The Rencontres d'Arles (formerly known as Rencontres internationales de la photographie d'Arles) is an annual summer festival of photography founded in 1970 by the photographer Arlesian Lucien Clergue, the writer Michel Tournier and the historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette.
With a program composed mainly of new productions, the Rencontres d'Arles have acquired an international stature. During the 2016 edition, the festival welcomed more than 100,000 spectators.
Often produced in collaboration with museums and institutions in France and abroad,Exhibitions in various historic places in the city are the subject of a scenography and some historical sites - such as chapels in the twelfth century or industrial buildings in the 19th century - are open to the public only during the duration of the festival.
Numerous photographers have been revealed thanks to the Rencontres d'Arles, which confirms the importance of the festival in its role as a stepping stone for photography and contemporary creation.
The program derives its richness from the multiplicity of viewpoints of experts of different backgrounds (about twenty each year), and sometimes an artist is entrusted with a part of the programming like Martin Parr in 2004, Raymond Depardon in 2006, the Couturier from Arles Christian Lacroix in 2008, or Nan Goldin in 2009.