Les Rencontres d’Arles 2008

Pieter Hugo was born in 1976 in South Africa were he lives and works.

Five professionals from different countries and different photographic fields – Elisabeth Biondi, Caroline Issa and Masoud Golsorkhi, Nathalie Ours, Carla Sozzani, Luis Venegas – have each been invited by Christian Lacroix to designate three photographers to exhibit at the Rencontres as candidates for the Discovery Award.

The Rencontres d’Arles Discovery Award goes to a photographer or an artist making use of photography whose work has been recently discovered internationally or deserves to be. The winner is chosen by a vote of photography professionals present in Arles during opening week and receives 25,000 €.


Hugo created the series, The Hyena and Other Men, while travelling in Nigeria with a troupe of animal charmers and their collection of tenuously domesticated hyenas, monkeys and snakes. The portraits feature groupings of man and animal surrounded by the barren urban centers of Nigeria. Captured during quiet moments between the spectacle of street performances, the photographs possess a stillness that subverts the tense physicality of animals and their trainers. Indeed, the complexity of the animal-trainer relationships – nuanced with struggles of power, ownership and affection – is fully at the surface of the work.


The Wild Honey Collectors series emerged from a period Pieter Hugo spent with a collective of workers in the forests of Ghana. Enshrined in cassava branches and plastic to protect themselves from stings, the men go about the process of smoking out the bees in order to leave the honey unattended. In these portraits, the costumed figures amid the lushness of the forests possess a theatricality that exotically distracts from the exigency of their pursuit.


Exhibition presented at the Grande Halle.


Above: Video Interview with Pierre Gonnard another artist at Arles produced by Fotovision


Below: Reposted from Lens Culture Magazine

Each year, in the heat of summer, photography lovers descend on the quaint town of Arles in the South of France for a week-long celebration. Photography is shown everywhere — in old churches and Roman ruins, abandoned factories and hotel lobbies, government buildings and exquisite chateaus… everywhere you go! You can see photos projected at night on impromptu screens hanging in flower gardens, and on the walls of narrow alleyways, and pasted as illegal billboards wherever there’s a flat surface.

The yearly event has become like a vast summer camp for adults, where you can eat and drink well, enjoy boundless art, and catch up with your like-minded friends from all over the world.

The main curator for the 2008 event comes from the world of fashion, Christian Lacroix. However the biggest buzz is usually generated around the “discoveries” proposed by a handful of experts — and this year’s discoveries look particularly promising. These are the cutting edge artists who are invited because their work deserves to be seen, not because it fits a theme.

Lens Culture is pleased to present 81 preview picks from the broad range of work you can expect to see at the main venues in Arles this year. If you have a broadband connection, check out the big screen, high-resolution slide show. Enjoy!

— Jim Casper

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