Reel Perpignan Futures 02010

After a decade of development, in 02010 Agence Future started re-shaping its interdisciplinary and cross-media practice with archive development, collaborative and participative approaches and the production of a new series of location based items entitled Reelfutures. The first of the new series of theses video reports was shot, produced and projected at Perpignan during the professional week of the photojournalism festival Visa Pour l’Image. 

The festival offered a singularly appropriate context to start setting standards for reporting on the future. The experts gathered there know all about how to tell a story with just one image. Their practice is concerned with representing today and sometimes history. What are their ideas on representing the future? What photo included in the festival exhibitions and projections would they select for making a statement about the future? What is the future orientation of their daily practice? What ways forward can be imagined for photojournalism?

Is photojournalism suffering from ‘Future Shock’? Did too much change take place in too short a period of time? Has the accelerated rate of technological and socio-cultural change of the past decades left pundits in the realm of photojournalism disconnected and suffering from stress and disorientation? Are professionals in the sector impressed, frightened or blindly enthusiastic about the changes that have occurred? Do they feel overly confident or excessively insecure, how can they balance out the potential and the risks of their changing context? How do they imagine the future?

During five days in the professional week of Visa pour l’Image, we held 16 interviews to address these questions. We  touched upon some of the big issues that the sector is faced with. These include economic and distribution models, quality and production values, news flows in a globalising world, cultural repositioning of the image, news value, ethics, aesthetics and responsibilities. While a large scale foresight exercise on the future of photojournalism would be most relevant, the short item we produced, does not aspire to provide this. Instead we explore the future orientations and perspectives that live among a small sample of professionals gathered in Perpignan.

We wanted to encounter colleagues, photographers, researchers, journalists, editors, organisers or iconographers who will share their views and opinions about photojournalism for/from the future. Our report gives an impression of their recommendations for reporting on the future. It asks what images of the future are to these professionals as well as where they can see photojournalism heading in the next decades. The questions in the Reelfutures interviews are designed to help interviewees imagine possibilities for the future, discover long term outlooks and create new images of the futures.

In our experiment with contemporary media practices, process is part of the show. We held several passer-by interviews at the vernisage of  the Zoomorphismes exhibition of our host Picturetank in the Museum of Natural History. On the final night of the professional week there was a projection of a rough on-the-spot edit (shown here with only some minor adjustments).

Agence Future always tries to put into practice some of the most tempting propositions for the future encountered in the research. At Perpignan our small production unit used collaborative, participatory and inter-disciplinary methods and a cross-media approach for a nearly instant production process. The Reelfutures approach by itself is an experiment with ideas and new combinations for innovative reporting, creating and living.

You can also watch this video with French subtitles here.