Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016

Les Rencontres d’Arles begins with a flurry of exhibition previews, events, talks and workshops, celebrating the opening of its 47th edition across the Southern French city. Held throughout the long summer months, this year’s international photography festival examines a range of prominent themes visible in contemporary practices today. The history of street photography is explored through showcases of work by Eamonn Doyle, Sid Grossman and Christian Marclay, alongside a contemplative take on battlefields in accompanying section, After the War, which features pieces by Yan Morvan about theatres of war and images by renowned conflict zone photographer Don McCullin. A spotlight is shone on projects from Africa, Mali and Nigeria in Africa Pop, while Western Stories welcomes Joë Hamman and Jean Durand’s footage of the expansive Camargue, alongside aspects of the American West in Bernard Plossu’s striking imagery.

Dedicated to the late writer Michel Tournier, one of the founders of the Rencontres d’Arles, who passed away earlier this year, the 47th edition pays homage to the energy and purpose of Les Rencontres as it was envisaged back in 1970. As it approaches its 50th anniversary, the festival pays close attention to its founders’ roles in campaigning for the opening of the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles in the 1960s, and continues the promote their intention to offer photography amateurs and professionals situations that are both visually and mentally stimulating.

Hosting a total of 40 exhibitions across the city of Arles, the event provides a space for audiences to explore and engage with contemporary evolutions in the field of photography. In addition to the presentations mentioned above, Les Rencontres showcases new talent in its annual Discovery Award, which has been supported by the LUMA Foundation since 2002. Each year, five jury members select a group of emerging photographers or artists to be considered for the €25,000 award. The 2016 line-up sees Florian Ebner, Head of the Photographic Collection at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, nominate Frank Berger and Stephanie Kiwitt, while Aida Muluneh, Founder of Addis Foto Fest, Addis Ababa, draws attention to Nader Adem and Sarah Waiswa.

Opening week, which runs until Saturday 9 July, stages a wealth of cultural events to launch the 2016 programme. Highlights include Night of the Year, where visitors can discover 30 projects by artists and photographers projected on a dozen screens on Thursday 7 July; a talk by French photographer Valérie Belin, winner of Disorder, the sixth cycle of the Prix Pictet, on Friday 8 July; and a poetry reading from The Hollow of the Hand, a book collaboration from artist PJ Harvey and photojournalist Seamus Murphy on Saturday 9 July. The duo’s work also forms part of I Am Writing to You from a Far Off Country; a section that promotes photographic correspondence with a specific part of the world.

Les Rencontres d’Arles, Opening Week until 9 July, Exhibitions until 25 September, venues across Arles, France.

For more, visit www.rencontres-arles.com.

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1. Eamonn Doyle. Untitled, from the ON series, 2014. Courtesy of The Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.