In July 2019 I visited Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival for the second time. The first time was by semi accident, the previous year. This time, the second time, was a planned trip and I brought my mum along to enjoy the wonder and delights of Arles.
When I first heard about Rencontres d’Arles I was annoyed I hadn’t heard about it sooner! How could I have been interested in photography for so long, yet never come across this beautiful town and amazing photography festival? I couldn’t wait to visit in 2018, loved returning in 2019 and was sad I couldn’t visit in 2020 – here’s to the summer of 2021! If I ever teach photography in the future, this will be my number one class trip. You can not help but be inspired when visiting and my words on it will not ever do it justice.
About the festival… “Every summer since 1970, over the course of more than forty exhibitions at various of the city’s exceptional heritage sites, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a major influence in disseminating the best of world photography and playing the role of a springboard for photographic and contemporary creative talents. In 2019, the festival welcomed more than 145 000 visitors.”
We bought the ‘all exhibition’ pass, which meant we could visit anything and everything that was on the festival schedule. If you have a good few days to explore, I highly recommend this option. Three full days was long enough for us, as it was a ridiculously hot summer – closing in on 36 degrees most days. We stayed in an excellent Airbnb in the centre of town, which was great to retreat to during the middle of the day. If you are interested click here to see it, we highly recommend it.
The final two photographs in this collection are taken back in the U.K. My sisters came to rescue us from hours on replacement bus services – it was the summer where the trains couldn’t cope with the heat and the country ground to a halt.
Thanks must go to my mum for being a brilliant model when centuries year old doors and churches needed a human to make the picture pop! This blog is a photographic journal of our mini adventure.
P.S. For the photography enthusiasts reading this… I only bring my Fuji XT2 camera and 23mm lens when I travel for fun. I like pushing myself to use a different camera and compared to the Canon that I work with for paid work, it makes me do exactly that. Someone once told me that the Fuji’s are a ‘poor mans Leica’, but that they used one all the time for their everyday photographs. This camera bridges the gap between photographs you would have taken on your phone but may have been disappointed in the quality and impractical full-frame camera. This of course pushed me, even more, to invest in it. I can also get away with looking like a tourist when travelling, which I love. Who wants to carry a heavy camera round in 36-degree heat!