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September 2008

The twentieth Visa pour l’Image International Festival of Photojournalism takes place this month and CPN is reporting regularly throughout the Pro Week (1-7 September). Our blogs include news stories on award winners, video interviews with top photographers and industry figures, agency news, Canon announcements and much more – all to give you a real flavour of this unique photographic event.

The final word

Noor Images photographer Philip Blenkinsop won the Visa d’Or News award for the pictures he took in the aftermath of the Chinese earthquake earlier this year.

The announcement was made on 6 September, but due to the poor weather, the evening screenings were abandoned, and instead of the prize being presented on the stage at Campo Santo, Blenkinsop was tracked down in the streets of the city. Jean-Francois Leroy, director of the festival, presented the photographer with the award, surrounded by well-wishers.

“It’s an incredible honour because it means more to me than any other prize,” said an emotional Blenkinsop, who won the same award three years ago, and the Visa d’Or feature prize in 2003.

He thanked his agency, Noor Images, for its support, and the Visa pour l’Image organisation and in particular Leroy for his “passion and dedication over all these years”. It was a dramatic and fitting end to this, the twentieth Visa pour l’Image festival.

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Blog 5

Stirton wins Visa d’Or Feature award

Getty Images photographer Brent Stirton’s photographic work on the slaughter of gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo secured him the Visa d’Or Feature award for 2008. At the Friday evening’s screening at Campo Santo he thanked Newsweek and National Geographic for publishing the images.

Earlier in the day dozens of admirers of Stirton’s work flocked to the Canon Space in Palais des Congrès to secure a signed print of the famous dead gorilla photograph that won a prize at this year’s World Press Photo.

A total of 100 fine art prints were produced of the haunting image taken last year in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and each one was personally signed by Brent and given away free.

CPN collared a couple of happy print owners to ask why they had come to get a signed photograph. Maaike Smulders from World Press Photo said: “I’m really impressed by this whole series of pictures by Brent, but of course we know him very well at World Press Photo.” In fact, World Press Photo’s managing director, Michiel Munneke, paid Brent a personal visit to pick up a signed print.

World Press Photo’s Michiel Munneke (right) with Brent Stirton.
© John McDermott

World Press Photo’s Michiel Munneke (right) with Brent Stirton.

As for Stirton himself? “I’m away all the time so I never really get to see my published work, but I’m very proud of this image,” he revealed.

Other awards

* “Normally when there is a war there’s at least an acknowledgment that it’s actually going on. We haven’t got to that stage.”
US photographer and Canon AFJ (French Association of Female Journalists) award winner Brenda Ann Kenneally’s words struck a cord with the audience in the Palais des Congrès on Saturday, the penultimate day of this year’s Pro Week.

She was describing her award-winning, long-term project photographing the poor families of the small town of Troy (100km north of New York), a city that has suffered from the closure of factories, ethnic problems, and the problems of single parent families. The situation in Troy, and places like it, was described as “an insidious war”. The award, sponsored by Canon France, comes with a prize of €8,000 that’s presented by the French Association of Female Journalists (AFJ) and is also supported by Le Figaro magazine.

Cyril Drouhet from Le Figaro magazine said Kenneally’s images stood out from that of the other entrants partly because of the amount of work she had to do and her perseverance. Pascal Briard, Canon France marcom manager called the work “very personal”. Kenneally’s project will be exhibited at next year’s festival.

See video of Maria Mann, managing editor of European Pressphoto Agency, talking about Brenda Ann Kenneally.

* The latest three recipients of the $20,000 Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography are David Gillanders, Lynsey Addario and Eugene Richards. The awards were officially announced during a press conference in Palais des Congrès hosted by Aidan Sullivan the vice president photo assignments for Getty Images. Sullivan also revealed that Getty Images was expanding the grants programme in 2009 to include students with four $5,000 grants available.

Lynsey Adarrio’s work on Darfur began in 2004 and she explained: “Every time I’ve returned it’s a different war – at the start it was the rebels on one side and the government soldiers on the other but now it’s much more complicated.”

© John McDermott

Photographer Eugene Richards at the Getty Images Grants event.

