Perpignan Finale: No party, but straight talk with Brent Stirton

Visa pour l'Image always wraps up with a big party Saturday night after the biggest projection of the week. This year's included visual surveys of the U.S. presidential campaigns, the Beijing Olympics, Kenya, and Iraq, plus 15 other projects and the presentation of the Canon female journalist award and the Visa d'Or News award -- or at least it was supposed to. When I got to our table at the Place de Republique at 8:30 the rain was light but steady and only got worse for the next half hour. Arou

Visa pour l'Image always wraps up with a big party Saturday night after the biggest projection of the week. This year's included visual surveys of the U.S. presidential campaigns, the Beijing Olympics, Kenya, and Iraq, plus 15 other projects and the presentation of the Canon female journalist award and the Visa d'Or News award -- or at least it was supposed to. When I got to our table at the Place de Republique at 8:30 the rain was light but steady and only got worse for the next half hour. Around 9 a message went up on the screen that the slideshow was canceled. Then one that the party would still go on at the Place. It is supposed to happen at the Couvent, the largest venue where most of the exhibitions take place, which has two floors and an uncovered interior patio. Soon calls were made and the buzz was that the party was still on at the Couvent. But on our way to Couvent around 11 we saw crowds walking back, saying the party was canceled but there was a little VIP party going on that no one could get into. Casey Kelbaugh (of Slideluck Potshow fame) and I decided we had to see it with our own eyes, and found a small mob hanging around the Couvent gates, looking annoyed. (Casey has great photos of this and most other important moments from the week up on his blog at the SLPS site. See above image, © Casey Kelbaugh) A few minutes later people started booing and calling to the guards, who rather ostentatiously stood around the Couvent with a German Shephard on a leash.

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