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Planches Contact 2023 – Laura Serani’s Words


For this 14th festival, 25 renowned and emerging international photographers will be showing their work in an open-air exhibition all over the town, outdoor on the beach and, indoors at Point de Vue and at Les Franciscaines. 

“The goal of Planches Contact is to support creativity through a programme of residences based in Deauville. This is the starting point for exploring the region’s identity, as well as personal research and questions raised by the photographers about theenvironment, with Normandy as a background and field of investigation, from Dieppe to Mont-Saint-Michel, from the coast to the countryside. Once again this year, the guest artists have been encouraged to seek out new ways of seeing and depicting reality.

Photography comes to Deauville in winter, on the beach, the pier, the peninsula, the baths, the town centre, as well as to Les Franciscaines and Point de Vue, with artistic projects redesigning the public space and changing our perception of it.

The bonds between friends and loyal partners, both public and private, together with new participants, will enable the festival to go and see further. We thank them for their help, which goes well beyond financial support.


A festival-laboratory

A series of residences involving some 20 artists take place from February to June. This approach fosters a unique experience of interactions between photographers from a wide range of origins and backgrounds, with support from the festival team throughout their projects. This modus operandi / vivendi is quite unusual for photographers. It leads to permanent confrontationand dialogue, contributing to a “laboratory” spirit, where research is never-ending, from the project conception to the final presentation.

Planches Contact is a real cultural workshop. It continues to broaden its horizons by encouraging hybrid forms, interaction between disciplines, developing partnerships and opening up to other festivals with the same approach.

The spirit of research is expressed even more clearly this year with artists representing a new scene, overturning codes and conventions and, by taking into account local resources and environmental questions, making use of construction or recycled materials and new media to develop their projects. The choice of media and staging plays a specific role in the realisation of their works.


A new romanticism

The state of the planet has provoked a new awareness of nature and, among the artists, a particular trend to observe and rediscover the landscape. Far removed from journalism and empathic depictions of distant lands, a process is now under way of re-evaluating beauty in its simple expression, in everyday life.

Working in — and on — Normandy, in a residence on the shores of the English Channel, definitely speeds up this process. It is a permanent reminder of the beauty, fragility and powers of nature, brought to light in the guest artists’ approach with a desire to protect it. But a shadow hangs over the enchanting  landscapes and sometimes darkens the artists’ reflections. But our viewpoint cannot be indifferent and, faced with this northerly light, with the movements of sky and tides, the sense of wonder is permanent.

We would like to thank all the artists who, by accepting our invitation, expressed their trust in this festival “without a safety net” and with all the risks of a programme based on creating and presenting original projects.

Each of us has opened the doors of our world, revisiting History, raising questions about the present, combining languages and periods, and revealing the invisible.” — Laura Serani

Laura Serani is the director of Planches Conctact, as well as a curator and author. From 1985 to 2006 she managed the Fnac Photographic Collection and its network of photogalleries in France and abroad. Laura Serani has been the artistic representative for the Month of the Photo (2008 & 2014) and artistic director at the Encounters of Bamako, African Biennial of Photography in Mali from 2009 to 2014. She is the director of Planches Contact and has been its artistic director since January 2019.


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