Photography was “invented” by French scientist Nicéphore Niepce in 1824. Then in 1838 Louis Daguerre exposed Niepce’s techniques with the help of the French government to the public. The Rencontres d'Arles is an annual summer photography festival founded in 1970 by the photographer Lucien Clergue, the writer Michel Tournier and the historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette. It makes sense that the main photography festival (and also photo fair) are held in France, but somehow when I visited Arles I felt that the time there was not 2016 (even tho there were a few VR projects).
Among my favourite exhibitions in the festival where always the one organized by the Luma Foundation, with a group show called “Systematically Open? New Forms for Contemporary Image Production” where 4 artists (Walead Beshty, Elad Lassry,
Zanele Muholi, and Collier Schorr) curated 4 different shows always within the idea of exploring new structures for the presentation of the photographic image. In this show I would highlight the work of Elad Lassry, who presented a series of photographs depicting dental procedures and extreme close-up images of teeth and gums framed in a shiny metal frame that you could see from any other part of the show, being always present and a mix of disgusting and fascinating at the same time.
To finish I would like to highlight the photobook market called “Cosmos”, that occurs during the first week of the festival and that not only gathers many of the best publishers and names within the photobook industry such as Mack Books, FW: Books or Dalpine but also has a program of different talks about photography today with names like Erik Kessels or Joan Fontcuberta. In this space it is also possible to find a show by Italian artist Piero Martinello, where he was showcasing his project “Radicalia”, a project that collects women
and men who, each in their own way and for different reasons, have embraced unconventional life paths.
You can visit Arles Photo Festival till 25 September. Click here for the website.