Sure, the exhibitions were great, and from the very first day there was a kind of infectious joy. The whole city seemed to be living and breathing photography. Everyone wanted this first edition led by Sam Stourdzé to be a success, and it was. Lots of great exhibitions—Paolo Woods, Sandro Miller, Fellini, Stephen Shore, Walker Evans, Vernaculaire, Thierry Bouët, Oser la Photographie, MEP Collection, Total Record, Venturi, Ambroise Tézenas, Martin Gusinde, Majoli & Pellegrin—an exciting “Off” festival, galleries on every street corner, fifteen private opening parties every evening, a “Night of the Year” which began at the Roquette and ended in the Etienne paper mills, which might becomes the new home of the Rencontres.
But the evening programs were terrible, from the first (Martin Parr) to the last (Curtis). They were all terrible with the possible exception of Jacques Attali’s but that had nothing to do with photography. They were long, boring and filled with endless speeches and awards that could only be interesting to sponsors, the photographers and their families. The festival seems to have forgotten the extravagance of the projections of past years. Arles has always been more about the projections than the exhibitions, from the Archevêché to the Théâtre Antique, with Eugene Smith, Magnum, Mapplethorpe and Romeo Martinez…
The last evening was the worst of all, a total joke, with a surprise announce of sponsoring from YellowKorner, the slave driver of the photo world. Its name was booed by half the theatre.
For heaven’s sake, next year, make it shorter!
When we were bored, we went to dinner at Le Galoubet, a wonderful little restaurant where the dishes and wine served by Celine, Franck and their team are really orgasmic.
Enjoy your holidays!