A woman looks at pictures of photojournalist Yuri Kozyrev about the conflict in Iraq (2008)
11 September 2018

30th edition of the Visa pour l’Image Festival: the Government supports the photojournalist’s profession

In an era when fake news is becoming ever more widespread, the Visa pour l’Image Festival provides a timely reminder of how essential quality of information and freedom of the press are to democracy. Which is why the Government is set to support photojournalism by paying the photographers whose work is exhibited in this and future editions, and to maintain the twofold increase in the fund dedicated to support of documentary photography.

Over the course of its 30 editions, Perpignan’s Visa pour l’Image Festival has succeeded in establishing itself as France’s top photojournalism event, attracting professionals from all over the world. A witness to the far-reaching changes that have been taking place in the photojournalism sector, this is a truly exemplary festival that has always promoted a committed humanist vision of the photographer’s profession.

In a general context of crisis in the media, the photojournalist’s profession has become increasingly precarious over recent decades, with numbers of press cards currently issued to photographers only half what they were in 2000. This situation is the result of far-reaching changes in the press sector, the digital revolution, and reconfiguration of the photography market around major international actors.

Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture, expressed her wish to see the Government pay the photographers whose work is exhibited in this and future editions of Visa pour l'Image.

Increasingly concerned about the threat to the profession, the Ministry of Culture entered into negotiations with press organisations with a view to getting publishers to commit individually to compliance with professional best practices, ensuring in particular that invoices were settled within the statutory deadlines. In the event of their failing to do so, direct State aid may be partly suspended or withdrawn altogether.

These negotiations resulted in signature of an initial framework convention in late July. The goal is for all framework conventions with press organisations to be signed by the end of the year. This will also enable publishers to endorse the commitments subscribed to by professional unions in the context of the code of professional best practices signed in July 2014 (respect of photo credits, freedom to refuse syndication and preservation of metadata in particular).

Françoise Nyssen, who has placed defence of photographers and the conditions in which they practise their profession high on her agenda, wished to maintain the twofold increase in the fund dedicated to support documentary photography (managed by the Centre national des arts plastiques [CNAP – National Centre for Visual Arts]), to the tune of €150,000 for 2018 and 2019.

Lastly, Ms Nyssen wished to see the sector’s material difficulties debated in the context of the upcoming “Photography Parliament”. This new body is due to begin its work in the autumn and, among other things, will be tackling the question of issuing press cards to photojournalists, in close collaboration with the Commission de la carte d'identité des journalistes professionnels (CCIJP – Commission for Issuance of Identity Cards to Professional Journalists).