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02 / 07 / 2013
Editorial by the President of the VISA POUR L’IMAGE Association
Yes, life goes on, forever beginning anew. Innovating, daring, persevering, believing; when united, pooling minds and energy for the mutual benefit of all, there is every chance of succeeding.
Let us review the history of Perpignan.
- June 16, 1987
At the regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry [Chambre de commerce et d'industrie des Pyrénées-Orientales], Jacques Colomines, vice-president, and Jean Tamisier, technical assistant, in partnership with the Employers' Union for the département [Union patronale départementale] organized, with an internationally renowned speaker, Georges Chétochine, a conference that had a real impact, encouraging businessmen and women to keep pace with developments in the distribution and retail industry, in particular given the context with the development of large stores and supermarkets on the outskirts of the city. He presented arguments showing that business managers had to adapt to their customers, and noted the need to establish cultural events to attract a different clientele. Chétochine explained that people had to talk about Perpignan because, he observed, the only thing anyone knew about the city was through the weather report as it was always the highest temperature in France.
The Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Employers' Union then set up a working group of businessmen and women (including Jean Bares, Marc Espi, Chantal Gombert, Jean-Pierre Joffre, Jeannot Mongay, Jacques Perrin, Yvette Serra and Christian Soubira) and local government members (including Jean-Louis Marti, Bernard Vergès, Jacques Colomines and Jean Tamisier).
- June 1988 :
The working group initiated a consultation process with a view to establishing an event in Perpignan and the département. Seven specialized firms submitted plans and three were selected for the final shortlist. The working group, driven on relentlessly by Jacques Colomines (who was also executive assistant to the City Council), worked doggedly and methodically, setting up a jury comprised of representatives from six different bodies: the Conseil général (regional authority), the City of Perpignan, the Employers' Union and the three "chambers" (Commerce & Industry, Trades, and Agriculture). The jury had to select one of the three proposals on the shortlist and, most importantly, to discuss subsidies.
- September 1988
One afternoon, the six presidents comprising the jury (Paul Alduy, Jacques Farran, René Marquès, Bernard Vergès, Elie Garrigue, and René-Jean Camo) met, alone (no delegates or assistants), in a restaurant.
The unanimous choice was for an international festival of photoreporting, the submission by the Paris-based agency Marketing Valley in partnership with the Filipacchi press group, via the magazine Photo.
- September 18-24, 1989: "Excitement in Perpignan." The First International Festival of Photoreporting.
The festival was launched. The magazines Photo and Paris Match were involved in this very first festival which featured 24 exhibitions and six evening shows held at the Palais des Rois de Majorque. The initial success looked promising.
Michel Decron, editor of Photo, and Jean-François Leroy, there with Roger Thérond, editor of Paris Match, coordinated the artistic management of the program; Abax, Jean Lelièvre's company, produced the evening shows; Sylvie Grumbach was in charge of communication and of handled all the guests and journalists, while the company Vitesse Communication looked after the financial side of things. The City of Perpignan's technical facilities department was a key player, as was Eric Delpico for the framing of all the photos.
By the end of the festival, however, the bottom line showed a financial loss. Paris Match was willing to continue if the losses were covered. Paul Alduy, mayor of Perpignan, believed in the festival; he delegated his authority to Pierre Becque, a lawyer and city counselor, and to me, for us to conduct negotiations with Roger Thérond for the continuation of the festival. The City of Perpignan would cover the financial consequences. The Perpignan-Roussillon Association, set up by the six founding bodies, became the Visa pour l'Image-Perpignan Association in 1994, with responsibility for funding, under the authority of Jacques Colomines who was executive officer of the association until 1999.
This year, from August 31 to September 15, 2013, we have the 25th festival!
An achievement far beyond the hopes of those who founded the event.
Today, "VISA pour l'Image" is:
International media recognition, with Visa pour l'Image as the key vector promoting the name of Perpignan.
The festival is an annual, week-long rendezvous for 3000 photographers, journalists, picture editors, and photo and press agencies. The 2012 festival set records well above forecasts for the number of visitors. The media coverage in national and international written press, and on radio and television (as officially recorded in L'Argus de la presse) can be evaluated at 8 million euros.
A multiannual agreement for the period 2013-2015 was signed with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication on December 20, 2012.
There is more than just the message in photography; there is also the expression of a cultural background, a feeling, an atmosphere. In the current period of crisis, photography is still greatly appreciated by the general public, as can be seen with the consistently increasing attendance figures for the main exhibitions. This year, the festival will have its 4 millionth visitor.
In 2012, 7 800 students from across the Languedoc-Roussillon region and nearby regions came to visit the exhibitions during the special school week which has been programmed since 2008.
Influential advocacy for photojournalism and freedom of expression
In the midst of a global crisis, in a world where references and values have been lost, if we are to understand where responsibilities lie, if we are to learn from past mistakes, we need wide-ranging, diversified press coverage with freedom of expression, presenting different viewpoints to stop us from returning to the dark ages, to avoid extremism and its consequences.
For the past 24 years, Visa pour l'Image has been supporting the men and women crafting freedom of expression which is the sole path to truth.
The modern world of the media moves at great speed, no doubt too fast with the Internet, but photography, now digital and immediate, has the power to be a major means of expression capable of marking minds.
Visa pour l'Image, with true commitment, continues to defend freedom of expression and respect for key values of tolerance and humanism, and for every news story.
Visa pour l'Image is an extraordinary vector promoting and boosting the local economy of Perpignan (both our département and the greater region). Visa pour l'Image brings in more than 3 million euros to the local economy.
Thank you! Our sincere gratitude goes to all those who brought the festival into existence, to all those who have worked and continue to work towards its success.
Yes, there are crises - in the economy, in the press, and in business - but life goes on, forever beginning anew.
As our predecessors did in the past, we too must innovate, be daring and persevere, believing in what we do.
And we can certainly believe when we see, once more, the pooling of minds and energy for the mutual benefit of all, as Visa pour l'Image has been doing so well over the past 24 years.
That way we are bound to succeed, again.
President of the Association Visa pour l'Image - Perpignan