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Preview - SANARY - Sur - MER - April
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A festival between traditions
and discoveries

SANARY. As the birthplace of antiquity, and the link between the civilizations of Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Mediterranean is the place of all contrasts and passions. A thousand times described and celebrated, its sunny shores have forever attracted writers, painters, and poets. But if the “Grand Tour” (from which the word tourism takes its roots) continues today through the eyes of photographers who walk in the footsteps of their famous predecessors, what about their approach and their motivations?

In this era of globalization, can we speak about a Mediterranean photography with a proper specificity and free of exoticism? In the search for its origins, following a past that is always retold, does Mediterranean photography have a particular resonance? This is the reason why the programming of the festival attempts to open new paths, explore trends, and take the first steps toward building an inventory of Mediterranean photography.

Sanary, the home port of our festival, is justifiably proud of a famous figure, Michel Pasha, who, during the second half of the 19th century, built or renovated lighthouses of the Ottoman Empire, and who brought to France a byzantine style which spread throughout the region. Thus, to open the festival with photography from Turkey, as a continuation of the year of Turkey in France, was an obvious choice. As curated by Laurence Cornet, two exhibitions illustrate these themes.

The first exhibition, called “In the Steps of Michel Pasha”, collects, in a fertile dialogue the old photographs from the collection of Pierre de Gigord and the recent work of Ali Taptik. The other one points us in the direction of a few, young Turkish photographers who haven’t yet been discovered. Then there is the celebrated photographer, Ara Guler - the so-called “eye of Istanbul” - who composed, just as Bruno Barbey did, a hymn to the city on seven hills. But Sanary is also, thanks to Jacques Cousteau, a pioneering center for diving, and was the setting for the first film shot under the sea called “Par 18 mètres de fond”. It’s with a sly wink, through the work of Philippe Ramette and his work “Rational exploration of the Undersea”, that this diving adventure is evoked. The exhibition from Nicolas Henry, will also establish Sanary on the Mediterranean photography scene. On the other hand, in the works of Anna Cabrera and Angel Albarran, Barcelona is not a Mediterranean city. Because of the rampant development undertaken to accommodate widespread tourism, people from Barcelona feel more and more depossessed of their city. Mass tourism is the subject of ridicule through the caustic humor of Martin Parr, the guest of honor for the festival, who aims his critical eye on the practices and rituals of our civilization of leisure. His photographs, shot in 2006 and 2007 in Benidorm, the main center for tourism on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, will be one of the highlights of the festival. As a counterpoint, Claude Nori offers us a more romantic, even sentimental vision of the Italian beaches, and invites us on a new journey to Stromboli of his “Voyage Amoureux” a work that was published in 1990 as a homage to Roberto Rossellini. Reinterpreting or discovering for the first time the photography of some emerging countries, such as Albania, Slovenia, and Montenegro, lends more wealth to the program. The work of the Marubis - a dynasty of Albanian photographers who were prolific between 1858 and 1950 - pulls together, through landscapes and portraits, many pieces in the history of their country. Dusko Miljanic from Montenegro returns to the traditional way of fishing in the small village of Ostros, and the photojournalist, Manca Juvan, from Slovenia, delivers a vibrant testimony on the vulnerability and exclusion of the poorest in Afghanistan.

Stratos Kalafatis from Greece presents, from his perspective, his last work (never before exhibited) about the monasteries on Mount Athos. Three women - Melisa Onel (Turkey), Carolle Benitah (Morocco), and Ornela Vorpsi (Albania) - attempt to exorcise the ghosts of the past through their work with memory. In his work, Alain Kantarjian follows in the footsteps of Henri Matisse in the Grand Hotel Villa de France in Tangier, where he finds his inspiration and the ingredients for his most subtle images. But if Turkey and the Balkan countries lie at the center, we cannot forget the travel logs and the snapshots of the Ameican photographers from Magnum Photo, or the great humanist tradition of the 1960’s that reconnect with the Grand Tour. Two exhibitions, “Magnum Mediterranean: the American perspective” and “European House of Photography (MEP) / Mediterranean 1960” bring to attention of the wider public the iconic pictures of the most famous of them: Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Elliott Erwitt, Leonard Freed, Bruce Davidson… Finally, a selection of recent videos, as well as an original production by Christina Thoux, presented by the association L’art prend l’air, will accompany this Mostra celebrating the still image. The workshops led by Laurence Leblanc, Pierre-Anthony Allard, Anna Cabrera and Angel Albarran will further enrich this first festival dedicated to Mediterranean photography.