Scottish photographer David Gillanders got a rousing cheer from the audience when he was introduced and he went on to explain: “My project is about violence in my home city of Glasgow which has the highest murder rate in Europe. I’m shooting images of violence involving the use of bladed instruments and with the grant I’m going to carry on the project.”

Magnum Photos photographer Eugene Richards got a heartfelt introduction from Sullivan who said of Richards: “He personifies the term ‘the compassionate eye’ and inspires all of us.” Richards’s project, ‘War is Personal’, is a series of photo and text essays on the lives of people in the US who have been profoundly affected by the war in Iraq.

“Eight photographic essays are now completed and with the assistance of the Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography I will undertake at least seven more,” said. Richards. Once the project is completed it will be the subject of a book as well as a multimedia piece interposing photographs with personal writings and interviews.

The next two $20,000 Getty Grants will be announced in February 2009 with three more to follow at Visa pour l’Image 2009.

Print central

Jean-François Gallois

Jean-François Gallois is one of the unsung behind-the-scenes heroes of Visa pour l’Image. His company Central Color, the Paris based photographic lab, this year printed nine of the 30 exhibitions at the festival as well as all of the Ambassadors images showcased in the Canon Space.

Central Color was established back in 1952 by Gallois’s great grandfather – photographer Lucien Lorelle - and it has been involved in every one of the 20 Visa pour l’Image festivals. Jean-François Gallois told CPN: “This is a fourth generation business. We have printed almost 100 exhibitions at Visa pour l’Image, done 5,000 prints and there are so many memories and so many contrasts that have happened in printing since the start of Visa pour l’Image.”

The company currently has around 100 employees who operate out of its Paris headquarters using equipment including six large format inkjet printers from companies such as Canon.

This year’s Visa pour l’Image exhibitions by David Duncan Douglas, Alexandra Boulat, the Canon Ambassadors, Noël Quidu, Christian Poveda, Marie Dorigny, Axelle de Russé, Göksin Sipahioglu, and Kadir van Lohuizen have all been printed by Central Color.

“We produced the prints for the Canon Ambassadors display in two days – it’s all about delivering good quality at a good price,” said Gallois. The stunning 1.2x1.8m ‘Ambassadors’ prints were produced by Central Color on the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9000 large format printer. Gallois revealed: “We have printed for Gary Knight since the beginning of the VII Photo agency and we work with other photographers such as Paolo Pellegrin.”

Next time you’re gazing at prints whilst walking around the exhibitions at Visa pour l’Image perhaps you’ll remember the name of Jean-François Gallois and the work of Central Color, not forgetting the other key printers for the festival – Dupon and e-center.

McDermott’s day

In June of this year I was fortunate to have an assignment to do a portrait of legendary Life Magazine photographer David Douglas Duncan at his home in the south of France. It proved to be an amazing day spent listening to recollections of his wartime experiences while making some good pictures and enjoying a nice lunch with David and his wife Sheila. I knew then that David would be honoured this year at Perpignan with a retrospective of his work from the Korean War and I was looking forward to seeing the exhibition and also saying hello. David was introduced at a press conference at the Palais de Congrès by Jean-François Leroy who revealed that it was a picture of a US soldier chilled to the bone taken by David during the War that motivated him to become a photojournalist. An enthralled audience then listened to David’s amazing recollections of experience from the Second World War to Korea and Vietnam. I made a few pictures of David here that can be seen in today’s image showcase.
If this wasn’t fascinating enough, I was lucky enough to spend Saturday afternoon interviewing another legendary war photographer, Horst Faas. He was the bureau chief of the Associated Press in Saigon for much of the Vietnam War.
I’m leaving Perpignan this year with some unforgettable memories. Jean-Francois Leroy intended the 20th edition of Visa pour l’Image to be something exceptional and so it has been.

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Blog 4

Canon reveals Visa pour l’Image sponsorship deal

© John McDermott

Celebrating the signing of the contract for the renewal of principal sponsorship of Visa pour l'Image by Canon Europe. From left to right: Mr. Yoshikawa (Canon Europa), Mr. Pascal Briard (Canon France), Mr. Suzuki (Canon Europa), Mr. Jean-François Leroy (Visa pour l'Image), Mr. Shimodate (Canon Europa), Mr. Barry van Vuuren (Canon Europa), and Mr. Thibaut du Roure (Canon France).

