Mitch Epstein

Exhibition Les Rencontres d’Arles

© Mitch Epstein

Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s premier multi-venue photography festival returns to the southern French town for the 53rd time this summer.

─── by Josh Bright, July 5, 2022
  • Featuring a myriad of forward-thinking exhibitions, headlined by American photographer Mitch Epstein, whose color depictions of India, captured between 1978 and 1989, will grace the halls of the 12th-century Montmajour Abbey.

    Mitch Epstein, color photo of family in car, photography, India
    Mitch Epstein. Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, India, 1981. Courtesy Black River Productions, Ltd. / Galerie Thomas Zander / Mitch Epstein

    Other highlights include 100 prints by local photographer and festival co-founder Lucien Clergue and a collection of previously unseen works by influential, London-based, Ghanian photographer, James Barnor. Irish photographer Tom Wood, brings his forthright and at times, humor-tinged depictions of everyday life on the streets of Liverpool, to the Centre de Photographie, whilst Klavdij Sluban will fill the Espace Olympus at the Hôtel d’Arlatan with his absorbing, enigmatic monochrome images. 

    Black & white photography by Lucien Clergue
    Lucien Clergue. Draga in a Polka Dot Dress, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1957. Courtesy of the Atelier Lucien Clergue.
    Color photography portrait by James Barnor, Accra 1972
    James Barnor, Sophia Salomon, daughter of James Barnor’s landlord, Accra, circa 1972. Courtesy of the artist.

    Like a River, Daniel Jack Lyons’ series of portraits of queer and trans youth in the Brazilian Amazon, will be on display at the gothic, Église des Frères Prêcheurs. Frida Orupabo’s How Fast Shall We Sing, in which the Nigerian-Norwegian artist deconstructs the violence, racism, and pervasive stereotypes that underpin historical depictions of black women, will be on display at, La Mécanique Générale.

    Color photography by Tom Wood, two women in dresses from behind, 1980s
    Tom Wood. Back cover, 1986, Looking for Love series. Courtesy the artist.
    Daniel Jack Lyons. Wendell in Drag, July 2019, Like a river series. Courtesy Loose Joints and the artist.
    Black & white photography collage by Frida Orupabo
    Frida Orupabo. Two heads, collage with paper pins, 2022. Courtesy of the artist / Galerie Nordenhake

    Group exhibitions include, But Still, it Turns, which features work from some of the finest visual storytellers of today, including English photographer Vanessa Winship with her critically acclaimed, It Dances on Jackson; Gregory Halpern’s award-winning observations of Southern California: ZZYZX, and Oscar-nominated director Romell Ross’ eponymous series on Alabama’s Hale County. Free from constructed narrative these bodies of work subvert the traditional documentary style, and together provide a nuanced portrait of contemporary life in the United States.

    Black & white portrait photography by Vanessa Winship, man and youth in suits.
    Vanessa Winship. From the series She dances on Jackson, 2013, part of But Still, it Turns. Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

    To Heal a World, at the Palais de l’Archevêché brings together more than 600 images from the underexplored photographic archives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, from 1850 onwards. The work of some of the most prominent names in modern photography, including numerous Magnum members, is presented alongside those captured by humanitarian workers, in order to explore humanitarian imagery and more broadly, the complexities of work in the field.

    Color photography by Boris Heger, Food distribution site, Abata, Sudan
    Boris Heger. Food distribution site, Abata, Sudan, 2006. © ICRC.
    Portrait photography, black and white, Chile
    Ritual Inhabitual. Paul Filutraru, Rapper in the group Wechekeche ñi Trawün, Santiago de Chile, 2016. Courtesy of the artists.
    Landscape photography, forest, Chile
    Ritual Inhabitual. Geometric Forests series, Chile, 2018. Courtesy of the artists.

    Ritual Inhabitual at the Chapelle Saint-Martin Du Méjan, narrates the struggle of the Mapuche (“people of the earth”) for biodiversity in their native Araucania, Southern Chile. Set against a backdrop of rising violence between nationalist organizations, industrialist private militias, and the army’s special anti-terrorist forces, fueled by exploitation and trafficking of resources, it narrates the Mapuche’s spiritual fight against the forces of capital and raises questions on consumption and monocultures.

    Color documentary photography by Curran Hatleberg, family gathering, USA
    Curran Hatleberg. From the series Lost Coast, 2016, part of But Still, it Turns. Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

    As always, the exhibitions will be accompanied by a diverse program of talks and workshops, along with the portfolio review that was first launched in 2006, and returns during the opening week, offering photographers the opportunity to have their portfolios assessed by leading industry experts. In addition, France PhotoBook will host a book fair at the heart of the festival, featuring over 50 publishers from more than 15 countries across the globe.

    Les Rencontres d'Arles 2022 - poster

    The 53rd Rencontres d’Arles runs from July 4 – September 25, 2022.
    For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

    All images © their respective owners