I don't have to tell anyone it's a rough time for photojournalism: newspapers and magazines have slashed staff photographer positions and cut budgets and pages for freelancers; the value of each image has dropped significantly as competition for coverage has exploded; and online publishing, although full of potential, is currently paying small dividends and making it easier than ever to use images without payment or even attribution. Some of the most visible casualties of the industry's un-glory days have been the big photo agencies, which have closed their doors or gotten rolled into bigger conglomerations at an alarming rate. In Perpignan I spoke with two agency heads: JP Pappis, a long-time Sigma guy who launched his own agency, Polaris, in 2002; and Christian Caujolle, the legendary semi-retired (he calls it "reorganized") founder of Agence VU. Both of them lamented the state of photojournalism: Pappis saying he is working twice as hard today for the same results as yesterday, and Caujolle nostalgic for a time when the art of the images was appreciated as much as their monetary value. In such a climate, a gathering like Visa becomes even more important, they both said. "It's extremely important because it's the only place where you have all the ingredients of the photojournalism world: photographers, agencies, magazines, exhibitions, slide shows," said Pappis. "It keeps hope alive." Indeed, I heard several people characterize Visa as facilitating more deals in one week than happen the rest of the year.