OCA Visit to Arles Photography Festival September 2013 : Part 1

1: Beginning


Golden stone soaking heat

Cobbled street hard on feet.

Baking sun sears my eyes and stamps its image on my brain.


Ancient city.

Crowds throng to see and hear the ritual bulls and pounding horses hooves,

Whilst I retreat to corrugated ruins of sheds where once the workmen toiled their keep.

They house a different breed.

Rows on row of captive  moments seek my gaze

And jostle a kaleidoscope for me

We left London at 10.25am and arrived at Arles station at 7.22pm. “Let’s walk”, said Gareth, “It’s only over there”, pointing towards the next bridge. My suitcase rumbled along the cobbles like a miniature cart and there were Rob and Amano sitting in the hotel -waiting to welcome us. We’d arrived! At last! An animated meal and night’s sleep later, we all met together the next morning. “What do you want to get from the weekend?” was the question.

What I wanted was to gain the sense (again) of being part of a wider community (an international one at that). The opportunity to renew, reinforce and form new relationships. To see photographs in more unusual settings and in different forms of presentation.  I wanted to think about how the presentation affected my viewing – how did it draw me through the frame. I wanted to be surprised, enthralled.

This is just a taste of Arles

and also to show how engaged we were in this medium of photography – gazing; thinking; resting; talking and reflecting.

It was hot and I was exhausted at times, but the need to engage and be involved kept me going. The company was wonderful.

I won’t be itemizing everything I saw but picking up on particular aspects, themes that struck me. Onwards to Sugimoto, family photographs; looking at some representations of childhood, and realizing how much the Bechers have indirectly influenced me as they’ve passed down their way of looking at things through other photographers.

12th September 2013