Jean-Luc Monterosso Artistic Director of Photomed

The guest country: TURKEY

In the Footstep of
Michel Pasha

To pay a tribute to both the host and the guest, Photomed has dedicated an exhibition I walk to Michel Pasha, an engineer and businessman born in Sanary, who received honorable recognition from the Ottoman Empire for his work on maritime signaling that followed the coastline of a vast, but at that time, receding territory.

Signed in 1885, under the reign of Abdulmecit I, the concession contract concerning the Ottoman Lighthouse Authority continued after the death of Michel Pasha in 1907, despite diplomatic conflict and the fall of the empire. Hanging from ten structures supported on three wooden, triangular posts, and extending the entire length of the port, the exhibition takes as its starting point the environment surrounding this famous character in order to explain certain aspects of Turkish history from the 19th century to the present. Conceived in a thematic way, each structure contrasts an aging image and a contemporary photograph, and includes an additional text to fill in the details of the story. Retrieved from the collection of Pierre de Gigord, who took an early interest in photographs from the Ottoman Empire, the images from the 19th century are signed James Robertson, the brothers Abdullah, Alexander Svoboda, Sebah & Joaillier, and Guillaume Berggren.

A contemporary response to these collected artifacts are the works of Ali Taptik, whose works sketch a visual autobiography that permanently questions the world and the medium. From this informative and aesthetic parallel appear the alternating contrasts and similarities of two eras separated by more than a century of changes for the region and in photography itself. Through politics, architecture, landscapes, people, and anecdotes, this exhibition tells the story of photography, as much as it does the tale of a man and a country.
Istanbul, my love. The crossing perspectives of Ara Guler and Bruno Barbey

Born in Istanbul in 1928 into an Armenian family, Ara Guler has taken pictures in many places around the world (Iran, Kazakhstan, India, Kenya, Borneo). Given the nickname the “eye of Istanbul”, he has documented both his country, looking especially great depth his home city of Istanbul. Exhibited around the world, he has published around 30 books. In 1999, he was recognized in Turkey as the photographer of the century. For 40 years, Bruno Barbey has enchanted the world with his sensitive images full of subtle humanism. His series in color of Istanbul is a reponse to the black and white works of his friend, Ara Guler.

