Claude Goulet, Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie – Mona Hakim

[Fall 2017]

Claude Goulet is the founder and director of Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie. This major event, now in its eighth edition, has become an essential destination, with its outdoor photographic installations spread over more than fourteen municipalities and its different thematic and pedagogical facets. The close, productive ties established among artists, professionals, and the public, as well as support from national and international partnerships, make an innovative and significant contribution to the territorial identity of the Gaspé.
Lynne Cohen, Recent Work, vue de l’exposition, New Richmond, 2017. Photo : Robert Dubé, Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie

Lynne Cohen, Recent Work, vue de l’exposition, New Richmond, 2017. Photo : Robert Dub., Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie

An interview by Mona Hakim

[Excerpt]
MH: What was your professional career before you founded Les rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie? Why did you decide to produce such a major photography event – and in the Gaspé, of all places?

CG: For more than twenty years I worked in the living arts, and I have always been very interested in photography and auteur cinema. I attended the Avignon festival for a number of years and was able to make side trips to Les Rencontres d’Arles during the festival and get to know different practices, authors, and professionals in the field.

When I arrived in the Gaspé, I had the wild idea of creating a new event devoted to photography and contemporary art that would be different from all the other events in Quebec and would connect the entire region and its residents. In August 2007, I contacted Jean-Daniel Berclaz, whose work I had seen at Arles in 2003, about his project Musée du point de vue. The objective was to produce a photographic action in the Gaspé by inviting five artists (including Berclaz) to a residency in 2008. In June 2009, we opened a circuit composed of ten photographic installations, set in the respective places where the landscapes had been shot, to the general public. We now call this circuit the Parcours du point de vue – Gaspésie. It was a success, and so we went ahead and made it an annual event. It was after this that the first edition of Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie took place, in August 2010. This year is the eighth edition.

MH: In relation to the original objectives, what general orientations have developed and bring recognition to the event today?

CG: At the beginning, we wanted to fit within the logic of territorial development and go beyond the traditional framework of a contemporary art event. With Les Rencontres, we wanted to create a “toolbox” for artists and develop a space that would modulate through contacts with artists, professionals, and, of course, the public so that they could come together to take the noble risk of creation…

 
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