Arles hosts the biggest and most prestigious photography festival in the world and has done so every year since 1969. I spent most of the day looking at documentary photography in 10 galleries across Arles by 10 international artists.
I was captivated from the first photo. Storytelling is a powerful way to learn about people and culture. I love how an image can evoke a story and take you into people’s worlds. The quote a picture is worth 1000 words is true and what is great is everyone can be moved in different ways.
Photography doesn’t need a translator. I saw photography from countries all over the world and in some cases I was in people’s lounge rooms, in their bedrooms, observing their daily routines. Photography helps you see the uniqueness of humans it makes us curious and reminds us of our similarities.
In a couple of the exhibitions, the photographer was present. In one I was the only person there and the photographer talked me through her process. These were photos of her childhood, photoshopped and cropped interlaced with poetry. They were moving. I liked listening to her story. I also enjoyed exhibitions where the photographer wasn’t present and I didn’t know or understand the process I just felt the power of the image and let it evoke emotions inside of me.
I enjoyed the exhibition of people in Sicily as I had recently visited there. The photos showed everyday people and how they were impacted by the Mafia. Even though I had read about the impact of the mafia in Sicily the photos deepened my understanding. Photos are great at evoking emotions, especially compassion – all without saying a word. That is the power of an image as the photo doesn’t tell you what to think you are moved by your emotions and they make you want to respond.
I left feeling inspired and motivated to do something creative.