We are nearly all photographers now, thanks to cheap digital imaging via compact cameras, tablets and Smart phones.

Photojournalism, however, is more than just taking a photo – it is about telling a story, recording an event, getting a message across.

Visa pour l’Image features exhibitions by some of the world’s leading documentary photographers, as well as up-and-coming professionals and skilled amateurs (through the “OFF” programme of fringe events in local cafés, shops and other spaces).


visa 2016 paco

Paco, a new and highly-addictive drug, is sweeping through the ghettos and shanty towns of South America. This exhibition follows the cocaine-based drug from las cocinas (the kithens), the production laboratories, through the hands of the traffickers and into the lives of its victims, who are mostly teenagers.
© Valerio Bispuri

Between Saturday 27th  August – Sunday 11th September, there will be  free exhibitions around Perpignan. Unfortunately, the delightful  evening shows, events projected on a giant screen amidst the graceful arcades of the Campo Santo, the largest and oldest funeral cloister in France, have been cancelled for security reasons.

Varied and fascinating, the exhibitions give us an insight into the year’s news from all around the world.

Each individual photographer has an emotionally touching story to tell, images of our troubled times, but amongst the horrors of war and natural disaster are tales of hope and a glimpse of the quirky side of life.



Elephants have always been threatened by the greed of humans but recently, several of Africa’s most ferocious terrorist organisations have turned to the illegal ivory trade as a soure of funding. This report documents the violence subjected onto these majestic creatures and reveals the wider ramifications within local communities.
© Brent Stirton/ Getty Images

And what a great way to explore and enjoy Perpignan, as you wander from venue to venue in this historic centre.

Hotel Pams in the Rue Emile Zola is the meeting place for all the press photographers. It was Pierre Bardou of JOB cigarette paper fame who bought it and several surrounding houses in the 1850s.

The Tourist Office in Perpignan offers tours of these beautiful old “hotels particuliers” or, during VISA you could pop your head around the door, for a glimpse of the wealth of Perpignan a century ago.

During the Middle Ages Perpignan was blessed with any number of monasteries. Almost all religious orders were well represented. Many are now used for exhibitions and concerts. In the 15th century Couvent des Minimes, photographic excellence is on show on the walls of the old monk’s dormitories, the grand corridors, the kitchens, the cloisters and courtyard with parasols…. and photographers taking a welcome break from the troubled world represented within.

Couvent des Minimes

Move on to the nearby Chapelle des Dominicains, where the photographs are hung on long wires, almost dwarfed by the height and beauty of their surroundings.

Part of the Cloisters was sold to the army in the XVIII century and was, until recently, the base of the French Foreign Legion. Now, throughout the year, it is used as a venue for art and antique fairs, festivals and events.

A small courtyard joins the Chapelle Ste Dominique to another VISA venue, the Chapelle du Tiers-ordre, full of dramatic 19th century art. The notorious “Trabucayres”, Catalan highwaymen who terrorised the roads of the Albères in the mid 19th century, were tried and condemned to death or hard labour here.


Place de la Revolution Française
Place de la Revolution Française

Take some time out in the dappled shade of tall plane trees, by the lizard fountain in the Place de la Revolution Française before continuing your tour. The city walls built by Vauban are no more, but the XIV century Castillet remains. Originally built as a fortress, it now houses a museum of Roussillon Folk Art and is another VISA venue.

After enjoying the photographs, pop up to the crenulated terrace, added to support cannons, and survey the plain of Roussillon, with the spectacular views it affords over the city, the plain and Canigo. Pick up a programme with handy exhibition map at the Tourist Office.

For more details visit www.visapourlimage.com

Leave a Comment