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Arles 2012: Alain Desvergnes


“Imagine if we could hold a seminar with a discussion between Rousseau and Voltaire. We would have had these two men telling the stories of their lives. We have the fortune today to have the greatest photographers in the world. Even if many of them are disappearing now, they all came to Arles.”

That’s how Alain Desvergnes responded in 1980 on the French television station TF1 to Bernard Golay, incredulous about the festival’s interest for the general public. He added: “A remark, a smile, a brief word on the Place du Forum can mean more to a young photographer or photography lover than many other things. There is a certain type of light that radiates from conversation.”

In the homage paid to Alain Desvergnes by Patrick de Carolis, president of the board of the ENSP, and Rémy Fenzy, director of the ENSP, we come to understand the difficulties of that era. Desvergnes was “called from Canada” to “bring to life a center for visual studies… At the time, the temerity of each proved decisive in the development of an audacious project, today recognized on an international level.”

You can read the full version of this article by Wilfrid Estève on the French version of La Lettre.


Archives of the Eye of Photographie – Wilfrid Estève, 2012

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