Mr President of the Regional Council, Mr Deputy, Mr Minister, Mr Vice President of the Bouches-du-Rhône General Council, Delegate for Culture, Mr Mayor of Arles, Vice President of the Bouches-du-Rhône General CouncilMr President of the Arles Meetings, Mr Minister, Mr Director of the Meetings, Dear Friends of the LUMA Foundation, Dear Maja Hoffmann,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends,

I am particularly pleased to be here with you today, in Arles, and
first for a personal reason. It is that these new Encounters are
a bit for me as a birthday, that of my very first trip
as Minister of Culture and Communication. I am
a little moved. But more deeply, beyond the game of dates and returns of the
calendar, I am moved and happy to be among you because in my eyes, Arles
is one of the places in France that best corresponds to my conception of the
culture, what I call, as you know, “culture for everyone”.
Why does this “culture for everyone” ideal feel so much at home in
Well, first I think it’s because there may not be a city in
our country, which knows how to better associate and articulate the
the richest heritage and the most innovative creation. Yet, this interlacing
happy of heritage and imagination is one of the challenges of the culture for
to the extent that each of the bridges between the past and the future
is also a way to the public. “Culture for everyone” is anything but
a form of cultural schizophrenia that would result in two intimidations in
mirror: that of the all-old and that of the too-modern.
And precisely, no city better than Arles is at the same time a heritage jewel outside
and at the same time knows how to dialogue the strata
of its historic development – the Roman heritage, the depth
medieval meditations whose stones keep the memory, the beauty
and paradoxical of the industrial age – with the modernity embodied by
excellence the photographic art, insofar as it was the first to give
such an important place in technology.

However, photography has, for some years now, been in full swing
expansion and revolution, precisely by virtue of its inscription
necessary and enabling in the evolving space of new technologies.
In this way, it meets another priority issue of my “mandate”, the
which is a real revolution for all our sectors
of culture and communication, and is one of the main vectors
of “culture for everyone” by virtue of its extraordinary
creativity and renewal, as well as its exceptional potential in
terms of dissemination of images, knowledge and works.
“Culture for everyone” because, by digital still more than before:
even if the silver and the polaroid already carried in them this popularity –
photography is art particularly open to amateur practice and
is part of this belief that culture must not only have
believers – who fervently attend his High Masses – but also
its practitioners, more humble perhaps, but who are the relays of
innovations and the breeding ground of artistic sensibility. There is undoubtedly also,
at a certain level, an evidence of the seeing which benefits the photograph
as art and as practice, even if this evidence does not obscure, well
the subtleties that innervate and more or less secretly structure the
beautiful surface of the image of the «film» and its digital avatars;
as Nietzsche said, nothing is deeper than
that the skin».
“Culture for everyone”, finally, because these Meetings are
examples of a «capital» event that does not take place in the
capital… And yet didn’t need a specific program
This is a local company whose success has been
national and even global is so acquired that it is no longer even
necessary to specify in the name that these are Meetings
«international» of photography: everyone knows that a «colloquium
is a place where one or two Belgian friends or
an “American in Paris”, and 99% French… – I’m kidding
naturally! In short, the Rencontres d'Arles is a model of success
an international cultural operation in the region, an emanation and a
construction of artists, ediles and inhabitants that meets the interest
In more than forty years, the State and the
the attention of the greatest philanthropists. In this regard, I naturally want to
very warmly thank my friend Maja HOFFMANN and her
LUMA Foundation, which has put its passion and generosity at the service
of these Meetings to which she believes more than any other, and appeal to
to give a new face to these Workshops which are a
the laboratory of the photographer of tomorrow. I also see that the
photography is, thanks to you, succeeding in its mutation and entering
in the era of the great poles, which is precisely the form
excellence that the international dimension is currently taking. It
transforms the attempt of pluridisciplinarity by opening up to others
areas, including publishing and fully benefiting from its
anchor in the city of translation and the most open house can be
to the literatures of the world, I mean of course the editions
Actes Sud.
So, I will not detail the very rich program of these Meetings
that we have the pleasure of opening together today. I know
that they are placed under the sign of profusion and walk, six
wanderings – more artistic than monastic! – that invite us,
in a freedom all holiday and almost truant, to a
encounter of photography in all its states.

Today we have already had the joy of discovering some of the
these wonderful images that pop up and pull you by the sleeve
almost every street corner. This profusion, this requirement and this
This event is unique in the world.
And that’s good because I consider photography as one of the
major heritage and creative issues that I entrusted to a member of
my firm to personally follow the «Mission of photography»
which I created last March and which I reserve the first to freshness
tomorrow morning at my press conference. I hope, in
now a little “suspense”, give a little “spice” to my
speech and avoid, as much as possible, being too “heavy” in
being too long…
That’s it. Thank you for your attention, and I wish you all
each of beautiful walks and excellent meetings.