FotoInMotion In Perpignan: Reinventing And Reinforcing Photojournalism

FotoInMotion In Perpignan: Reinventing And Reinforcing Photojournalism

By Clement Saccomani/NOOR and Jeff Israely/Worldcrunch

For more than three decades, the French city of Perpignan has hosted the singular “can’t-miss” rendez-vous for international photojournalism: Visa pour L’Image festival. The 2007 edition was also the moment where FotoInMotion partner NOOR was first launched, announcing to the world its vision for finding new ways to tell stories and a commitment to uphold the long-established mission of photojournalism.  

NOOR managing director Clement Saccomani has been coming for 15 years, dating back to his own start as a freelance photographer and his previous post as editorial director of the Magnum photo agency. Fellow FotoInMotion partner, Worldcrunch editor Jeff Israely, spent years as a print journalist alongside some of the world’s top photographers at TIME magazine, but he had never been to Visa before this year’s 31st edition the first week of September.

Clement Saccomani and Jeff Israely representing FotoInMotion at Visa pour L’Image 2019.

Saccomani and Israely both see FotoInMotion as an opportunity to see how digital technology and storytelling can help give new life to that same mission of photojournalism. In between meetings with other industry players at Visa about the development of the project, the pair sat down together at a cafe in Perpignan, where Israely asked Saccomani to explain more about the festival and the current state of photojournalism. 

ISRAELY: For an agency like NOOR, why has Visa pour L’Image been so important?
SACCOMANI: Perpignan has been the only place where you knew that all the important actors of the industry from around the world would show up. So it’s a great moment for photographers to show the work that is still unpublished, but also to meet clients, colleagues and also the next generation of photojournalists and storytellers. It’s a moment to to learn and share, and network. 

How has the festival changed in recent years?
There are more and more new digital actors and software manufactures, and fewer media. There are more photographers, though fewer established top pros are coming every year like they used to. Technology has made the festival less important for some, but more important for others. 

What do you say about the criticism that the festival has not evolved enough with the changing technology, that it’s remained basically the same, focused almost entirely on displaying still photographs?
Most photographers today are not only working in still images from a camera, but also producing moving images, using drones and their smartphones. There has to be room for this, to support new ways of doing journalism and support the creative process of video production for photojournalists.  NOOR photographers, Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen, completed a major project last year on the Arctic, which was the first time we reached 40% of our revenue from video.

I was impressed with how big the crowds have been at Visa, which seems to defy all the doom and gloom about the state of photojournalism, particularly economically. 
There is real growing infatuation with photography, and with journalism more generally, which you see in exhibitions and a festival like this. What I like so much about FotoInMotion is that it’s a tool to try to allow photojournalism to convert that interest and experience outside of physical exhibit space and into our regular consumption of content in the digital space. 

Lead image: From Yuri Kozyrev’s Revolution Road series that won the Visa D’Or top prize at the 2011 Visa pour L’Image.
© Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR

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