3 days of sounds and fury, signifying nothing. To paraphrase Shakespeare, this represent Perpignan Visa pour L’image this year. Only a quarter of the crowd of the previous year, less then half the booth of agencies, a paparazzi agency replacing Grazia Neri’s legendary location and a couple of citizen journalist agency present. As nightly projection continue to display images of dismembered human beings with more violence and gore than a Tarantino movie, the real sign of a massacre was around the agencies booths. And like those settlers being attacked by nasty Indians in those old westerns, a lot of photo agencies seem to regroup to better protect and defend themselves.
While one side the continued to cry about the forever death of photojournalism kept on wailing, the other was counting its recent wounds : 30% drop in prices, subscriptions model by Getty pushing every country into a pathetic price war, the economy, always the economy, all were recurrent themes of conversation. But, interestingly enough, the mood was happy, jovial, optimistic . Even as the “depot de Bilan” of Gamma/Eyedea was the talk of the town and scores of major photo agencies, like Reuters, did not make it in the Palais, no one seemed quite down. Quite the opposite. Many countries are seeing photo agencies, once major competitors to each other, regrouping in co-ops, holdings, associations in order to better defeat the ravaging beast and its Attila the Hun inspired pricing model : Getty images.
At the same time, many photogrpahers have seemingly dropped their photo agency and have gone solo, with quite a success.
And after deals were done, while the Palais du festival was closing under a clement sun and promises of successes to come, the photo exhibit were invaded by non professionals waiting in line to see the recent crop of images. Callie ‘s images of Obama were probably the most popular, not only because they are spectacular, but certainly also because Obama himself is an object of fascination to the French population.
Consolidation, mergers, groups, holdings were certainly the key words this year in the hallways of the Palais while optimism and creativity was the buzz word at the Cafe de La Poste, the fame location of the evening’s traditional bacchanal. Seems this Perpignan was the most lively and encouraging in many, many years.