Don McCullin to headline Visa pour l’Image’s 25th edition

“To have such a distinguished 25-year-old festival, which has a huge following, invite me to have an exhibition there, I feel honoured and proud,” says photographer Don McCullin, who spoke to BJP ahead of Visa pour l’Image’s press conference. “I’m going to enjoy it. You know, when you get to my age, the idea that someone is still interested in your work is quite extraordinary.”

McCullin will receive the largest exhibition ever presented at Visa pour l’Image, where he will present a retrospective of his work in Cyprus, Vietnam, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh and Lebanon. He will also show images shot in England and Somerset, as well as his most recent work from Syria.


“For the past 25 years, I’ve dreamt of bringing McCullin’s work in Perpignan,” says Jean-François Leroy, the festival’s director. “We’ve shown all of the big names in photojournalism, but I’ve always felt that McCullin was the missing one. This year, he’ll be there, he’ll be coming, and he will have an enormous exhibition. For the first time ever, he’ll get the Eglise des Dominicains in its entirety, where we usually show between three and four exhibitions.”

McCullin will be joined by another big name in photography: John G Morris, the Lifepicture editor, who will present never-before-seen images he shot in 1944 in Normandy alongside Robert Capa. “Only two of these images have been shown before, we’ll show all of the others. It’s spendid,” says Leroy.

In addition to McCullin and Morris, Visa pour l’Image will be showing the work of 23 other photographers including Abir Abdullah for his work in Dacca, Bangladesh; Sarah Caron, who received the Canon Female Photojournalist Award last year; Rafael Fabrés, who is currently documenting how Rio de Janeiro is cleaning up the favelas ahead of the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Agence France-Presse’s Phil Moore will show work from Congo, while Muhammed Muheisen will present a selection of 10 years of images documenting the effects of war on local populations across the world.

Visa pour l’Image is also bringing back three photographers who have already been shown at the festival – Michael Nichols, who show, for the first time ever, his images of lions in Serengeti; Andrea Star Reese, who will unveil work shot in Indonesia; and Pascal Maitre, who came back from Kinshasa with “extraordinary images shot forNational Geographic,” says Leroy.

Darcy Padilla has been invited to present the follow-up to the award-winning Julie Project, while Reuters’ Goran Tomasevic and Magnum Photos’ Jerome Sessini will show two years of images from Syria.

Finally, Joao Silva, who lost his two legs after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010, will also get a retrospective of his work. “In total, we’ll have 25 exhibitions,” says Leroy. “And we will also show web-documentaries at the Institut Jean Vigo in Perpignan.”

Among the events organised during the festival’s professional week, four journalists, photographers and picture editors will join professor Anthony Feinstein of the University of Toronto to discuss of the psychological effects of photographers’ work in conflict zones. The participants include Edith Bouvier, Jérôme Delay of Associated Press, Jean-Paul Mari, and Santiago Lyon.

Visa pour l’Image takes place from 31 August to 15 September, with the professional week starting on 02 September. For more details, visit the festival’s website.