So here we are! Let’s go back to the beginning of our trip to Perpignan and show you all about Florence’s Visa Off exhibition. This is le Castillet with Catalonia flag and Visa pour l’Image flag on top of it. We passed by this wall numerous times while we were there.
This is where Florence’s exhibition was held – Bébé en Bulle. It’s a bookstore specialized in cartoons. The first thing we had to do was to hang the pictures.Well, actually no. The first first thing we had to do was to get there. Thanks to Florence’s friend, Christophe, he drove Florence’s car, drove through a maze of streets, and got us right in front of the store. We met the person who was working there and later the owner of the store. Both of them were really nice and accommodating.
We immediately started hanging the pictures, but there was a problem 🙁 The hooks that the store had for hanging the pictures did not fit to the hooks at the back of the frames! Ahhhhh!!! Florence had to hang all the pictures before the end of that day, or she would have been disqualified from the competition. We didn’t have a lot of time. We quickly came up with a solution which was to use strings, good idea, but where could we get the strings??? Thanks to Christophe again. He took me to a craft store nearby, and we found good strings. But this quick fix made the hanging work really difficult. When we finally finished hanging all the pictures, we were all exhausted. Quelle histoire! (What a story!) The photo above was taken at a later date. If it were on the first day, Florence wouldn’t have been smiling…
This is the headquarters of the Visa Off festival, the Perpignan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The first official event that Florence had to attend was the press conference there.
Press conference. The mayor of the city of Perpignan was there along with the president of the Visa Off festival and other festival officials. They said (according to Florence) there were going to be over 1,000 photographers from all over the world between the two Festivals (Visa pour l’Image & Visa Off) coming to visit Perpignan during the two weeks. They also said that they had to make a drastic selection this year for Visa Off.
Florence was a little intimidated at this point because it appeared that everybody who came to the press conference knew each other and she was the only stranger. But Jean-Louis and Delphine from CCI made her feel really welcomed.
Voilà! This was how Florence’s exhibition looked at the bookstore. We loved the brick wall, though we expected a white wall because we were told so. The wall was perfect for Florence’s photos.
Some more pictures. Florence was really appreciative of the fact that her exhibition was selected to be held at this bookstore. Other exhibitions were held at restaurants, bars, banks, clothing stores, markets, hair salons, meat shops, etc. At this bookstore, people would feel comfortable going in and looking at the pictures at any time and there was nothing interrupting the view.
By the way, we learned later on that unlikely to other events in which organizers would have to ask stores for participation, with Visa Off, the stores had to apply to participate and not all stores applied were selected for exhibitions. In addition, exhibitions were assigned by the Visa Off and stores did not get to choose which exhibition to hold at their store.
This is the description of Florence’s exhibition, “jeux d’eau”. This was another story. As you can see in the above pictures, Florence did not have this description originally. She had the printout of the description, but we were not prepared to put it like this because we didn’t know the settings of the place, what was provided and not provided from the Visa Off office, nor how other photographers generally do with their captions or descriptions. After we looked around others’ exhibitions, we realized many had this kind of description about their exhibitions neatly framed and put alongside of their photos. So we came up with a quick solution again, ran to an art store, got some materials, and voilá! Whew… Quelle histoire! (This was one of the first French words that I learned because I had to say so many times during this trip.)
This was part of another official event that Florence had to attend. It was the opening of the Visa Off festival. As part of the opening, everybody together (staffs, photographers, press/media, and the public) did go-around of the exhibitions all over the town. Not all exhibitions were visited at this time, but it took over 3 hours to finish this tour of exhibitions! In this picture, Florence was explaining about her photos to the Visa Off officials and others. Do you see the description neatly pasted on the brick wall now? 😉
Here is another picture of the go-around. According to Florence, many people thought she manipulated the pictures with Photoshop to get the effects. So she had to explain that the colors were natural colors. I hope she didn’t disclose her “business secrets” 😉
Another official event was the opening of her exhibition. Actually her opening was held together with other exhibition openings on the same street. So the nearby café Elféa provided drinks and appetizers for all the guests. Lots of people came to this whole street opening and Christophe brought many people to see Florence’s pictures. I think he is now promoted (?) to Chief Marketing Officer of Florence’s photography 😉
By the way, Florence was very moved by a woman who came to her opening. She had a serious illness, but despite of her illness, this person came to see her pictures. I hope Florence’s photos gave her energy to fight the illness and hope because I believe that’s what her pictures do.