PHOTOS DE PROVENCE
"A French school of photography most certainly exists. It is multifarious, dense, gay, erudite, and, though sometimes too self-effacing, extraordinarily full of talent."
As if summertime in Provence needed any more attractions, it's time again for the Recontres d'Arles, one of the world's most influential festivals of photography. July 2 ushered in the 43rd edition of the fest, which runs until September 23. This year is devoted primarily to Recontres' sister school, the École de la Photographie, which opened in Arles in 1982 as the only French educational institution exclusively dedicated to the artform. (It largely owes its existence to a culture fund created by François Mitterrand and Jack Lang when the Socialists came to power in 1981.)
The festival comprises workshops, lectures, discussions, concerts (Patti Smith and Lou Reed are prior headliners) and of course exhibitions, taking place in various locations throughout the town from ancient churches to former factories to more traditional art venues. Last year's Recontres drew some 84,000 visitors, and this year's edition should be even better attended.
We chased down some stills from the exhibitions - a teaser for those of you lucky enough to be attending, and a little compensatory eye candy for the rest of us.