Arles opening week | Advice | How to do it

Opening week Arles 2018

Les rencontres de la photographie


official Festival Map, 2018

official Festival Map, 2018

Round up: Opening week – Monday 2 – Saturday 7 July

Arles is to photographers what Cannes is to filmmakers

Totally the same concept: takes place in a beautiful old French town, involves awards, champagne, and brings together an industry…  but with Arles, just minus the red carpets, Hollywood A-listers and Uber Helicopters (yes, that’s a thing).

With such a buzz around the opening week and FOMO of those who stay behind – weighing up if it’s all hype and ‘if it’s really worth going?’ is an unavoidable question. With 18,500 visitors from all around the world attending the opening week it presents a unique opportunity to meet like-minded, brilliant people. Whilst the special Arles mix of sun, photography, dancing, and rosé, makes business not seem like business.

For this year’s programme there were 36 official exhibitions, 17 on the associated program, put together by 49 guest curators who exhibited 151 artists. Post-Arles there has been a lot of dissatisfaction around the programming with it being too American-centric-White-Male heavy and with an 80 male to 20 female exhibition ratio – the bias doesn’t have anywhere to hide...

Rather than give a review of the exhibitions (you can find plenty of these online – I would recommend Sean O’ Hagens) – here is a round-up of the practical stuff…

Costs / How to get there

Eurostar London to Avignon – £148.00 return (book 6 months in advance)

Train Avignon to Arles – 15€ return (can book on the day)


EasyJet Flight – Gatwick to Marseille £116 return (book 6 months in advance)

Free Shuttle outside the airport from bus stop 5 to TGV Vitrolles Aéroport Marseille

Train TGV Vitrolles to Arles. 13€ return (can book on the day)

/ Or Taxi Marseille airport to Arles 150€ (one way – 5-seater

You can also fly in to Nimes, Montpellier - then train to Arles from there.


Opening week pass  

Unlimited access to all exhibitions (from 2 to 9 July inclusive)

48€ online / 55€ on site

Note: to access Luma Foundation exhibitions there were additional exhibition ticket costs 16€ - borrow a press / guest pass from a friend - they get free access to the shows included.


Where to stay

  • A house share - I would highly recommend the website over Airbnb - as you can reserve now and not pay until June 2019. With advance planning, it’s very easy to get a room in town for 50€ a night.
  • Hotel out of town - for cheaper accommodation consider staying 20 mins walk away and coming in each day. A gang of influential photo editors always seem to congregate at Première Classe Arles 39€ per room (some rooms have three beds in - so that works out super cheap!). I've also heard a late-night Pastis is only 2€.
  • On a kind mates’ floor - if you move the couch forward, put the couch cushions on the floor - it makes a cosy bedroom behind (I did this my first two Arles - and now always offer my couch out).  This option could cost you as little as putting two bottles of rosé in the house fridge. 
  • Camping - the site Camping City is 15 minutes from town and has a lovely swimming pool. 18€ per night for a pitch. Note: watch for Mosquitoes - take LOTS of jungle strength spray



If you’re trying to save money definitely don’t get involved in the big group dinners. Eat at home then join at the end of the meal for coffee and drinks.

Shop at Carrefour then save your pennies for one splurge 'living the life' meal.

Le Galoubet - the best French restaurant in town, ask to sit outside - you MUST book in advance. Two sittings per night 6:30/7pm and from 9pm. Choose the fixed menu - 33€ for three courses or 27€ for two courses.

 Louis Vuitton city guide, 2018

 Louis Vuitton city guide, 2018

Portfolio Reviews

Official Arles festival reviews - 200€ for 5 reviews

Fringe Voies Off festival reviews - 12€ per review

Before you hand over any cash, consider if a set of portfolio reviews are really worth it at this point in your career. Could you do a WSG workshop instead? Having a supportive crew around you is an easier (and more fun) route to success than chasing (expensive) gatekeepers.



  • Visiting so many exhibitions, handling lots of new books, and attending interesting evening talks and events.
  • Geek out about photography – have impromptu meetings – with people from around the world
  • Dance until 4am alongside curators to form genuine relationship NOT static, forced portfolio review ones
  • Feel part of a community and get to hang out with your creative crew which is normally far too busy to ever meet up.