Emerging photography from Turkey, variations

For its first edition, Photomed strives to reflect the diversity of the region in terms of creativity. This festival is, essentially, an investigation into the multiplicity of interpretations found in the photography. In this sense, photography can sometimes be a vector of emotions, and at other times a tool for denunciation. A universal medium thanks to its democratic essence and technique, photography is a reflection both of a culture and also the personality of the artist. And this is precisely what this exhibition, featuring 10 photographers from Turkey, wants to reveal through a selection of various works displayed in different ways. Large format pieces will be hung beside miniature images; some pieces will stand on their own; while others will be shown in series in 20; and still others will be printed on glossy and simple paper. All of these will contribute in underlining the overall approach of the artist. A diversity that we follow through intentions of each photographer and which gives offers a wide definition of photography. The work of Kursat Bayhan that looks at the recent bloody election in Iraq in 2007 introduces the personal documentary of Selim Sume, an intimate journey into the strongly censored topics of conscription and military service. A catharsis as much as a critique, this classical series in black and white stands beside Osman Bozkurt’s work on the elections in Turkey in 2002. Shocked by the sight of so many voters with pointer fingers tipped with purple paint, Bozkurt’s camera shows a way of stopping fraud with an irony in his handling of the overall aesthetic: the series consists of packshots of fingers without their owners, but which is called “Portraits of the Voters”. An attempt to define photography is also explored by Pinar Yolacan in her two series “Maria” and “Perishables”. In these series, she shows black or white portraits against a background of the same color, depicting women who have dressed themselves in pieces of meat, thus reflecting their complex condition. This methodology evokes the typology of Sevim Sancaktar who plays on 2-dimensionality of the photographic medium in her gathering of trompe-l’oeil images painted on electrical transformers in Istanbul. This approach to photography is an introduction to the attempt of Ali Taptik to classify the urban flora, between life and survival, disturbed by urbanization. This is also what Serkan Taycan ponders from the point of view of the individual in the second volume of his critical work on the theme of migration and focused on the peripheries of cities. The modernity and its paradox are also the subjects of Ozant Kamaci’s series Pauses, in which he combines in a surprising way technique and nature by shooting the precise time when a plane is completely hidden behind a tree, questioning at the same time their respective strengths. This historical notion of the “decisive instant” - which ushers in the close of the exhibition - receives scrutiny in the black and white works of Yusuf Sevincli, which examine everyday life suspended in time.

Guest of honor: MARTIN PARR
Born in 1952 in Epsom (UK), Martin Parr studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic. A photographer from the agency Magnum Photos, and represented by the gallery Kamel Mennour, he points a critical eye at the contemporary society, especially on themes related to the phenomena of mass consumption, social mores, food habits, and tourism… he describes with precision the stereotypes of human behavior and the kitsch aspects of the middle cass environment. The work presented at the festival is an extract from the series “Playas”. These are photographs shot between 2006-07 in Benidorm, the first tourism center on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. In his brightly colored works, we discover the typically acerbic humor of Martin Parr that denounces the absurdity of mass tourism. In showing us the ridiculous attitudes and styles of resort life, Parr reveals his biting criticism of the leisure time civilization and the vacuousness of so-called free time.
An American Perspective
The Magnum agency, founded in 1947, continues to be the main point of reference for documentary photography. In the words of Cartier-Bresson, “Magnum is a community of ideas that celebrate shared human qualities, a curiosity for all things in the world, and also a respect for this world and a desire to interpret it visually.” In presenting the great cities of the world - London, Paris, Tokyo, New York - Magnum functions as a cooperative. In selecting images about the Mediterranean from the Magnum collection, the exhibition privileges another point of view, one more distant and which takes the form of a travelogue, combining the impressions of some of the most prestigious American photographers: Elliott Erwitt, David Alan Harvey, Richard Kalvar, Alex Webb, Jim Goldberg, Leonard Freed, Susan Meiselas, Dennis Stock, and Bruce Davidson.
EUROPEAN HOUSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY (MEP) / MEDITERRANEAN 1960: From Henri Cartier-Bresson to William Klein
If the years between 1955 - 1960 in the history of photography represent a significant break, the time when a few photographers, like William Klein or Robert Frank, delivered photography from the modern to the contemporary, most of them stay faithful to the “decisive instant” inspired by Cartier-Bresson. For the occasion of this exhibition, the most emblematic figures of this tradition have been chosen from the collection of the European House of Photography. From Boubat to Izis, and passing through Sabine Weiss, Berengo Gardin, and Jean-Philippe Charbonnier - each of these photographers shows in his or her own way the theme of the Mediterranean, all or part of the “Grand Tour” made during the 19th century by their famous predecessors.
The Marubi (Albania), Manca Juvan (Slovénia),
Dusko Miljanic (Montenegro), Stratos Kalafatis (Greece)
The Marubi
A dynasty of Albanian photographers

