Photojournalists provide us with news and information so that we can be aware of what is happening around the world every day as they cover a diverse range of stories in all their complexity, horror and beauty. Photojournalists can be seen as modern-day advocates of peace, freedom and truth. So many things that would otherwise be unseen are revealed as their cameras record injuries, suffering and scars across the continents, and their sensitivity captures both subtle and harsh views of the world.
In Perpignan every year we pay tribute to their work, aware of the risks often involved, and also of their generosity. Perpignan is the city and home for photojournalists the world over.
The year 2023 will bring the 35th such celebration, yes, the 35th festival Visa pour l’Image – Perpignan, together with all our energetic support and appreciation.
As always, the historic sites of the city will showcase the fine work of photographers selected by the director of the festival, Jean-François Leroy for the program of exhibitions. In the evening, Campo Santo is the grand venue for the ever impressive open-air screenings.
The festival is of course open to everyone, whether locals or visitors from distant countries, with access to the full program of exhibitions and events free of charge. There is also the special focus on education, and for the 35th festival we hope to attract even more students and school groups than last year which was already a record year with a total of 22,000 attending over the two weeks scheduled for students.
In addition to the celebration of photojournalism, Visa pour l’Image and Perpignan are vectors addressing a message of respect for photography as a profession and for professional photographers, a message heard by the general public and younger visitors. The festival and the city provide a forum for awareness-raising through discussions on a range of relevant subjects: journalism, the right to be photographed i.e. the “right of personal portrayal,” genuine not “fake” news, and democracy as a living, dynamic force.
With the French national authorities, the region of Occitania, the département des Pyrénées-Orientales, Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole, and the City of Perpignan, together with all the partners from the private sector and the different teams working on the festival, we look forward to extending a welcome to large numbers of visitors as they come to discover the new program for this year’s festival.
Visiting the festival is indeed the best way of standing with us, showing the support and admiration we all feel and are therefore duty-bound to express for photojournalism.
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres
President of the Association Visa pour l’Image - Perpignan