This small town symbolized the archetype of pastoral American life. Yet this idyllic place was also held hostage by a dark past, manifesting in the racial tensions that scar much of American history.
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.
The Rencontres d’Arles (formerly known as the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles) is a summer photography festival founded in 1970 by Arles photographer Lucien Clergue, author Michel Tournier and historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette.
The Rencontres d’Arles’ policy of programming, almost exclusively consisting of new work, has earned a world-wide reputation.
The exhibitions, often co-produced with both French and foreign museums and institutions, are given on various heritage sites, suitably stage-designed for the purpose.
Many photographers have been discovered as a result of the Rencontres; a sure sign of the festival’s importance as a springboard for photographic and contemporary creative talent.