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Les Rencontres d’Arles: Five Best Exhibitions

Bird In Flight presents the five best exhibitions of the Rencontres d’Arles photo festival.

The international photo festival Rencontres d’Arles (Arles Meetings) will be held in Arles, France until the end of September. The Meetings, which were first organized in 1970, have over 100,000 visitors every year and present over a hundred projects. Bird In Flight selected five of the most interesting exhibitions from the main program of this year’s forum.


Looking Beyond the Edge, Don McCullin

Don McCullin, who covered almost all military conflicts of the second half of the 20th century, seems to have spent a larger part of his life not home, but in Central Africa, Cyprus, and Lebanon, while he returned to Vietnam 18 times. However, Looking Beyond the Edge exhibition presents his photographs from outside military conflict areas. His reports from London suburbs, mining regions in England, a photo report about the erection of the Berlin Wall are filled with the same energy as the photos of the hunger-struck Africa that are famous all over the world, and his camera remains the voice of justice and common sense.

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Battlefields, Yan Morvan

Yan Morvan has had the reputation of a master of military photography since the 1980s and won the World Press Photo award twice. His photographs were published in media outlets all over the world, but Morvan himself was gradually getting disappointed in media. Seeing how even the most serious report becomes an entertainment, he decided to take a new approach. This resulted in a huge project called Battlefields, where Morvan photographs the locations of the biggest battles and presents the history of humanity as the history of wars. Morvan moves the imagery of bloody battles to texts that accompany the photographs and to the imagination of the viewers, and contemplates the ability of a camera to show what the photographic lense does not perceive.

Morvan photographs the locations of the biggest battles and presents the history of humanity as the history of wars.
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End, Eamonn Doyle

Eamonn Doyle photographs Dublin and Dubliners. The city in his photographs looks powerful and has contrast — for better composition, he often climbs 3 meters up — and the citizens look tired and lost, as if they’ve been waiting for Godot their entire lives. The exhibition sums up three of Doyle’s photo books, and has a complicated and elegant scenography. Doyle is a musician and owns a record label, so it was a natural decision for him to combine photo narrative with music and graphics.

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A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, Peter Mitchell

Peter Mitchell was inspired by the Viking Space Mission to Mars and the conspiracy theories around it, so he turned his camera into a lens of the imaginary space mission of the Martians to Earth. He tries to see what would attract the aliens in his native Leeds. In his photographs, the Martians wouldn’t see architectural or technical wonders, as we don’t see them in the photographs of the Martian plains. He presents his characters against the backdrop of brick-red facades, and they seem more distant to the viewer than the unknown alien civilizations. For Mitchell the Universe revolves around this lost world.

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Phenomena, Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen, Tobias Selnes Markussen

A group of Danish photographers is also investigating relationship with the alien civilizations. Photographers interview witnesses in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, record their accounts in details, and end up with what looks like a documentary investigation of a real religious cult. For the heroes of this project, being lonely in the Universe is unbearable. What lies behind conspiracy theories is common for all humanity longing for the sense of being.

What lies behind conspiracy theories is common for all humanity longing for the sense of being.
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