Over the past year I’ve become the kind of person who talks about every show but never goes to see them. But last week I went in person to PhotoMed, which is held in Sanary-sur-Mer, a charming town on the Mediterranean coast of France.
The Photomed festival was created four years ago by Philippe Heullant and Philippe Sérénon. A successful festival is always like an incestuous summer camp, and Photomed is the perfect example, with 15 exhibitions, five of which are particularly successful (see the article below), a dynamic mayor who decided to organize ten openings across three kilometers, 200 meters above sea level, in less than three hours. (A few guests were on the verge of fainting but none of the organizers flinched). There were a few nice lunches and dinners and two guests of honor: Jean-Luc Monterosso of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, and Xavier Soule, owner of the Agence VU’. Two highlights of the festival were a game of traditional pétanque, with a team led by Bernadette Sabathier, a press officer for the Agence VU, who just barely beat out the team led by the Franco-American collector Claude Deloffre. And above all there was the visit to the Île de Bendor, the home of the Paul Ricard foundation.
For journalist, the trip ended Friday with a visit of the Palais des Arts de Toulon, with the wonderful exhibition of Mimmo Jodice, although you could die of boredom from the polished pebbles, chipped statues and weathered old stones. In the 1970s, Mimmo Jodice was a formidable photographer of nudes and an Italian artisan of documentary photography. PhotoMed has an enormous amount of potential. It suffers from a lack of space to house its exhibitions, but its future is in its concept: a genuine Mediterranean photography festival. It’s beginning to export itself, with one festival already held in Beirut, and two others under discussion in Algeria and Spain.
If this next step succeeds, given the quality of the work on display, the founders will have won their wager.
Until June 15th, 2014