After 19 years of sponsoring the Visa pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism, Canon has today signed a new five-year deal to be the principal sponsor of the event - the first time such a major and long-term sponsorship arrangement has been signed by any sponsor of the event.

The involvement with the festival will give Canon the opportunity to foster its relationships with professional photographers and photo agencies from around the world.

“We are delighted to be able to take our relationship with Visa pour l’Image to the next level and to strengthen our support of the photojournalism industry,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. “Visa pour l’Image pays tribute to the talent and courage of the best photographers in the business, and Canon is proud to reinforce this sentiment.”

In case you didn’t know… Visa pour l’Image provides a forum for photojournalists from around the world to present their work, talk to peers and meet with potential clients – photo agencies and magazines. The 2008 festival is being attended by about 260 agencies from more than 60 different countries and some 3,000 professionals from photojournalism.

The Ambassadors gather…

Seven out of the nine Canon Ambassadors gathered for their first official engagement - a unique, and fun-filled, photoshoot at the Canon Space at Visa pour l’Image early on 4 September.

© John McDermott

Canon’s Ambassadors at their fun-filled photoshoot. From left to right: Brent Stirton, Frits van Eldik, Gary Knight, Ziv Koren, Lorenzo Agius, Paolo Pellegrin and Michael Nichols.

Appearing on the other side of the lens for a change were Ziv Koren (Polaris Images), Frits van Eldik, Paolo Pellegrin (Magnum Photos), Gary Knight (VII), Lorenzo Agius (Orchard by Getty Images), Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols (National Geographic) and Brent Stirton (Reportage by Getty Images) who had their portraits taken by photographer Rémy Cortin in the Canon Professional Photo Studio. During a group portrait session they were also joined by Visa pour l’Image’s director Jean-François Leroy who was happy to join in the fun with the Ambassadors.

After that the Ambassadors took turns to photograph each other with portrait shooter Lorenzo Agius arguably the most at home. Due to prior work commitments the other two Ambassadors – wedding photographer Jeff Ascough and wildlife shooter Thorsten Milse – were unfortunately unable to attend.

The Ambassadors Programme was announced by Canon Europe in June 2008 and is inspired by the successful Canon USA ‘Explorers of Light’ initiative that has been running for 12 years. Canon’s Ambassadors will be lending their skills and experience at major photography shows, as well as appearing at seminars and workshops.
Canon Ambassadors talk

Awards round-up

There has been a rash of awards announced at the evening screenings at Campo Santo as the professional week of Visa pour l’Image, 1-7 September, progresses.

Jean Chung of World Picture Network has won the inaugural Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Association Award for her project photographing the rape of women in Eastern Congo.

The Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Association was formed last year in memory of the late Life photojournalist Pierre Boulat (who worked for Life magazine for over two decades) and his daughter, VII photographer Alexandra Boulat, who died at the age of 45 in October 2007.

Annie Boulat, wife of Pierre and mother of Alexandra, told CPN: “The idea first came into my mind and I spoke to Jean-François Leroy as we wanted to make an award to keep her name alive. We were looking for a story that’s untold – a special angle from a good photographer and we will then give it a chance.”

The jury - including Annie Boulat (Cosmos), Gary Knight (VII), and MaryAnne Golon (Time Magazine) amongst others – made the final selection on 3 September at Visa pour l’Image. Gary Knight explained: “We looked at the strongest photographs and good proposals. The winner is very strong. Stories about violent sexual abuse of women are difficult to get published and anything involving women in Africa is hard to get published.”

Although she wasn’t at Visa pour l’Image in person to pick up the award Jean Chung will receive a €8,000 grant courtesy of Canon in two parts: the first one immediately, and the second one after showing the first part of her work to Visa pour l’Image, the Association and Canon six months later. The photo reportage will then be available for exhibition during the Visa pour l’Image festival in September 2009.

Visitors to Visa pour l’Image 2008 can see the work of the late Alexandra Boulat in an exhibition of some of her favourite photographs, ‘Come on, come on!’ at Couvent des Minimes.

* The 2008 CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage was received by Stephanie Sinclair (VII Network) during the evening screening on 4 September for her work highlighting the Indonesian tradition of female circumcision in young girls.