The first of its kind in Albania, the Marubi photography studio was established in 1858 by Pietro Marubi, an Italian forced into exile as a result of his political activities. For his entire life, Marubi photographed his adopted country. Upon his death in 1905, Pietro’s adopted son Kel took over the studio, who was later followed by Gegë Marubi, the third in the same line of Marubis. During the 1970’s, Gege Marubi donated his entire family collection of photographs - one the largest and most important in the Balkans - to the state of Albania. The entire Marubi family archive is comprised of 100,000 negatives, the vast majority of them in the form of glass plates. The overall collection is unique as much for its quality as for its quantity and longevity. Through these images, we discover Albania from the years 1858 through 1950. Farmers, soldiers, clan
chieftains, veiled women… these portraits capture, as the novelist Ismail Kadare wrote, “a profound and rebellious Albania”.
Manca Juvan
U-nordinary lives: Afghanistan 2003 - 2009

Recognized many times by the Assoction of Slovenian Journalists for her work in Afghanistan, Manca Juvan offers us a testimony of the poor people in Afghanistan and shows us lives that have been devastated by more than 30 years of conflict. In telling us the remarkable stories of ordinary Afghans, she reminds us of the difficult reality of the war. Manca Juvan has reported from Iran, Serbia, Nepal, Cambodia, and Thailand, and been published in The Guardian, The Times, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others. Manca Juvan lives in Iran.
Dusko Miljanic

Dusko Miljanic was born in Montenegro in 1975. His photographs exhibited at Photomed were taken in January 2009 in the small village of Otros, Montenegro. Miljanic was invited by the local fishermen to document an event that happens only once at the beginning of each year, and each time taking place in a different location depending on the spawning grounds of the fish. This is a traditional kind of fishing overseen by the local authorities who each year choose which villagers can participate. Dusko Miljanic is a member of the photo club Podgorica, and in 2006-2007, started the photography fair in Podgorica. He has participated in more than 60 exhibitions, and has organized many workshops. In a recent show in Strasbourg, he exhibited a collection of portraits of Romani people.
Stratos Kalafatis
Mount Athos

Mount Athos is an independent monastic entity. The first monks settled there sometime before the 9th century. Today, more than 2000 monks (from Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania) have taken up residence there. Stratos Kalafatis made his first visit in the 1970’s, the years coinciding with a long period of decline, but since then, there have been many changes. The monasteries have become large communities whose governance is seen to by well-educated monks coming from around the world. Today, thousands of visitors have descended upon the monastery looking for new forms of spirituality, or simply for its exoticism. As Stratos Kalafatis has written, “Mt. Athos is a difficult place to photograph because it needs a great of deal time to reveal itself…This has been a year of frequent visits to Mt. Athos, with the goal being to realize my vision of what is changing there and what is staying intact… Specifically, I capture these closed communities of men who must confront their frequent proximity to the curious visitors who try to approach them.” Stratos Kalafatis was born in Kavala (Greece) in 1966. He studied photography at the Art Institute of Philadelphia from 1991 - 1993. Between 1992 and 1997, he organized the photography community of Thessaloinki and served on the artistic committee of the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki from 1994 - 1997. Nowadays, he is a freelance photographer and photography teacher. He is represented by Agra Publications, and by two galleries, Athens and Kalfayan.
© collection Pierre de Gigord
© Ali Taptik - from the series «Nothing Surprising»
Spain. Benidorm. 1997 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Spain. Benidorm. 1997 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Boy diving into the water at the playa de la Caleta Beach © Richard Kalvar / Magnum Photos
Jean-Philippe Charbonnier. The woman with black and white shoes, Turkey, 1951 © Christine Vaissié Collection Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris
© Ozant Kamaci / Elipsis Gallery
© Selim Sume
Kolë Shiroka, painter © G. Marubi, 1928

Kolë Shiroka, painter © G. Marubi, 1928

Afghanistan 2003-2009 © Manca Juvan

Afghanistan 2003-2009 © Manca Juvan

Port d’Otros 2010 © Dusko Miljanic

Port d’Otros 2010 © Dusko Miljanic

Mount Athos, 2009 © Stratos Kalafatis

Mount Athos, 2009 © Stratos Kalafatis

April 2011