This year Arles had no overall theme, instead it was 35 exhibitions that suggested relationships, allowed identifications and encouraged audiences to discover and follow the developments in contemporary and historical photography. The festival this year provided a unique celebration and exchange of photography and promoted artistic practices. It took the essence of what a festival is; a multiform, public, risky, artistic dialogue that communicates, facilitates and expands experiences.
Exhibitions continue to be curated in the most wonderful spaces from churches, museums, palaces and hotels to industrial and derelict buildings. As if to reaffirm its place at the very centre of photography internationally, and as one of the most important events in the global calendar, exhibitions revisited some of the most important practitioners from the history of photography, provided new opportunities for the most exciting emerging photographers and invited world class curators to participate including Simon Baker, David Campany, Martin Parr and Sam Stourdze.
Highlights for me included Walker Evans ‘Anonymous’ which focussed on his little known and seen print work, in particular Labor Anonymous (Fortune) and Rapid Transit (The Cambridge Review); the first European retrospective of Stephen Shore which included work from his American Surfaces and Uncommon Places series; Olivier Cablat’s Duck, A Theory of Evolution, Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti’s The Heavens, Annual Report and Natasha Caruana’s Love at First Sight.