Stephanie Sinclair (VII Network), far right, explains the work that won her the 2008 CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage.

Stephanie Sinclair (VII Network), far right, explains the work that won her the 2008 CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage.

Earlier in the day, at her press conference, Stephanie explained: “It is something that’s like a coming of age ritual – the families and the culture believe this makes them more pure and stabilises their libido. It has cultural significance and pretty much no medical significance. This is absolutely a celebration in the minds of the adults.”

Sinclair added: “CARE’s work is some of the best work in many countries – that’s one of the reasons it’s so exciting to get this award. Also I must give my thanks to Jean-François Leroy – it’s also exciting to get the award at the 20th festival… and I guess I must also thank the New York Times Magazine for publishing this kind of story.”

This was the 13th awarding of the CARE Award that is designed to convey an expression of hope. A selection of the best entries to the 2008 CARE International Award can be viewed at Palais des Corts.

* VU photographer Munem Wasif has won the City of Perpignan Young Reporter’s Award for his black and white documentary work ‘Bangladesh, Standing on the Edge’. Wasif’s photographs cover three topics – Rohingya refugees (a Muslim Burmese ethnic minority who live in the northern state of Arakan in Myanmar), climate refugees and refugees from modern life. Wasif’s outstanding work can be seen at Couvent Sainte Claire

* The Visa d’Or Daily Press Award was won by the Dallas Morning News with the reportage ‘The bottom line’ by Mona Reeder. The work was chosen from a shortlist of 31 newspaper entries and the award is given to the best report published in the daily press in any country in the course of the previous year. For the first time this year the judging panel for this award was solely made up of photographers – Nina Berman, Enrico Dagnino, Marie Dorigny, Stanley Greene, Yuri Kozyrev and Alfred Yaghobzadeh.

* Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Eric Feferberg has won the 12th Prix Bendrihem 2008 European political figure photo competition. The photograph, taken in October 2007 in Saint-Denis, France, shows French President Nicolas Sarkozy listening to a CGT trade union representative while on a visit to a maintenance site of the national rail operator, SNCF.

© John McDermott

Representatives of AFP view the winning Prix Bendrihem 2008 picture with the victorious photographer Eric Feferberg (on the right of photo).

The €7,000 prize was presented, for the first time at Visa pour l’Image, by AFP chief executive Pierre Louette. Corentin Fohlen, a freelance photographer, was awarded the second prize, and third prize went to independent photographer Laurent Sazy. The second and third prizes were rewarded with Canon photo equipment.

The annual prize for best photograph of a European political figure was created in tribute to the AFP photographer Georges Bendrihem, who died on 6 October 1995 following a car crash in Tunisia while covering an official visit by then French President Jacques Chirac.

McDermott’s day

Wednesday was a sad day at Visa pour l'Image. The photographers gathered at this festival are accustomed to dealing with suffering and death as part of their work in the world’s most troubled places. On Wednesday they had to deal with it here in Perpignan.

The news arrived on the morning of that day that French photojournalist Françoise Demulder, who in 1976 became the first woman to win World Press Photo of the Year, had passed away. She succumbed to an illness she had been battling for some time. Demulder was particularly close to the Visa pour l’Image team and the news hit them hard. A special tribute to her was prepared for Wednesday evening’s projection at Campo Santo, where Jean-François Leroy spoke eloquently about his friend and her work.

Immediately after, he and presented the first Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Foundation Award to South Korean photographer Jean Chung. Alexandra Boulat, as we know, was another award-winning photojournalist who passed away too young the month after the 2007 Visa pour l’Image event.

Desperately seeking…

A lot of young photographers come to Visa pour l’Image every year as the presence of the 'big guns' of the photographic world offers them a unique chance to show portfolios to agencies and picture editors or to bump into some of the world’s greatest photographers. One such aspiring hopeful was Frenchman Franck Vogel who was desperately seeking out Canon Ambassador Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols to show him his portfolio when CPN bumped into him in the Canon Space.

Photographer Franck Vogel.

Although he is also a commercial photographer for companies such as Moët & Chandon Franck has jetted out to India three times in the past 15 months to the Rajasthan region of India. He’s been busy documenting the lives of the Bishnoi (Hindi for the number 29) sect with his EOS 5D and the EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM wideangle zoom.

