His name is Jean-Paul Alduy, He is Senator for the Pyrenees Orientals (french Catalonia). Interesting and passionate he talks openly.
Thanks to him “Visa pour l’Image” gets all the support and the local help. He discovered the Festival in 1991. Two years latter after a surprise election he became Mayor of the city of Perpignan. From then on he has been a supporter of Visa in spite of all the local political problems. The local socialist party represented by George Frêche, based in Montpellier, was against the festival.
Jean-Paul Alduy remember some difficult moments during lunches and dinners with Roger Therond et Jean-François Leroy, at the villa Dufflot near Perpignan, one never knew what might happen next. There was even a moment when the idea of moving some where else was thought about.
He remarks that the french left whose motto is Freedom, Equality and Fraternity, the party that support Human Right, has done every thing to smother this festival that promotes the freedom of photojournalism.
“But lets forget about it. I want only remember of the good and strong moments. The happiness of seeing every year the smiles of the photographers, lets remember meeting extraordinary people and living some special moments, the medal (La Legion d’honneur) given to Göksin Sipahioglu, The time when Laurent van der Stock was lived with the Festival during the attack of a mosk in Irak. He will come out unscathed but 3 years latter would be beaten outside a nightclub in Perpignan. The 20th birthday of Visa at the grand Rex in Paris.
Visa is a festival dedicated to news, real, serious news and this meeting at the end of summer is what put us back on track, back to reality, it reminds us of all the suffering despair and death of the previous year, all that we had forgotten, hardly seen or were not even shawn.
Photojournalism is in crisis, but it must survive Visa is a very special festival, because as Roland Barthes said “photography is the collective memory of the world”. Photojournalism of today will be our history, it must find its new economy. Visa will become whatever become of photojournalism.”