Remembering the first Rencontres.
Five years after the birth of the collection, a new era began, as photography - still on the initiative of Lucien Clergue and Jean-Maurice Rouquette - made its debut in the Festival d'Arles. Eminent figures such as Michel Tournier, presenter of "Chambre noire", the only television programme devoted to photography, became involved in this founding event and helped get it off to a flying start. From then on, summer after summer, the Rencontres have helped build the collection, contributing over time to its wealth and originality. Alongside the many, many donations from renowned photographers who appeared on the programme and gave classes, the event also reaped a precious harvest from hitherto unknown young talents, the winners of the Prix des Jeunes Photographes.
In this way, the museum is a permanent record Rencontres' spirit and inventiveness... Ansel Adams, Edouard Boubat, Brassaï, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Jean Dieuzaide, Franco Fontana, Joan Fontcuberta, Gisèle Freund, Serge Gal, Jean-Claude Gautrand, Luigi Ghirri, Hubert Grooteclaes, Yousuf Karsh, André Kertesz, Bernard Plossu, Marc Riboud, Eva Rubinstein, Willy Ronis, Kishin Shinoyama, Jean-Loup Sieff, Keiichi Tahara, Arthur Tress, George Tourdjman, Agnès Varda, Christian Vogt, Jack Welpott... all of them appearing among highlights of these fertile years, so full of discovery.
1974, however, was a particularly special year. The guest of honour was Brassaï, who would always remember with fondness the exhibition he put on for the museum that summer. Appearing alongside him was the American photographer, Jerry Uelsmann, who led a workshop. The result of his stay was an incredible series of surrealist collages which he created that summer, taking his inspiration from City's ancient and architectural heritage. Taking up its place in the collection, it was to prove one of the great treasures for the future of the photography collection.