Flashback to 1989, to the first Visa pour l’Image Festival. There were very few captions, or none at all, and no titles for the exhibitions. It was all a bit “cottage industry,” but there was great enthusiasm and dedication. The first evening shows in Perpignan, at the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, were done with slides, and the moisture in the air with the heat from the projectors formed weird patterns of condensation.

It was the first festival, but it was deemed a success. We felt that the idea could work, that there really was something to be done for all those people working in photography and the press. It was the heyday for photo agencies. We obviously needed to get bigger, and we did.

A few years later, we’d reached the age of seven, the age of reason, and while a bit surprised that we were still around, the success continued. Then we made it to the 10th year, the 15th, the 20th, the 25th, and now it’s 30. Thirty years is not a full lifetime, but it’s a good half.

First of all, thanks are due to those who have been here since the very beginning, and to those who joined us in the second year, and to all the others, all the teams and workers, and the loyal partners, both public and private, who have been with us for so long. And, yes, we’ll even thank the small number of supporters who have left us. You have all helped us grow and develop. And last but not least, we wish to thank the public, the steadily increasing numbers of visitors and audiences, our loyal followers.

The original idea has not changed, the concept being to rediscover certain photographers sometimes overlooked, to endorse new talented photographers, and to give an opportunity for young photographers to be seen and make a name. The list of around 840 exhibitions put on since 1989 stands as clear evidence that we have not changed. Not changed? Some may see this as a downside, but we see it as a guiding line, an editorial line. It can be seen with projects in the past and others presented for the future and which cite Visa pour l’Image as a reference. Surely this is recognition of work accomplished.

This year, therefore, with the same dedication and the same enthusiasm, we are pleased to have you with us in Perpignan.

Jean-François Leroy