Image © Jean-Pierre Laffont.
Visa Pour l'Image is coming back to Perpignan, but an increasing number of photo agencies are skipping the show, Corbis being the latest one to withdraw its support. BJP speaks with festival director Jean-François Leroy
For one week each year, the Palais des Congrès in Perpignan becomes the centre of the photojournalism community, with agencies such as Getty Images, Agence VU, Cosmos, Sipa, Agence France-Presse and many other collectives opening their doors to young photographers.
This year, however, Visa Pour l'Image has lost the support of one of the world's biggest photo agencies – Corbis. As first revealed by La Lettre, and confirmed to BJP, Corbis, which is said to make more than $250m in licensing fees each year, has cancelled its stand, which costs €11,500.
But Corbis is not the only agency to shun the Palais des Congrès. Leading photography collectives such as Magnum Photos, VII Photo and Noor pulled out years ago.
Speaking with Olivier Laurent in the festival's official interview, Jean-François Leroy said: "We have to be realistic. It made sense for them to be there when there were clients with large budgets. Where are these clients today? That's the main question."
When asked whether these agencies had a responsibility to meet with and help young photojournalists, Leroy said: "They will tell you they're not here to see young photographers. I find this revolting. When an agency uses this excuse, I want to tell them to stay home.
"Photographers such as Rémi Ochlik, Guillaume Herbaut, Robin Hammond and Corentin Fohlen were discovered here. I'm not going to waste my time caring for these agencies. I prefer to use my time to help photographers. I don't understand how agencies such as Noor, Magnum and Corbis can tell me they don't have money, while other agencies such as VU, Cosmos, Sipa, AFP, AP, EPA, Polaris, etc, still believe in Visa's importance."
Visa Pour l'Image's professional week kicks off on 03 September. For more details, visit visapourlimage.com.
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