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  • JR


    "28 millimètres", an exhibition of the work of French photographer JR. Arles, July 2007. © Anne-Christine Poujoulat – AFP

  • Daniela Rossell

    Daniela Rossell

    Exhibition of the work of Mexican photographer Daniela Rossell. Arles, July 2011. © Gérard Julien – AFP

Founded in 1970 by photographer Lucien Clergue, writer Michel Tournier and historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette, the Arles photography festival, les Rencontres d'Arles, has become a festival of international reference. This is thanks to its programme composed of essentially unseen works, unearthed over the years by numerous photographers, which are unveiled every summer.

The presence of many foreign professionals in the opening week confirms the importance of the festival as a springboard for many photographers and artists.


Every year, the three objectives remain the same: to come up with new processes, to be aware of the use of new techniques and to offer new concepts in photographic exhibition and a genuine connection with the image.


Every summer, the programme draws on the points of view of around 20 experts in various fields. An artist may even be entrusted with part of the programming: Martin Parr in 2004, Raymond Depardon in 2006, Christian Lacroix in 2008 and Nan Goldin in 2009.


Featuring over 60 exhibitions – often co-produced in collaboration with both French and foreign museums and institutions – held on various heritage sites throughout the city, the festival aspires to be a melting pot of contemporary photographic creation and also to contribute to the transmission of world photographic heritage.