Franck explained: “They were the world’s first environmentalists who believe in a very tight relationship between, nature people and animals. They consider wildlife and trees as members of the family.”

Apparently the significance of the 29 is that a 15th century guru – the wonderfully named Jambho Ji - laid down 29 rules by which the people following this ‘religion’ should live their lives and the sect still follows them today.

If we are ever to see Franck’s work in National Geographic he’d better catch up with ‘Nick’ soon…


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Blog 3

Congo in Limbo: Cédric Gerbehaye

Agence VU photographer Cédric Gerbehaye seems to personify both the spirit of Visa pour l’Image and what coming here can do for a young photojournalist.

© John McDermott

A few years ago Gerbehaye was just another student who had arrived in Perpignan with his notebook and laptop intent on making it as a professional. Now 31 years old, he sat addressing an audience of visitors today inspired by his work, a long-term project on the Congo, which is being exhibited here.

He started out wanting to be a TV and radio journalist but soon turned to photography as he was intent on tackling weighty issues in troubled areas of the world. In 2002, still a student, he self-financed his first major project on the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace process and approached the French press with his work. It was picked up and he was sent on assignment. “I got a lot of encouragement from people I met at this festival,” he said. “Jan Grarup (now a Noor Images photographer) encouraged me to continue my work in Hebron.”

In June 2007 he began his Congo project. Here is a country that has suffered what has become known as the ‘forgotten war’: five million dead since the mid-Nineties and a labyrinthine power struggle that has become almost unexplainable. “I contacted a friend in Kinshasa and just went there,” he says. With the help of NGOs and other groups working on the round in Ituri and Kivu, Gerbehaye got close to the militias that had failed to disarm after the 2006 elections. He again found himself documenting another broken peace process. He went on to record the growth of ‘Revival Churches’, a little-known consequence of the conflict, and hopes to exhibit in Congo in 2010.

‘Congo in Limbo’ has earned him three prestigious awards in 2008: a prize at World Press Photo, the Olivier Rebbot Award from the Overseas Press Club of America and the Amnesty International Media Award.

Apple explains Aperture 2

Aside from the masses flocking towards the Apple space in Palais des Congres in a scramble to get wireless internet access, three times a day photographers have the opportunity to find out much more about the capabilities and key features of Aperture 2.

At 10am, 12 noon and 3pm each day Aperture’s Product Marketing Manager Martin Gisborne is demonstrating Aperture 2 with a mixture of ‘Basics’ and ‘Advanced’ presentations. The presentations attracted a captive audience with a full run-through of Aperture from concept to output via imports, selecting images and adjusting. Particular emphasis was put on Apple’s advice to shoot in RAW so that you can retain more information and give yourself the chance to ‘rescue’ pictures in Aperture that might have been lost had they been shot as jpegs.

The Product Market Manager for Aperture, Martin Gisborne, explains the key benefits of the Aperture 2 to photographers.

Freelance photographer Daniel Bollag saw the Aperture Basics session and commented: “It was wonderful – a fantastic presentation. I now have to consider that I might be investing in Aperture as it looks fast and very capable.”

The seminar spotlight in the Apple space will switch to multimedia at 3pm on Friday 5 September with a ‘hot ticket’ event featuring Brian Storm of MediaStorm showing the tips and tricks of using Apple’s Aperture and Final Cut Pro programmes in a multimedia environment.

Visitors to Apple can also view displays from Apple TV and visit the interactive booth outside of the Apple space and click through on a series of classic images.

Also featured in the Apple space is a company called Nik Software that, amongst other products, produces a series of plug-ins for Aperture – Dfine 2.0 (the Aperture version will launch at Photokina later this month), Viveza, Color Efex 3.0, Silver Efex Pro and Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0 (also due for Aperture at Photokina).

The Silver Efex Pro package gives digital shooters the chance to create black and white images via tools such as push, pull, and even allows you to select the effects of specific black and white films, for example Kodak TRI-X. Dfine 2.0 is a plug-in for precisely applying noise reduction; Color Efex Pro 3.0 delivers 52 filter effects to add to your images; Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0 will sharpen images; and Viveza lets you control light and colour. Nik Software’s Julia Schab told CPN: “The mission that we have is to allow photographers to do things faster – as a photographer you should have more time shooting and you shouldn’t be behind a computer all of the time.”

