Jean-François Leroy – Visa pour l’Image

Video © by Photo Raw Magazine

My intent here was originally to write a whole long treatise on Jean-François Leroy. But I skipped that idea. He is of course the progenitor of Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. 25 years worth of photojournalism based exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and workshops. Café de la Poste, a local bar and sidewalk cafe, is where it all comes together for discussion after a Jean-François hosted super projected evening slideshow of the work of some of the world’s greats.

I need write little, because everything you need to know about Jean-François is in the video above. Yup, that’s him all right. Yet I also know a man who gave me my first European exhibition that resulted in the publication of Divided Soul. When I first joined Magnum I ended up in Paris in spring. Jean Francois had already offered me a show before I even met him.

At some point the man picks me up at my hostel on his BMW street bike and zips me through the streets of Paris like a madman. We ended up at the home of my friends Sebastão and Lelia Salgado for lunch. A nice way to spend the afternoon in a city that personally affected me so much with its art and its photographers. France and the French have always been good to me.

Jean-François is a man of conviction as you can view above. That is what he is. He is 100% dedicated to making Perpignan happen. His way. He needs sponsors and he gets sponsors, yet he bends to none. He told me recently “Everybody told me I could not do this. That made me do it”. I get that. Do I always agree with his choice of shows? No. He and I often disagree about pictures. He leans almost total hard core photojournalism, and I lean documentary/art combo.

Yet so what? I love what he does DO. I never worry about what people do not do as long as they are doing SOMETHING really well. Jean-François has my respect and my friendship. I salute also all the fine photographers and editors who have contributed to Visa Pour L’Image. Viva!!

If you have never been to Perpignan (that’s what we really call it) you must go. A social scene that is THE hangout, along with a whose who in photoJ and more good shows than you will have time to see. For the emerging photographer you will see what you are up against. You will see your competition. Reality.

And buying a beer for a top picture editor will only get you a thanks but not a job. However, you can show your work to any number of top editors and picture agencies. So you CAN get your foot in the door if you have an armful of great work. That’s all it takes.

Jean-François is gonna kill me for not being there this year. I want to kill myself for not being there this year. Forget the excuses I have. Let’s just say I could not. My super big heartfelt apology mon ami. And ahhhh Café de la Poste. No better hang. Next year for sure!!

Happy 25th Jean-François Leroy. You be the man.



19 Responses to “Jean-François Leroy – Visa pour l’Image”

  • I watched this with a big smile on my face all the way through.

  • Paris and spring can’t get much better than this. At least for me.
    Surely theirs always been shit and loads of wannabe photographers?

  • :)))…ditto, what John said….

    there is only one Jean-Francois….(his name’s been copyrighted too, i believe ;) )….agree or disagree with his opinions, you have to love a guy who is unafraid to speak his mind and commit so outrageously beautiful to what he believes in…the crowds of Perp are not my thing (once was enough) but i have major major respect for both that festival and what he has pulled off and what he has done for the Doc/Journalism community and photographers…..

    buy that damn french madman a bottle of cru!

    a seminal cat, and one that deserves all the recognition he deserves (and sometimes seeks)…

    major respect…:)


    p.s. i have my own jean-francois story too, but that’ll have to wait for nyc

  • that should be ‘a seminal cat and one that deserves all the recognition he receives (and sometimes seeks)..’

    vivre le Perp, vivre JF

  • Jean-Francois is the man. Love the interview.

  • enjoy the real world, love that!

  • Enjoy the real world…can you do that online?

  • there must be an app for it…

  • Thanks for posting this video. I saw it last year at Look3; didn’t know at the time who Jean-Francois was or even what Perpignan meant/was/represented. I could tell from the crowd’s reaction in the theatre as the video began that this was a man much loved and appreciated. I’ve been looking ever since for this on-line, and really appreciate it being here, now.

    I lean much more toward the art than the hardcore, too; Leroy and Perpignon skew to the latter big-time, so it was great to come to know the man outside his milieu in art-friendly Charlottesville.

  • I like this interview very much. I think it is very encouraging and puts things where they belong.
    Good and direct word. Thanks for showing.

  • @ ALL:

    Thanks DAH for this video/post.
    110% TRUE!!
    I’ve been in the Festival, great week among outstanding photographers (hardcore ones as well as artistic). I Will post tomorrow my impressions of the 25th VISA, but one event blew my mind.
    On Thrusday a war photographic conference with DonMcCullin!!!, David Douglas Duncan and Yuri Kozirev (NOOR) in the same table.
    Two hours of amazing discussion.

    Stay tuned! Back to (daily) reality. P.

  • @ ALL:

    At VISA, Canon presents, “DON MCCULLIN turns to digital photography”:

    Total commitment in photography!

    Have a nice week. P.
    PS: Got my book signed :-D

  • Amazing piece of work by Michael Nichols and all his crew of NatGeo.
    The Serengeti Lion

    Still images at the exhibition and the video are speechless.
    Looks like he is shooting cats at the backyard of his home… so, so close… Technology and photography at the same time.


  • Patricio; “PS: Got my book signed :-D” Lucky you getting to meet Don Mccullin!! :-)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Thank you for reporting…!!!

  • Very interesting interview!. Short but intense in content. He says many things about the current photojournalism status in 5 min!

  • Café de la Poste, a local bar and sidewalk cafe, is where it all comes together for discussion after a Jean-François hosted super projected evening slideshow of the work of some of the world’s greats.
    And ahhhh Café de la Poste. No better hang. Next year for sure!!

    What a café!! I’ll dream of being bartender, just for one night… After the screening, almost every photographer go there… The waitress serves (i.e.) Kadir Van Lohuizen and Stanley Greene while at the same time she is taking the order of Walter Astrada talking with Brian Storm… Few minutes before, a couple of beers have been drunk by Nick Nichols, Robin Hammond, Sebastian Liste, Chis Morris, Bruno Stevens, James Strin, etc, etc…

    @ DAH
    I’ve appreciated your signature of my CUBA and DIVIDED SOUL book at 2.15am (!) at that café. As Anton wrote above: No necesito nada “físico” para acordarme de ese momento…Gracias! El año que viene seguro…

    Shine. P.

  • This should be held in the middle of winter, when it’s dark. Then maybe I might have a chance to go sometime.

    I enjoyed the interview.

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