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31 / 08 / 2014 Delphine Lelu
The Festival had not even been officially opened, but one question was already being asked: "Where is the Visa pour l'Image exhibition on the Israel‑Hamas crisis?" In other words, how and why could a festival featuring news stories over the past year exclude such a major issue from the program?
The answer is simple: it is a matter of time and timing. In a world where media compete to "break news," Visa pour l'Image has no intention, or indeed possibility of keeping up with that pace. Reprisals by Israel targeting Gaza after the abduction of three Israeli students on June 12 were stepped up on July 17 with the ground offensive; that was two weeks after the exhibition program for the festival had been finalized. Any decision to include an extra exhibition of forty pictures on Gaza at the last minute would inevitably make it appear as an "add‑on". Any why should it be done?
Visa pour l'Image exhibitions are not designed to cover news stories the same way as TV, radio or daily newspaper reports. Festival exhibitions provide in‑depth reports on stories, highlighting issues that may not have been treated by the mainstream press.
We decided to wait.
But the Festival in Perpignan is more than a program of exhibitions, and the Gaza story will be covered: in a report screened in the evening show on Saturday, September 6. The option chosen, despite the pressure of time, is to present work shot by a number of photographers so as to show the complexity of the situation.
And next year's Festival will present the best reports on major news stories, and 2015 will include Gaza.
Have a great Festival!