McDermott’s day

© John McDermott

I have always been a fan of Getty Images photographer Paula Bronstein’s work in Afghanistan. But until yesterday I’d never met her. Now I can safely say that I’ve never known anyone so small who takes such ‘tall’ pictures. We met during a video shoot with Paula for CPN at her exhibition at the Couvent Sainte Claire. Visitors to the show were clearly mesmerized by her haunting Afghan work, as was I. And I found that Paula herself is a delight to talk to, and to photograph. I know that I’ve made another friend here in Perpignan.

Of the photographs I took last year in Perpignan many of my favourites were of the city itself. It’s a place of striking colours, architectural contrasts, friendly people and beautiful Mediterranean light. What more could I want? The first two days here were extremely busy but yesterday I finally had some time to roam the town a bit and I managed to make a few pictures that I feel capture the atmosphere of the city. You can take a look at them in today’s image Showcase in the right-hand column.

The people of Perpignan have been welcoming us to their city for 19 years and in that time they’ve earned a deserved reputation for hospitality and friendliness, something that I experienced first-hand last night. After a very long day, I stopped to take a picture of Le Castillet around midnight. That’s when I had my first major brain lapse of this week: I left my laptop on a chair at the outdoor restaurant where I had paused to take the picture. When I got back to my hotel, a short cab ride away, I realized what I had done right away. I headed back downtown as fast as I could, hoping someone had found it and that the restaurant was still open. I needn’t have worried. They were closing up for the night, but the manager, Philippe, had put my computer safely away and was waiting for me. I’m sure as soon as he saw the worried look on my face he knew I was the poor guy who had walked off without his computer. Thank you Philippe. And thank you, Perpignan.

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Blog 2

Canon launches CPN magazine

Canon Professional Network (CPN) has launched a quarterly magazine, published by Canon Europa NV, aimed at complementing the CPN website. Copies of the magazine are available free in the Canon space at the Palais des Congrès.

CPN magazine, a high-quality, coffee table-type publication, showcases the work of professional photographers who use Canon equipment in image-led articles of between six and 10 pages in length. The publication also profiles some of the most influential figures in photography, and includes news of awards and events, along with a technical and business section.

The first issue, free to all Canon Professional Services (CPS) members in Europe, features an interview with acclaimed American photographer David Douglas Duncan about his 1951 book, ‘This Is War!’, an exhibition of which is running at this year’s Visa pour l’Image festival in Perpignan, France.

Canon Space offers full imaging experience

Photographers and film makers visiting the Canon Space at Visa pour l’Image can get their hands on the eagerly awaited new EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens, view high performance photographic printing, watch and use the latest high definition video technology from Canon, and witness a wi-fi studio shoot by advertising photographer Rémy Cortin.

Situated on the ground floor of the modernistic Palais des Congrés building in central Perpignan, Canon’s huge display area is flushed with natural light and high ceilings and offers professional photographers the full Canon experience from image capture to editing and printing.

© John McDermott

Canon France staff show the new EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens.

Canon France CPS pro rep Bernard Thomas explained: “Immediately we have a showcase so that people can see the new and exciting products at Canon. We have a technical area and a demonstration area. At the CPS counter there are loan and repair services, as well as the new 800mm lens.” A nice touch is the fact that photographers can have two or three prints made for them at the ‘Print on Demand’ counter for free.


Visitors to the EOS counter will also get the chance to see and handle the new 15.1 megapixel EOS 50D camera that offers great high-ISO performance and 6.3fps shooting capability. Its rapid speed shooting and wide area AF system, which locks onto subjects with nine individual cross type sensors, make it particularly suited for sports and wildlife shooting.

The EOS counter is manned by Canon France’s Guy Dassonville, Raphael Rimoux and Bernard Thomas and keen-eyed visitors will spot the new 800mm lens lurking on the shelves behind the counter among the range of EOS cameras and accessories.

The CPS counter has behind-the-scenes technicians who are busy beavering away on cleans and checks. Canon Europe’s DSLR product specialist Graham Smith said: “The CPS standard of service for all events has been set – we clean, check and carry out minor repairs and offer a back-up loan service should photographers need it. We’re able to loan cameras as well.”

