Madam Minister, dear Françoise,

Dear Renaud MUSELIER, President of the Regional Council,

Madam President of the Departmental Council, dear Martine VASSAL,

Dear Hervé SCHIAVETTI, Mayor of Arles,

Ladies and gentlemen elected,

Mr. Chairman, dear Hubert VÉDRINE,

Mr General Manager, dear Sam STOURDZÉ,

Dear Aurélie DE LANLAY,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

 

First of all, I want to say how pleased I am to be here to celebrate the anniversary of the Rencontres d'Arles with you. With you: artists, audiences, elected officials, Encounters teams. It is thanks to you that Encounters are what they are. They would be nothing without their audience. They would be nothing without the photographers. They would be nothing, either, without those who work for months to make each edition a success: dear Hubert VÉDRINE, dear Sam STOURDZÉ, dear Aurélie DE LANLAY, and all those who accompany you. They would be nothing, finally, without the tireless commitment of the communities – you the first, dear Hervé SCHIAVETTI – without the commitment of the public authorities, their partners. We owe the longevity of the Encounters to you.

In fifty editions, you have made it an unmissable event.   Yes: the horizon of the Meetings is both a deep anchorage in this city, in this land, in this region to which they have given so much; but it is also the aspiration to a form of universal.

Because the Beauty of the photographs you exhibit, and the Beauty of the setting in which you present them, that Beauty, we cannot keep to ourselves. It deserves to be shared with the world.

That was not the original ambition of the Encounters – far from it. But life sometimes takes unexpected turns.

It was originally just a “buddy moment”; you made it a must-see photography event.

I am thinking of them today: Lucien CLERGUE, Michel TOURNIER, and especially Jean-Maurice ROUQUETTE.

If someone had told them, at the creation of the Encounters, that they would still be there, fifty years later, they probably would not have believed it. Yet here we are.

For half a century, the history of photography has been written with and by the Rencontres.

And we will do everything so that this story continues to be written. With, and through the Encounters. With, and always with, the support of the Ministry of Culture.

For the history of photography to continue to be written in Arles and in France, we must put artists at the heart of our cultural policies.

This policy of support for photography has many advantages.

We have an exceptional network of actors in France.

This is the result of sixty years of action by the Ministry of Culture and local authorities.

Sixty years of actions to structure a large presence of artists and their dissemination in the territory; to allow support for creation; and to accompany the structuring of the sector.

There is not a single country in the world that has such a network, such a wealth, such a chance.

This exceptional network of distribution structures has been strongly supported this year by 23 art centres to present works from the National Contemporary Art Fund.

On the theme of «Engagement», thanks to the work of the Diagonal Network, these exhibitions will witness, throughout France, the diversity and richness of photography through the national collections. Because we have quality national collections, but especially a French scene of extraordinary vitality.

An open stage, identified, recognized all over the world. The Encounters show it every year.

We owe this vitality to the tens of thousands of visual arts professionals who make up our country and contribute to its economic wealth.

Despite this influence, our policy must better target creators.

I measure the fragilities that affect the field of creation, especially the visual arts.

I measure the pauperization of photographers; the precariousness of their status; the decline of their income.

While the digital revolution has enabled the development of new modes of distribution, it has also been accompanied by a concentration of value in the hands of a few actors.

These are not dignified conditions to create. I want us to fix them.

And I want us to do so in consultation, exchange, and dialogue with those concerned. With photographers, and all the professionals of photography. In the past, they could be forgotten by our policies. We were interested in encouraging creation, without always involving creators. We were interested in developing a broadcasting network, without always involving those who feed it. We have taken an interest in structuring a sector, without always including those who constitute it.

I wish we could change our approach. That is the whole purpose of the National Council of Visual Arts Professions, which I installed a few days ago. It is intended to be a forum for dialogue between the Ministry of Culture and professionals. It must allow us to renew our support for the visual arts, to make it more effective, to adapt it to the reality of the professions. It must be a force for proposal: to evolve regulations, to promote the dissemination of innovative experiences, to exchange on good practices.

