Visa pour l’Image 2017: 60 hours in 60 seconds

An exhibition of photojournalist Ed Kashi’s work at Visa pour l’Image 2017 by Paul Hackett.

As Professional Week at the Visa pour l’Image 2017 concludes, we reflect on the trends and highlights from the 29th edition of the festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France.

For the 28th year running, Canon has partnered with Visa to bring visitors to the festival exhibitions, workshops, reviews and talks that aim to shape and inspire the photojournalists of tomorrow.

Here are five highlights and trends from Visa pour l’Image 2017.

1. Live for the story

Witnessing the exhibitions on display at Visa pour l’Image, that covered a myriad of situations in different places, all with unique perspectives, one thing came across: storytelling is at the heart of photojournalism. Beautiful pictures are important, but so is having a clear vision about what you want to say and why. “When you’re telling someone what your work means to you, it’s a powerful experience,” Huck Magazine Editor-in-Chief Andrea Kurland told us when conducting portfolio reviews at the festival.

Northern spotted owl in California, in 2008. Nick Nichols had a mouse on top of his Canon 5D Mk III – a researcher was using the mice to attract owls, so that they could be counted.

2. Nick Nichols’ live Q&A

“You can’t move a pixel. Photography is supposed to represent something that happened,” said former National Geographic Editor-at-Large Nick Nichols – a point he reiterated when answering questions during our live Twitter Q&A, @CanonProNetwork. But, during the festival, digital manipulation was just one of many concerns raised by photographers about keeping their work true to the subject. In interviews, at panel discussions and informal conversations, they stressed the need to maintain integrity in an era when fake news threatens the public’s faith.

Canon Female Photojournalist Award 2017 winner Catalina Martin-Chico proposed the continuation of this series documenting the baby boom amongst FARC fighters in Colombia.

3. Canon Female Photojournalist Award 2017

Dreamers, an exhibition of 2016 Canon Female Photojournalist Award winner Darcy Padilla’s powerful new work, was on display in the Canon Experience Zone at the Palais des Congrès and at the Église des Dominicains. Dreamers reveals the devastation alcohol and methamphetamine abuse has wrought on the community of Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Meanwhile, 2017’s Canon Female Photojournalist Award winner Catalina Martin-Chico talked us through her plans to report on a baby boom amongst hundreds of former FARC fighters previously banned from getting pregnant. “Photojournalism is precarious. This award gives me the strength and faith to go forward,” she said.

Mike Burnhill mans the Canon Professional Services clean and check desk at Visa pour l’Image 2017.

4. Canon Professional Services (CPS)

At Visa pour l’Image, Canon Professional Services has been working hard to check and clean over 340 Canon photographers’ cameras brought to the stand. But the service isn't just show-specific. Since it was launched nearly 20 years ago, CPS members with qualifying products have relied upon the repair network. “For a camera company to support you in a time of crisis – and to get you not just any gear, but the exact gear that you’re requesting, overnight – is pretty spectacular,” said videographer and photographer Stephanie Sinclair, who benefitted from CPS sending her replacement camera gear when her kit went missing while she was on her way to an assignment in Kenya. Read Sinclair’s story here.

Students taking part in the student programme run by Canon in partnership with Magnum Photos. It included talks, workshops and portfolio reviews.

5. The future of photojournalism

In these turbulent times, the world needs photojournalists more than ever so it’s vital that we nurture the next generation. In partnership with Magnum Photos, Canon ran workshops, lectures and portfolio reviews for 200 students from across Europe in the Canon Student Programme. “There is stuff happening everywhere and people want to know what’s going on,” said Timothy Haccius, a student at Center Vocational De Vevey in Switzerland. “If there is nobody to document it or tell the story, then it’s as if it never existed.” The passion, drive and talent of Haccius and his contemporaries left us in no doubt that those stories that need to be told, will be.

Written by Rachel Segal Hamilton