Video on show

© John McDermott

The HD video counter in the Canon Space.

Within the technical area is a first time showing for Canon video at Visa pour l’Image with a screen showing Canon Ambassador Ziv Koren’s spellbinding video shot on an HF10 camcorder with footage explaining the editing workflow possibilities offered when shooting stills and video simultaneously. Visitors can also get their hands on the XL H1S, XH G1, and HF10 camcorders from Canon with a viewing platform that allows you to shoot with the cameras and watch playback on screen.

Canon European Professional Video Specialist, Karel Poortman, explained: “The theme of the stand is how to use video and photography – what video can mean for photographers and how they might consider combining the two disciplines.” Photographers who want to find out more about working with video accessories or who fancy trying out an HF10 camcorder (which uses the AVCHD flash format) are able to borrow one to shoot with for a few hours, subject to availability.


A walk around the technical area introduces you to the large format imagePROGRAF printers that use ink said to be “guaranteed for 100 centuries”. The printers, and Central Color lab in Paris, have been responsible for the eye-catching display of large prints that adorn pillars and walls. All shot by the line-up of Canon Ambassadors this is a stunning display of photography with dozens of 60x80cm images and a dozen 1.2x1.8 metre prints.

Live studio

Tucked away at the other end of the Canon Space is a working studio with photographer Rémy Cortin demonstrating the EOS-1Ds Mark III with 85mm lens and sending pictures via wi-fi to computer in order to show the complete imaging process from capture to editing.

The Canon Space is a complete imaging experience that’s great to look at, interactive, and packed with technology and equipment that will grab attention of anybody who loves the art of imaging.

McDermott’s day

Photographer John McDermott reveals his thoughts about the festival:
This year’s first ‘Meet the Photographer’ press conference at the Palais de Congres was with American Magnum member Paul Fusco. Fusco, who prior to joining Magnum was a staff photographer for Look Magazine, is the epitome of the socially committed photographer. When I saw Jean-François Leroy in Amsterdam earlier this year at the World Press Photo awards weekend he confided to me that he had invited Paul to this year’s festival to show two of his most significant projects - a long term look at the effects of the Chernobyl disaster and images of the public gathered along the tracks to mourn Robert F. Kennedy as his funeral train passed from Washington, D.C. to New York City in 1968.

© John McDermott

Paul Fusco (centre) at his 'Meet the Photographer' press conference in front of one of his images of RFK's funeral train.

Yesterday Jean-François did something he had never done before. He personally introduced a photographer – Fusco - at a press conference. The bond between the two men was obvious. Jean-François spoke touchingly of his respect and deep affection for Paul and of the importance of the man and his work to our profession and to the world at large. And at the end of his presentation Paul spoke of the debt we all owe to Jean-François for what he’s done for our profession.

Being able to spend some time with Paul here in Perpignan will be a highlight of this year’s festival for me. When Paul spoke, his images, as well as his words, moved the audience. He talked of his difficulties in getting the Chernobyl work published and of how his own experience as a two-time cancer survivor helped him to understand and to be accepted by the people he met in Belarus and Ukraine.

His recollections of that day, shooting from the window of the Kennedy funeral train, brought back emotions from another time that have a renewed resonance today. One of my personal projects this week will be to do a nice picture of Paul and Jean-François together that I want to give to them. I will also pick up a copy of Paul’s book, RFK Funeral Train, at the bookshop at the Couvent des Minimes and ask him to sign it.

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Blog 1

Opening ceremony

The opening night of Visa pour l’Image is always a special occasion, but there was an extra magical ingredient this year – the twentieth festival.

The feeling of anticipation rippling through the 200 or so guests at the opening ceremony at Hotel Pams was palpable as the soft rain began to fall from the ever-darkening sky. The line-up for the Visa week is truly star-studded this year and visitors are arriving from around Europe and across the world to participate, some for the first time and some for the twentieth.

