Return to Arles

by John G. Morris
August 2006

Arles is the mother of all photography festivals. It was founded 37 years ago by photographer Lucien Clergue and two other Arlesiens. Lucien was recently elected to the Academy of Fine Arts at the Institut de France, the first photographer to be so honored.

In 1980 I went to Arles to project the work and the words of W. Eugene Smith. You could have heard a pin drop in the great old Roman amphitheater. After we moved to Paris in 1983, my wife Tana and I went to Arles almost every year, the last time in 2002 when the great Czech photographer Josef Koudelka took over the town. Thereafter, it seemed, Arles to me was overshadowed by the photojournalism festival at Perpignan called Visa Pour l’Image.

ARLES, FRANCE: First-day audiences at the 2006 Recontres d’Arles festival of photography look at the exhibition of photographs taken in North Korea by Phillipe Chancel.Dirck Halstead

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