It is also the object of the Parliament of Photography, this forum for consultation set up by the Ministry of Culture, a forum for exchange and dialogue between the actors of the world of photography.

Regular meetings were held within the framework of several thematic working groups: on dissemination structures; on galleries; on the publishing of photography books. Initial restitution and exchanges will be organized in mid-September 2019, to understand and support this sector.

Its plenary session will be held in November. I hope that all the visual arts advisors from the regional cultural affairs directorates will be able to attend so that the concerns of photographers, agencies, galleries and publishers are widely shared within my department. Naturally, I will be very attentive to the recommendations made.

In addition to these necessary consultations, I want us to create better conditions for the profession of photographer. First, there must be better compensation. The right to public presentation is a first step. Habits must change.

The Ministry of Culture must take its part to make them evolve. Because a photographer cannot continue to exhibit his works for free.

Art centres and regional contemporary art funds have already committed themselves, by remunerating the artists exhibited under the right of public presentation.

The Rencontres also do this. I want to thank you, dear Hubert Védrine, dear Sam Stourdzé. It is now up to the State and its operators to set an example.

Fair remuneration for creators is also at the heart of the European Copyright Directive.

We will transpose it into the law on audiovisual regulation, which will be examined by Parliament at the very beginning of next year.

And in the PPL neighbouring rights of publishers and news agencies that returns to the Senate on Wednesday, we made sure to clarify that the photos were well covered by this right.

A living photograph cannot exist without a balanced sharing of value between the digital giants on the one hand and the creators, artists and authors on the other.

Improving the conditions for the practice of the profession also requires better recognition.

I hear the lack of recognition that photographers suffer, and more generally all artists-authors.

Today we must recognize their contribution to our society; we must identify the difficulties they face, but also the opportunities they have.

For this, I wanted to start a reflection on the author and the act of creation.

I entrusted a prospective mission on the subject to Bruno RACINE.

It must enable us to find the most favourable framework for the development of creation and cultural diversity in the coming years.

I wanted this reflection to be ambitious and realistic, concerted and open, multidisciplinary and prospective, at the service of all creators.

In this capacity, Bruno RACINE has set up a group of experts to provide a cross-section of perspectives on a creative economy whose diversity implies the sharing of analyses from different disciplines.

He’ll get back to me by the end of the year. In order for photographers to make a living from their profession, public commissions have a role to play.

I want to implement a proactive policy in this area. Let’s reinvigorate this mode of intervention! Let us meet communities that do not dare to embark on the project!

In this regard, we will soon publish a practical guide to artistic commissions for sponsors and artists.

Last year, the Ministry, through the National Center of Plastic Arts (CNAP), carried out a large national photographic commission: Flux, a society in motion ». The projects of the 15 artists will be presented this year at the Centre régional de la photographie in Douchy les Mines and at the Photaumnales de Beauvais festival.

Today I announce that the next national photographic commission will be carried by the Jeu de Paume, of which I want to greet the new director Quentin BAJAC.

I also want to mention the photographic commission of Regards du Grand Paris, carried by the Ateliers Médicis and the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP). It is an example of perfect cooperation between the State and local authorities. I hope that it will inspire others.As well as public commissions, artistic residencies – the importance of which was recalled by the President of the Republic – are a fundamental tool in the career of artists. I will be making announcements in the second half of July. But right now, I can tell you that I want to set up a new residency program: «Capsule».

It will strengthen the missions of art centers, make available artists, and will be based on a charter for a better reception of artists in places of production.

To accompany photography is to accompany it in all territories.

In order to guarantee territorial equity, the Ministry of Culture decided to support structures established in regions where the contribution of the State in favour of photography appeared the weakest.

Thus, 200,000€ of additional funding could be mobilized in 2019 for many venues or festivals: I think of the Quinzaine photographique Nantes. I’m thinking of Singular Image in Sète. I’m thinking of the Rencontres photographiques de Guyane.

