Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 27 August 2021

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – part two of the 2021 Visa pour l’Image preview.


Visa pour l’Image: Preview Part Two

Each year Visa pour l’Image, the world’s leading photojournalism festival, programmes a range of photojournalistic stories including those published in major newspapers and magazines as well as retrospective works and lesser known stories.

In programming such diversity, the festival brings together disparate narratives that create a visual map of the world. Visa pour l’Image reminds us that when the politics of conflict are removed, what remains is our shared humanity. It’s an important message at a time when the world is battling a common foe.

This year there are also exhibitions by renowned wildlife photographers including Vincent Munier and Brian Skerry. The majesty of the natural world is a salve for the heart and a reminder of what is at stake should we not heed the science and work to resolve the climate crisis.

As such, Visa does its job, prompting viewers to contemplate the issues the world grapples with, but also to be grateful. Importantly, Visa reinforces the value of photojournalism, for without the commitment of these photographers much would be left unseen. Ignorance is not bliss, but a passing of our power to others.

Visa pour l’Image: 28 August to 26 September, Perpignan France.


ÉRIC BOUVET – 40 Years of Photography (1981-2021)

“In over 40 years spent crossing the world, the overriding goal has been to report the stories, challenging the idea of showing things, trying to reach the people who view the pictures, getting them involved, having them stop to ask questions, urging them to react, yet without being able to provide ready-made answers, just the facts. There is a constant commitment to respect the dignity of the people being photographed for they are the ones who will remain in the history books and museums. There is the experience of being confronted with the violence and sometimes absurdity of war, and there are times when a human being can lose all powers of reasoning, when the most basic animal instinct takes over in a bid to survive.”

Chechnya, 2000. During the first Chechen conflict (1995-1996), I made five trips to Grozny, but this time Minutka Square, a strategic access point in the capital, was unrecognizable. Everything had been razed to the ground. I had only just arrived, and this was the first picture I took. The woman had been forced to leave after the Russians blew up all the buildings so that Chechen fighters could not come back and hide there. Her husband and two sons were dead. All she had was the picture of her husband and two carpets. © Éric Bouvet
Kabul, Afghanistan, October 2001. © Éric Bouvet
Dhaira, a village on the border between Lebanon and Israel, May 2000. © Éric Bouvet

VINCENT MUNIER – Retrospective

“Vincent Munier was only 12 years old when he took his very first picture in the Vosges region of France where he lived. He then went on to become one of the greatest animal photographers of his time, exploring the planet, from the wide-ranging tundra to the peaks of the Himalayas, in his quest for the rarest and finest animals. The retrospective is an outstanding selection, featuring iconic pictures, little-known shots and recent photos.”

Arctic wolf in the fog. Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. © Vincent Munier
Mating dance of the Japanese red-crowned crane (“tancho”). Hokkaido, Japan. © Vincent Munier

BRIAN SKERRY/National Geographic – Secrets of Whales

“Skerry spent over three years documenting four key species: orca, beluga, humpback and sperm whales. The work highlights the activity of these ocean mammals, showing them as sentient beings with cognitive abilities, and also portrays the personalities of individual animals, enabling us to see our world and our connection to nature in a new way.”

In the Canadian Arctic, a beluga whale with a small stone. Belugas play a game, picking up a stone, swimming with it for a while, then dropping it back onto the seafloor where it will often be retrieved by another beluga. Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island. © Brian Skerry / National Geographic
A humpback mother and her female calf approximately 3 days old, off the coast of Rarotonga. Humpbacks rarely return to these waters, which is not the case for other humpback breeding grounds. Cook Islands, South Pacific. © Brian Skerry / National Geographic
Humpback whales bubble-net feeding off the coast of Alaska. Humpbacks work cooperatively to feed on herring by blowing a perfect ring of bubbles underwater to form a net encircling the fish. The whales then swim up through the center of the bubble net with their mouths open. © Brian Skerry / National Geographic

AFP – Syria A Decade at War

“Ten years ago, Syria appeared to be on the brink of momentous change, but the country descended into chaos, becoming a defining conflict of the early 21st century and forcing half the population to flee. Throughout the different stages, from the early anti-Assad rebellion, the emergence of jihadist groups, international involvement in the conflict, and the brutal retaking of control by the Assad régime, AFP remained present, providing extensive coverage. The exhibition features work by a range of photographers including seasoned war reporters, international freelancers and Syrian citizen journalists who quickly became accomplished photographers.”

Families fleeing the zone near Ras al-Ain where Turkish-led forces were battling Kurdish fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces. Tell Tamr, al-Hasakah, northeastern Syria, October 15, 2019. © Delil Souleiman / AFP
Children playing during a sandstorm in a neighborhood once held by rebels. Karm al-Jabal, Aleppo, March 10, 2017. © Joseph Eid / AFP
A rebel-held neighborhood after what was reported to be an air strike. Salihin, Aleppo, September 11, 2016. © Ameer al-Halbi / AFP

Prize Winners

Annually, Visa hosts various awards including the Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Award, which in 2021 goes to Mary F. Calvert for her long term project on sexual assault in the US military. The €8,000 award enables Calvert to continue to examine the experiences of male victims of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) in the United States.

Rachel Lloyd comforting her husband Paul who has had a flashback. While looking for light bulbs in the supermarket near his home in Salt Lake City, he stopped to smell a scented candle. Suddenly he sank to the floor, hiding his face and sobbing. The candle had the same fragrance as the shampoo he had been using in the shower at Army basic training in 2007, when he was attacked and raped by another recruit. © Mary F. Calvert Winner of the 2021 Pierre & Alexandra Boulat award, sponsored by LaScam

Acacia Johnson is the winner of the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant 2021. The €8,000 award will be used by Johnson to continue her project on bush airplane services in Alaska.

This image is part of a project named Sea Ice Stories documenting Inuit subsistence hunting traditions in the north of Baffin Island, Canada. In a time of rapid climate and cultural change, family camping trips to ancestral hunting grounds are an important way for the young people of Nunavut to remain connected with the land and their culture, and to learn skills and values from their elders that will prepare them to be leaders and providers in their communities. © Acacia Johnson Winner of the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant 2021

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