We took inspiration from les Rencontres d'Arles to create the Night of photography.
Five hundred kilometers further north, at 1000 meters high in the french-speaking area of Switzerland, we are in La Chaux-de-Fonds. This is an industrial city of equivalent size, with a historical past somewhat shorter and less glamorous, but nevertheless a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its industrial town planning related to watchmaking.
We organised the first Night of photography in January 2012 at the same time as the 70th Biennial of Contemporary Art by the Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, aiming to contribute to the spreading of contemporary photography. In a certain way Lucien Clergue put the event under his umbrella as he decided to come to hold the opening conference at the Club 44 for this first edition.
Organized every winter, the Night is convivial and radiates throughout Switzerland. It takes the form of projections on about twelve screens located in different cultural places in town, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, other museums, the Club 44, the Cultural Centre ABC and one outside site. On each screen images are shown in a loop, each cycle lasting 15 to 20 minutes and presenting three or four photographers. The public moves from one place to the other at his good will. The sixth edition will take place on the 18th of February 2017
An opening conference about photography takes place at the Club 44, held by one of the selected photographers. We don’t require the presence of the photographers during the Night, but are happy to welcome the ones who are willing to join us.
We benefit from the support of the Museum of Fine Arts in la Chaux-de-Fonds, the Museum Elysée in Lausanne, the collaboration and support of Sam Stourdzé, director of les Rencontres d’Arles, in France, François Hébel, and Nathalie Herschdorfer, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts in Le Locle.
We also publish a booklet to give the photographers a mark of their participation and to explain their approach of photography, their works and artistic process to the public. It is distributed during the Night and sent to les Rencontres d’Arles as part of the « livre photographique de l’année » (photographic book of the year).
An Audience Award is given at the end of the Night, the public voting for his favourite photographer during the evening.
The festival is free of charge in all the different participating cultural places in town.
The Night of Photography is a non-profit organization.