In Part II of the review I'll try to stick more to the exhibitions, but I guarantee that I'll keep getting side-tracked; so I might as well start off with a side-track picture. 

Silk scarf, shop window, Arles

There are far too many exhibitions every year to write about them all, and indeed I didn't even get to them all, so all I can write about is the ones I remember. As well as numerous good ones, this includes a few bad ones. Even the bad ones are good, though, as a means of clarifying my thinking about what I like and what I don't like. You would find the same, even if your tastes are very different from mine. 

It's also important to point put that the pictures are exhibited to be looked at, not photographed. Lighting varies wildly; space is often limited;and in any case, the morality and even legality of using straight shots of others' pictures is disputable, especially on the internet where they are so easily stolen. This is why many of the pictures here are frankly snapshots. Also, this is in keeping with the way I want the review to feel: as though you were there, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails. 

Andrey Kezzyn's "Four" series was exhibited at the Image Galerie Liberté (where you will find a better version of War if you follow the link) in a cramped cellar with uneven lighting. The camera notices such things are more than the human eye.

This is a part of the magic of Arles: never quite knowing what you are going to find around the next corner or (more likely) down the next flight of vertiginous steps leading to a musty cellar. Andrey's pictures (above) were among my favourites from the whole Rencontres, but the best way to point you to them is to provide link to his site (which is in English as well as Russian). 

Besides, one of the points about Arles is that what you see is normally only the tip of an artistic iceberg:there's far more to Andrey's work than the series I saw depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and part of the pleasure is looking at the photographers' web-sites when you get home.

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Of course the pictures don't have the same impact on a computer screen, or even in a book or reproduction, as they do in the original; but once you've seen the original prints it's much easier to visualize them as they would look on the wall. Also, you may well get to meet the photographer, which adds another dimension.

Andrey Kezzyn. I ran into him several times at the Rencontres and each time I saw him he was wearing his extra ears and had his beard in this style.

Andrey's appearance gives rise to an important aside (I said there'd be side tracks). You want to be remembered. Give people something on which to hang their recollections, such as Andrey's ears and beard, or my monocle, and it helps. The other things that are important are to carry plenty of business cards, because you can easily get through two or three hundred in a week at Arles; to carry a pen so you can make notes on the front or back of your own cards and other people's; and to have a web site with your pictures on it (your web site address will of course be on your cards). Ideally carry postcards or something similar so you can hand those out too if you find a particularly lively prospect.