We must improve the working conditions of the profession of photographer for all.

And above all, for all. As you know, equality between women and men was declared a major cause of the five-year term by the President of the Republic.

We are committed, with the government as a whole, with the Department of Culture, to making parity a reality.

In photography, as in all other arts, the work of women must have the same visibility as that of men. We are far from that. But we are on the right track. In this fight, I know I can count on the Rencontres d'Arles.

This year, they inaugurate two awards dedicated to women photographers and a research program on the place of women in the world history of photography. I want to say hello.

 

Accompanying photography is not just accompanying photographers. And the Rencontres know the importance of the photography book.

Structuring the actors in this part of the sector is essential. I therefore welcome the birth of the association «France Photo Book», which brings together publishers of photography books; and the Comité de liaison et d'action pour la photographie (CLAP), which brings together independent photographic agencies.

They will, I am sure, become important interlocutors for public authorities.

Accompanying photographers is not just accompanying them during their careers. It’s also about supporting them before, and after.

Before, when we train them. If we want the history of photography to continue for decades to come....

If we want others to celebrate the centenary of the Encounters in half a century… Then we must transmit the taste of photography.

We must give a desire to become a photographer; to awaken passions, to inspire vocations.

We must educate in the image. I therefore decided to renew in 2020 the artistic and cultural education system “Entre les images”, supported by the Diagonal network. Nearly 1,000 “by” and “with” photography education actions that have touched nearly 15,000 people in schools, but not only because arts education is for everyone and throughout life: in social centres, in hospitals, in a prison setting...

The new National Institute for Arts and Cultural Education, announced in June, which I and my colleagues in national education and higher education, will also build on this type of initiative and device to help train all actors in image arts and cultural education, and in particular photography. 

I am also pleased that the opening of the Meetings coincides with the inauguration of the new buildings of the National School of Photography, designed by Marc BARANI.

I will have the pleasure of opening them this afternoon.

It is there that the future exhibitors of the Meetings will be trained. They will sharpen their eyes, they will awaken their sensitivity. That they will learn, that they will grow, that they will create. Finally, accompany the photographers after their career is to protect our photographic heritage.

Because it is the birthplace of this art, France must conduct an exemplary policy in this area. The Ministry of Culture is fully engaged.

I am pleased to announce that we will support: the French Society of Photography for the launch of a magazine, Photographica, and the development of a new version of the Arago website, which will become a directory of photographic collections.

I decided, in order to make the most of these funds, to launch an annual publication to show the dynamism of the policies of acquisition of public institutions.

Its first volume will be published in November. In addition, the ministry’s Delegation for Photography has established: a National Committee for Photographic Heritage, and a working group on gifts and legacies.

They must ensure a perfect national coordination on this subject, and in particular facilitate the approaches of photographers and their rights holders in their donation projects.

This work is already bearing fruit: Denis BRIHAT, in a beautiful collaboration between the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and the Médiathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine (MAP), does us the honor of making a donation. I want to thank him very much. Finally, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I have the privilege of announcing that the entire work of Gilles CARON will return to the Médiathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine and join the public collections, thanks to a donation.

 

On behalf of the Nation, I want to thank Marianne CARON-MONTELY for this donation. It is a huge legacy. It is a gesture of infinite generosity.

A gesture that speaks volumes about your values, dear lady; about your sense of sharing. A gesture that extends all your merits, all your struggles, all your commitments; commitments that earn you today the recognition of our country.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, these are the convictions that guide my action and that I wanted to share with you.

In a few moments, the Meetings will begin; the public will flock; and the city will come alive.

Throughout the summer, as every year, Arles will vibrate. Visitors will visit the exhibitions.

And in the end, they will leave, without being quite the same as when they arrived. They will have changed a bit. By what they saw, by what they watched.

The Encounters will continue to change looks.

 

They’ve been doing it for half a century.

You can count on my determination to continue to support them.