The Visa pour l'Image festival of international photojournalism returns for the 31st time to the medieval city of Perpignan, in southern France, from 31 August to 15 September 2019.
Professional Week, from 2-7 September, sees photojournalists, photo agency representatives, photo editors, journalists, curators, industry experts, talented photography students and more, all participating in a packed programme of events, including exhibitions, screenings and awards.
This year will be a special celebration for Canon, as it marks three decades of partnership between Visa pour l'Image and Canon Europe. Yuichi Ishizuka, President and CEO of Canon Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the association was a very proud one. "Digital transformation, the ubiquity of video and advancements in technology have meant that our industry is constantly innovating and evolving," he said. "One thing, however, remains consistent. That is our passion for visual storytelling – across social, cultural, political and economic lines – that can change the world."
With so much going on in and around the city, let us guide you through the festival. Here are 10 things not to miss at Visa pour l'Image 2019.
Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton is widely recognised for his compelling documentary work on environmental issues. He has received 12 World Press Photo awards, and visitors to Visa pour l'Image will be able to see two exhibitions of his work. Rangers, which documents the fight against poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be on display at the Couvent des Minimes throughout the festival, while Brent's second exhibition, which is a testimony to his resilience, will be in the Canon space at the Palais de Congrès.
End of the Caliphate is the massive body of work produced by Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett, who spent months on the ground in Iraq and Syria between 2016 and 2018 photographing the battle to defeat ISIS and the toll it took on the civilian population and the urban landscape. The fighting resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and caused the destruction of cities such as Mosul and Raqqa. The gallery will be located at L'Atelier d'urbanisme throughout the festival. Ivor has just released a book, also titled End of the Caliphate, with publisher Steidl and he will present it at the Visa store.
The Sahel in Danger – A Time Bomb is the work of Canon Ambassador Pascal Maitre, who has been documenting one of the poorest parts of the world, a region under threat as the desert encroaches on it. More than 400,000 migrants have crossed Niger since the end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, and Mali has spiralled into a cycle of extreme violence that threatens its very existence. The exhibition will be on display at the Couvent des Minimes throughout the festival.
Canon and the ICRC will be hosting Unfiltered, a panel discussion to help the current tech-oriented generation of future photojournalists gain access to training and sponsorship. With an introduction by Canon's Yuichi Ishizuka, the panel will be moderated by Kathryn Cook Pellegrin, Head of Photography at the ICRC. She will be joined by Deputy Director of Operations at the ICRC Mary Werntz, and Anush Babajanyan, winner of the 2019 Canon Female Photojournalist Award.
The initiatives will be supported by a group of young photographers from the Ein el Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon and their mentors, including Patrick Baz from the international news organisation Agence France-Presse (AFP). The event will be held at the Palais des Congrès on 6 September from 10.30am to 12am (accreditation required).
In recognition of the collaboration between Canon and the ICRC, a large gallery of photographs will be on display in the Canon space at the Palais de Congrès. The images, depicting people who have lived through war and violence, include work by Colombian photographer Juanita Escobar, who has documented the efforts of the ICRC in Guatemala, and Kevin Faingnaert, a Belgian photographer who produced a series focusing on the families still searching for relatives who went missing during the 1990s war in the western Balkans. There will also be a selection of photos produced by young students from Iraq and Lebanon.
Want to get hands-on with the very latest Canon photo, video and printing equipment? Head to the free-to-enter Canon Experience Zone within the Canon space at the festival headquarters in the Palais des Congrès. Featuring a coffee bar, the previously mentioned exhibition by Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton, and a large gallery dedicated to the collaboration between Canon and the ICRC, the Canon space will be the ideal place to network with fellow industry professionals. A team of friendly Canon Professional Services (CPS) technicians offering expert advice and technical support will also be based here. If you're a member (with valid ID and accreditation), you can access loans to test the latest camera and lenses, and get your Canon gear checked and cleaned for free.
In recognition of her outstanding contribution to visual storytelling, the 19th Canon Female Photojournalist Grant will be presented to Armenian photographer Anush Babajanyan for her ongoing project focusing on large families in the disputed border territory of Nagorno Karabakh.
The €8,000 grant is awarded annually to "an outstanding photographer in recognition of her contribution to photojournalism".
Anush is a longstanding advocate for women and minorities, and before becoming a member of VII Photo Agency, she set up 4Plus, a photographic collective for female photographers in Armenia. She will receive the grant during the evening screening at Campo Santo on 6 September, which is open to the public.
An exhibition of the work of last year's grant recipient, Laura Morton, will be on display at the Théâtre de l'Archipel. This series of photographs focuses on communities in California's Bay Area.
For the third consecutive year, Canon will bring to the festival almost 240 talented photography students, from major schools and universities across Europe and the Middle East, to participate in a three-day developmental workshop. Students will join lectures and guided tours, and be able to interact with industry professionals, including Francis Kohn, journalist, educator and former Head of Photography at AFP, and Thomas Borberg, Photo Editor-in-Chief at Politiken in Denmark. They will also be able to hear the testimony of Canon Ambassadors Brent Stirton, Ivor Prickett, Pascal Maitre and Daniel Etter. The programme also includes the opportunity for portfolio reviews, where students can showcase their work to industry-leading photo editors and curators. From 3 September onwards, as a result of the portfolio reviews, some of the most important images from participating students will be displayed at the Canon space at the Palais des Congrès. A selection of work by students on previous programmes – Nina Kinkade Gogny, Camilla Ferrari, Arme Piepke and Andres Haubjerg – will be part of the official Visa pour l’Image screenings at Campo Santo on the evening of 5 September.
Leading French news agency Paris Match is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019. To mark the event, it will be hosting a retrospective screening of its photojournalists' work covering world events over the past 70 years, including previously unseen material. The free event will be held in the Charles Trenet auditorium at the Palais des Congrès at 3pm on 6 September.
Patrick Chauvel had only just turned 20 when he set off to do his first report. He admits that he knew nothing and that his pictures were not very good, but he was not to be discouraged; off he went again, and since then he has covered almost every conflict the world has seen in the past 50 years. Visa pour l’Image is proud to be showing 50 Years on the Front Line, a celebration of the career of one of the most gifted photographers of his generation.
Interested in a real shooting experience testing the EOS R and EOS RP cameras and their dedicated lens system? Canon France is hosting a Street Photography Workshop, open to everyone and led by a mentor and specialists, on the afternoon of 4 September. Registration opens on 2 September at the Canon Welcome desk at the Palais des Congrès.
Find out more about Visa pour l'Image and read all the Canon-related stories on our Visa pour l'Image event page.