new — and surprisingly good.
This year we're particularly eager to see the work of these photographers, whom Goldin has invited along as guests:
We're excited as always about the New Discoveries competition, which offers the most cutting-edge work in the festival. And of course the chance to review 400+ photobooks from the past 12 months at the Prix du Livre competition is an annual delight.
No matter what, the charm of spending a summer week in the small village of Arles in the south of France is almost enough of a treat in itself. The charged atmosphere that comes from having thousands of passionate photography-lovers crowding every café and street corner, the joy of exchanging gossip and conversation with old friends and new, and the thrill of casually bumping into art world celebrities — these things alone are why many Arles fans return year after year.
In 2008 we heard mutterings that, despite a record attendance encouraged by the presence of fashion superstar and guest curator Christian Lacroix, the festival seemed to lack relevance for its audience of serious photography lovers. Here's hoping 2009 marks a return to the revolutionary spirit!
Our high-resolution preview has a great variety of cool stuff right now, but be sure to check back next month for our report about our own personal discoveries from the front lines. In the meantime — enjoy!
— Zoë Fargher and Jim Casper