It’s the biggest and best-respected photo festival in the world – it’s Arles and it’s back from 02 July-23 September, with a special opening week from 02-08 July. With the blessing of the French Minister of Culture François Nyssen – who declares that “Arles wouldn’t be Arles without photography” in her welcome to the festival – the 49th year of the festival is lead by director Sam Stourdzé, who took over its organisation in October 2014.
As you might expect, the momentous events of May 1968 are commemorated at Arles this year, with a group of exhibitions titled Run Comrade, The Old World is Behind You. Considering events such as the student demonstrations and strikes in France, and the assassination of Robert F Kennedy that year, this section includes shows such as 1968, What a Story! which uses previously unseen images from police archives, Paris Match and Gamma-Rapho-Keystone.
Elsewhere Arles looks to the future with a group of shows titled Augmented Humanity which includes work by Cristina de Middel & Bruno Morais, Matthieu Gafsou, Jonas Bendiksen and The Hobbyist; and in the Emergences section, which includes the ten photographers included in the New Discovery Award this year – Sinzo Aanza, Monica Alcazar-Duarte, Christto & Andrew, Anne Golas, Chandan Gomes, Thomas Hauser, Anton Roland Laub, Ali Mobasser, Paulien Oltheten, and Wiktoria Wojciechowska. This section also includes Feng Li’s series White Night, images from which were published as an acclaimed photobook last year, and Aurore Valade’s Intimate Revolts.
The section titled Platforms of the Visible – New Approaches to Documentary Photography includes work by Michael Christopher Brown, Gregor Sailer and Christophe Loiseau, while documentary photography also figures in a section called The World As It Is, which includes an exhibition of contemporary photography from Turkey titled A Pillar of Smoke that features work by Cagdas Erdogan. Work from Grozy by Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, and Oksana Yushko also features in The World As It Is.
Big names in photography feature in the section America Great Again! which includes images of the USA by Raymond Depardon and Robert Frank, and Paul Graham’s show The Whiteness of the Whale, which was first shown in Pier 24 in San Francisco in August 2014, and which includes the three bodies of work Graham shot in America from 1998-2011 – American Night, a shimmer of possibility and The Present. René Burri and William Wegman, meanwhile, have solo shows in the Stylistic Figures section.
The Luma Foundation also adds big names in its section in the Associated Programme, including exhibitions by Gilbert & George and Pipilotti Rist, while Olympus Carte Blanche presents an exhibition by Todd Hido. Wolfgang Tillmans, meanwhile, is included in the off-site Grand Arles Express, which sees the festival take up residence in nearby cities such as Nîmes, Avignon, and Marseilles.
Back in Arles, the Arles Books section includes the publications shortlisted for The 2018 Book Awards and for the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award, as well as a presentation by Cosmos-Arles Books titled Current Publishing Trends. The winners of both awards will be announced during the opening week, which includes a programme of events held at night, Les Nuits De La Photographie, encompassing screenings, talks, and parties.
The opening week also includes a series of free talks and debates featuring photographers from the 2018 festival plus professionals from the photography industry, and free exhibition tours by the photographers and curators involved. The opening week also includes photography workshops and a portfolio review – the winner of which will show their work at the 2019 Rencontres d’Arles.
Tickets for the Rencontres d’Arles can be bought at a reduced rate in advance online, with seven-day opening week badges starting at €48. For more information visit rencontres-arles.com