Visa pour l’Image returns to Perpignan for its 34th edition

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The grandson of Parveena Ahanger, human rights activist and founder of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Jammu and Kashmir. On the wall is the portrait of Javed, Parveena’s son and the boy’s uncle who disappeared in 1997. Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India, August 4, 2019. © Rebecca Conway. Winner of the 2022 Camille Lepage Award

The esteemed festival of photojournalism hosts 25 exhibitions, each show investigating a critical social and political issue affecting the global community today


Since its first event in 1989, Visa Pour l’Image has established itself as the leading festival of photojournalism in France, if not Europe and beyond. Taking place across 15 days this autumn, from 27 August to 11 September, the 2022 edition is placing its focus on the physical experience once again, after two years of pandemic lockdowns. This year, a total of 25 exhibitions are set to be discovered in venues across the southern French city of Perpignan. Alongside this, a supporting roster of evening screenings, conferences, portfolio reviews and book signings will enrich the programme, filled with conversations about photography, politics and world events. 


“Visa is connected to the news, so everything in the news is inspiring to the programme.”


Among this edition’s exhibitions, an array of global issues are brought into focus. “Visa is connected to the news, so everything in the news is inspiring to the programme,” says Jean-François Leroy, director-general of the festival. The war in Ukraine is represented in several exhibitions, including in a show of Lucas Barioulet’s Visa d’Or award winning Ukraine: The Day-to-Day Experience of War, which includes tender pictures taken on assignment for Le Monde between March and May 2022. And, in a presentation of Mstyslav Chernov & Evgeniy Maloletka’s affecting photographic coverage from Mariupol for the Associated Press.

A teenager, after looking out the window of the orphanage on the outskirts of Lviv. Ukraine. March 23, 2022. © Lucas Barioulet for Le Monde. Winner of the 2022 Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Visa d’or Award
People shelter from shelling in the basement. Mariupol, Ukraine, March 12, 2022. © Mstyslav Chernov / Associated Press
A migrant in a makeshift tent on the outskirts of Calais. August 14, 2020. © Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP Winner of the 2022 Humanitarian Visa d’or award - International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Meanwhile, an exhibition of Sameer Al-Doumy’s Fatal Crossings illuminates the ongoing migration crisis in Calais, Siegfried Modola takes us inside Myanmar’s uprising, and Andrew Quilty’s exhibition A Forever War Ends traces the consequences of violence wrought by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Elsewhere, some stories manifest on a more intimate scale, taking us inside institutions, and functioning like potent microcosms of greater human issues. These include Valerio Bispuri’s Nelle stanze della mente – an in-depth study of mental health on the African continent, and Ana María Arévalo Gosen’s exhibition unfolding the dire lived experiences of women in Latin American prisons. 

The climate crisis is also given a firm place at the 34th edition of Visa Pour l’Image, via exhibitions including Alain Ernoult’s The 6th Extinction, which encompasses emotive black and white portraits of species under threat, and George Steinmetz’s epic Global Fisheries, a photographic odyssey charting the rapid expansion of fishing on an industrial scale, taken across six years and nine countries.

The bride on her wedding day, the day after the engagement party. July 2020, Stolipinovo, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. © Selene Magnolia

In the evening programme, a giant screen in the cloistered courtyard of Campo Santo will present screenings, including pictures revealing the day-to-day coverage of war, taken by photographers from news agencies such as AP, Reuters and Getty. Visa Pour l’Image also presents a series of awards and grants judged by an esteemed panel of picture editors each year, and organises a number of events designed as an opportunity to meet exhibiting photographers. An official festival pop-up bookshop will be run by Sauramps Bookshop throughout the festival too. 


“We have a very diversified programme, covering many of the events that happened this year, and after Covid-19, I think it’s a good opportunity to rediscover the importance of news and photojournalism.”


“We have a very diversified programme, covering many of the events that happened this year, and after Covid-19, I think it’s a good opportunity to rediscover the importance of news and photojournalism,” says Leroy. He adds that he hopes this year’s visitors will be compelled to consider their place in relation to the lived experiences of others. “I hope people will think a little bit more about what’s happening in our world.”

Visa pour l’image runs from 27 August to 11 September 2022.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is a writer and editor based in Brighton. She has written on photography and culture for over 40 international magazines and journals, and held positions as editor for organisations including The Photographers' Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. She recently completed an MA in comparative literature and criticism at Goldsmiths College, University of London