Monday, July 14, 2014

Arles 2014 - A Disaster?

The Paris based L'Oeil de la Photographie pulled no punches in its take on Arles 2014.

The name of this year’s festival was “Parade.” The fatal mistake is right there in the title. A parade is festive, friendly, flamboyant. But this parade was a motley commemoration of a few nostalgic veterans celebrating a soldier whose name isn’t even unknown: François Hébel.
And, really, we’ve had enough of these veterans: enough Martin Parr, enough Raymond Depardon, enough Christian Lacroix, enough Erik Kessels. They’re all great, but their ubiquity has become unbearable. At this rate, if Hébel and the festival weren’t parting ways, then next year’s edition would have featured Martin Parr’s cookbook, Raymond Depardon’s garden gnomes and Christian Lacroix’s children’s toys.

You can read the full story HERE.

And a last word from Sean O'Hagan writing in The Observer. You can read his complete review HERE.

Again, though, it is photography's former functions that are at the heart of this exhibition. The archival shot, the found photograph and the vernacular image continue to exert a hold on our imagination at a time when, as the Discovery award selection shows, much contemporary photography has become obsessed with the conceptual process. François Hébel departs for new ground at an interesting time for the discipline of curation as well as photography. I wish him luck, and hope the festival that he did so much to reinvent and revitalise continues to flourish.

Finally, the British Journal of Photography has their say - the highs and lows - HERE.

François Hébel's last stand

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