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Arles 2012, A Failed Festival

Arles 2012 is dead. Long live Arles 2013. Whatever happens then, it couldn’t possibly be worse than this. Let’s not be hypocritical or too well behaved. Let’s say out loud what everyone else has been saying under their breath. This year’s festival was a failure. Torn by internal dissent, the departure of certain festival officials, the dashed ambitions and broken dreams: it was a revealing failure. The festival was closed off to the new developments in photography, new technology, new names and faces. Film is gone. We have to stop clinging to it like some grail with the power to grant new life. How does parchment paper compare to the printing press? The former might precious and sublime, but it’s obsolete. Photography has changed. There were more pictures taken in the past five years than in the first 170 years. New technologies are thriving, but at Arles they were nowhere to be seen.

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