Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Les Rencontres D'Arles

Prior to Swan suggesting we meet in the South of France
before going to Barcelona on holiday
I had never heard of the annual photography festival in Arles.
Every summer since 1969, this Provencal town has been the meeting place for the fine art photography community.
 Last year, 100,000 curators, researchers, collectors
and enthusiasts made the pilgrimage.

Even without a festival, this ancient walled city on the banks of the Rhone is quite extraordinary.
The famous light and 17th century architecture inspired Van Gogh and Gauguin to set up residency.
I see the tortured genius' thick brushstrokes
in fields of sunflowers and the ochre walls of a sidewalk cafe.
It is here his madness lead to a severed ear and near death at the local hospital.
Today, Arles' layered history has a refined veneer and provides a  magical backdrop to
the evolving field of contemporary photography.
One of my favorite aspects of the festival is the unique venues, twenty five in all.
Thick stone walls, vaulted ceilings, stain glass windows juxtaposed with visual narratives. 
This morning we took a shuttle to a majestic11th century abbey on the outskirts of town.
Tomorrow, a defunct 1840s rail yard, home to Gehry's LUMA Foundation's new resource building,
is on the itinerary. 

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