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After a year of silence in 2020 and a limited edition in 2021, it was with great emotion that we went to the 53rd edition of the Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles. The 2022 edition was somewhat disoriented and complex, but nonetheless powerful and profound, with a lot of exploration and experimentation. Acumen’s editorial team reveals the highlights of the festival between images, performances, photomontages and encounters.  

It all starts with Babette Mangolte and the exhibition “Capturing movement in space”. Based in New York in the 1970s, the experimental filmmaker and photographer documented the city’s choreographic and performance scene. 

By photographing the body in movement, the artist questions the very act of looking. 

Passionate about theatre and cinema, Babette Mangolte tells us stories through her photographs. Each of her photographs reveals the sensation of a before and after image, as if we were still watching the rehearsals, discussions and plays that are played out before our eyes.  

An “eye-camera” – to use the words that best define her – oscillating between different artistic universes, the photographer will become one of the privileged witnesses of this world in full mutation. 


Another moment of emotion: the works of the artist Katrien de Blauwer and her exhibition entitled “The photos she doesn’t show to anyone”. 

Through her photomontages, this artist, born in 1969 in Belgium, reveals stories that are as personal as they are anonymous, with a profound intimacy.

A master in the art of the “cut”, the artist collects images from old magazines which she then cuts up, recycles and destroys, and to which she gives new life, as if to breathe new life into the clichés. The collage operates a sort of universalization, underlining the impossibility of identifying with a single individual, while allowing one to recognize oneself in history. It is up to each of us to see our own…


In addition to the 40 exhibitions organised in Arles, visitors can also discover 15 exhibitions outside the walls as part of the Grand Arles Express. The “Silent Language” exhibition is one of them. 

Comprising some fifty iconic 20th century works from the collection of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, the exhibition explores the different types of relationship that exist between the photographer and his or her model. 

Confronting intimate photographs, collaborative works, commissioned portraits and even stolen images, the exhibition addresses various photographic approaches to the representation of the Other. Far from being a solitary adventure, the portrait imposes an encounter. 

“The Silent Language” proposes to retrace some of these singular stories, such as those of Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Man Ray. 


Leaving it to chance to play the role of spiritual guide, we have discovered three photographic artists in the Off who each work in their own way on the body. 

First of all, Gil Rigoulet, who began his career as a photojournalist in the press and became, in 1984, the first official photographer of the newspaper Le Monde.

During his thirty years as a photojournalist, he devoted himself in parallel to a more personal photographic work, focusing on different themes around the body, water and landscapes in movement, or his personal life.

One of these series caught our eye: Molitor (summer 1985). Bringing together colourful and artistic shots with an ultra-stylish aesthetic, she plunges us into a bath of freedom, in this place that has become mythical, where the Parisian elite used to meet.  

Cigarettes, ultra-tight swimming costumes, choreographed bodies: even today, the photographs bear witness to the wind of freedom that blew over a joyful and undisciplined youth.

Also worth discovering are the black and white self-portraits of the artist photographer Victoire Orth. In her series Corps à corps, produced with a mirror in one hand and a film camera in the other, her images question our vision of the body and femininity, and challenge the codes.

Another artist to discover is Nereis Ferrer, a photographer of Spanish origin for whom photographs, in the words of the artist, must be conversations.

The pictures reveal intimate images between softness, purity and poetry. ARLES

Mélissa Burckel