“Since I started to think about reportage this festival was always in my mind as it’s really famous for reportage,” said Clarence Gorton, a young Italian photographer with the agency, Contrasto. He seemed to typify the spirit of the festival. “I hope it’s the beginning of something for me. I drove 1,000 km from Florence to be here and I’m camping in a tent on the outskirts of the city. I’m anxious to see what will happen and to see the big name photographers. I’ve already been to see Axelle de Russé’s exhibition about the concubines in China, and I looking forward to the rest.

Jocelyn Bain Hogg from VII Network told CPN: “It’s interesting to see the dynamic between the work of the older photographers, and the new. It’s this mixture of the old and the new that I like. There are those great names showing that you treasure and it’s good to see that there’s a history to what we do. I see the festival as a broad church. This year the other key thing I’ve come to see is the retrospective of Alexandra Boulat.”

© John McDermott

Munem Wasif

“This is my first time at Visa and I think I’m the first Bangladeshi to exhibit at Visa,” said Munem Wasif, a young photographer with the agency VU. whose work on his native country is being exhibited at the festival. “This is one of the greatest moments in my life and it’s happening at the age of 25. It sounds really clichéd, but it’s a dream come true. It’s really hard for people in Bangladesh to come in and get the chance to work with big magazines and big newspapers. While I’m here I really want to see the exhibitions of Philip Blenkinsop, Stanley Greene and Paolo Pellegrin.”

Pablo Bartholomew from India is a World Press Photo winner and comes to Visa pour l’Image to be inspired by the work and simply meet people. “I like to run photographic workshops for young Indian photographers so I can help them to turn their thoughts into pictures.”

It was a welcoming and inspiring start to the week.

McDermott’s day

American photographer John McDermott shares his personal views of the festival:

I’d been anticipating last night for an entire year – more or less since the day I left Perpignan last September after experiencing my very first Visa pour l’Image. I had heard so much about the festival and it turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life as a photographer. So naturally I’ve really been looking forward to being here for this, the twentieth anniversary edition of Jean-François Leroy and his team’s creation that has become the signature international event in photojournalism.

As usual, things kicked off with a welcome drink and party at the Hotel Pams – the festival’s equivalent of Mission Control – with Jean-François Leroy and Sylvie Grumbach, who runs the Visa pour l'Image PR team, launching champagne corks into the air shortly after 6pm. The skies over Perpignan had been threatening rain all afternoon. As the corks popped we felt the first spots of rain. It was like it couldn’t wait too. Old acquaintances and new friends chatted into the evening over a drink about the attractions of this special week to come.

This year there will be an exciting mix of young and old, of legends and rising stars of photojournalism. Storied war photographers David Douglas Duncan and Horst Faas will be honoured with retrospectives. Also honoured will be Magnum photographer Paul Fusco, whose coverage of the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster and whose recently rediscovered images of the journey of Robert Kennedy’s funeral train for Look Magazine, will form part of my blog tomorrow. Paul’s presence here has special significance for me. As an aspiring photographer in San Francisco in the mid-Seventies, Paul was one of my heroes and was generous and helpful to me as I tried to find my footing in this profession. I had not seen him in a number of years and last night we had what was, for me, an emotional reunion. Paul is one of Jean-François’ favourite photographers and I’m glad he invited him for the twentieth edition.
Catch up with you tomorrow...

© Brent Stirton

Stirton to give away gorilla pictures

At a special event on 5 September, Brent Stirton, the Reportage by Getty Images photographer, will be signing 100 limited edition fine art prints of his famous picture of a dead silverback taken last year in the Virunga National Park, Congo. The prints of the iconic World Press Photo award-winning image have been produced on Canon’s PIXMA Pro9500 photo printer. Stirton will be giving away the prints on a first-come-first-served basis in the Canon space at the Palais des Congrès in Perpignan, France at 11am on Friday 5 September.

Highlights of the Pro Week

  • 30 exhibitions including work by David Douglas Duncan, Göksin Sipahioglu, Horst Faas, Nick Nichols and Paolo Pellegrin.
  • Announcement of awards include the Canon AFJ prize, the Getty Images grants, Visa d’Or and, for the first time, the Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Association award.
  • Nightly screenings at the atmospheric Campo Santo.
  • The first official gathering of Canon’s Ambassadors.
  • Photo shoots and Canon Professional Services (CPS) in the Canon space at the Palais des Congrès.

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