As in the summer of 2018, the international photography festival Rencontes d'Arles in Arles in the south of France will take place for over 40 years. I participated in the opening week in July. Despite the intense heat in the Provence, the festival is an Eldorado for photo art lovers and at the same time a meet & greet of the photo scene. Unlike the commercial mega exhibition "Paris Photo", which takes place regularly in November, Arles seems a little less commercial and a bit more adventurous. In addition, there are more artists to discover that are not yet established.
In addition to young artists, many established photographers have been exhibited, e.g. Robert Frank, Raymond Depardon, René Burri, William Wegman, and Todd Hido. I visited also Todd Hidos Artist Talk under shady trees in the garden of the festival center. The event was very well attended although at the same time the French national football team played in the World Cup. Hido started his presentation with very early events in his life. For example, he showed the map of the residential district in Ohio where he grew up. Obviously, he likes to tell stories chronologically. Todd Hido favors serial work. Sometimes he works on 10 projects at the same time. Some projects extend over many years. His editions include 3, 5 or 10 copies, depending on the image size
In addition to the main festival Rencontres there was the side festival "Voies Off", which complemented the Rencontres with exhibitions of young artists. And there was a third side effect again in Arles: artists who individually rent a room on the ground floor or a piece of wall in a shop and thus show their pictures outside the formal organization of the festivals. In addition, private galleries, which also exhibit at the same time. If all these possibilities are not open, artists were able to present photos on facades or clotheslines in the city, which happened frequently. Many paths lead the picture to the viewer.
Here are some photographic notes from the opening week in Arles.