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Arles photography festival gets into full swing

 16th Jul 2009

Arles photography festival gets into full swing

One of the world’s leading photography festivals has just concluded its opening week celebrations. The 40th Rencontres d'Arles runs until September and its French location makes it a suitable weekend getaway for British photography lovers who currently have no equivalent festival to attend on UK shores.

The guest curator is Nan Goldin, whose most famous ongoing work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, which includes over 700 images from the 1980s right up to last year, is on display. The most recent edit was exhibited in Arles’ open-air Roman amphitheatre last Saturday to mark the end of the festival’s first week. Music by Tiger Lillies was playing in the background.

The event also featured the presentation of the Discovery award which, as its title suggests, celebrates and rewards newly-discovered photographers. This year’s prize was awarded to Rimaldas Viksraitis from Lithuania, for his images of Lithuanian villagers dancing and drinking. Prior to receiving his accolade, Viksraitis had spent several years cycling around the Lithuanian countryside with his camera tied to his bike.

Without Sanctuary: The James Allen Collection, is one of the most talked-about pieces being displayed at the festival. It has been described as a truly shocking photographic exhibition of lynchings in America's Deep South.