The programme

  • 36 official exhibitions, 17 on the associated program
  • 49 guest curators / 151 artists
  • 80 French and international publishers at Cosmos Arles Books
  • 6 evenings at various venues in town, including 3 free ones
  • 129 public events: public tours with artists and curators, book signings, live France Inter shows


The parties

  • Wednesday – Photographers’ Gallery / BMW
  • Thursday – Women in Photo / Prix Pictet
  • Friday – HSBC / Night of the year

Next Arles 2019 Work-Show-Grow are planning a workshop and Friday night party!

For the official Arles festival opening week breakdown




Application Success | Advice | How to Apply


1 Read and understand the theme

If the opportunity / competition you are entering has a theme, make sure you understand exactly what it is the judges are looking for. Themed competitions will normally have a brief, which, if read fully, could give you clues and information as to what the judges are looking for. Although the best advice would be to follow the theme exactly, you shouldn’t let this dilute your creativity, and stop you from producing something unique, so the advice here is to read the brief fully and keep within the boundaries of the theme.

2. Deadline / Eligibility

Make sure the deadline hasn’t passed, if it has, check to see if it is an annual competition and put the date in your schedule for next year. Equally, check the eligibility, see if there are any age restrictions, or if you have to be from a specific geographic location and check for experience, some contests are only open to emerging or professional photographers.

3. Entry fee

Stop and think. Can you afford to enter both in terms of your time and money? - Does the opportunity disclaim were the entry fee goes? If you’re feeling nervous about parting with the money this month then trust your gut instinct and wait for the next opportunity to come up.

4. Judges

Who are the judges? Can you get your work in front of them an alternative way? Start a relationship with them by following them across their platforms. Finding out what they like and don’t like and getting your name in front of them in advance of your submission could give you an advantage.

5. Carefully read the supporting material requests

Following the instructions is a no-brainer way to increase your chances of getting on the longlist. If the opportunity requests a project text of 100 word, don’t send 300. If they request 6 images don’t send double. Often project administrators will sort through and delete the submissions which don’t comply with the guidelines. This means you won’t get your work in front of the judges and effectively means you’re throwing your hard-earned cash away!

6. Image selection / Discuss the opportunity

Sharing the application process with friends is vital. Don’t be competitive with your direct peers – be each-others cheerleaders instead! Your peers can help you to formulate your proposal and give fresh advice when editing your image selection. It is useful to look at ‘previous winners’ to get a feel for what to enter. Most decent competitions will list past winners on their websites. 

7. Positive rejection

Don’t get disheartened when unsuccessful. Remember, there’s a lot of great work out there also competing, and every judge sees things differently. Stay positive and reflect on how you can improve your chances next time. Ensure you make a note of who the judges were and what work you entered. It is very normal for people to apply to the same opportunity a number of times (just no one talks about it!).

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 12.40.13.png

Showcase 18 | Exhibition | University for the Creative Arts

IMG_4218 2.jpeg

Showcase 18 | Photo Farnham | University for the Creative Arts

Photo Farnham Showcase 18 brings together the best of the BA (hons) Photography 2018 graduates and 2nd year MFA Photography work.

Running across four exhibition spaces, this dynamic show highlights the diversity of students practice; from moving image, to artists’ books, to still image and installation based work. The subject matter of the students’ work varies from mental awareness, personal experiences, family archives, subculture movement, loss and philosophical themes.

The Photo Farnham Showcase 18 will be launching this year’s publication and screen based exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery. The showcase premiere will take over two full floors to present a multi-screened exhibition. Screens will display the students final work, exhibition installation images, a documentation of the making of, and page turning of the showcase publication. The publication will be available to view and purchase on the night.

The publication measures 258 x 200 mm and is case bound. It consists of 132 pages; offset printed on a mix of Lumiart Gloss 150gsm and Cyclus Offset 140gsm.

Demystifying applications | Talk | Photoworks


Demystifying applications

Presented by Photoworks - ‘Collaborate’ at Free Range

Friday 29 June, 1pm - 3pm | Shop 13, Truman Brewery, Brick Lane

Demystifying the application process.
Natasha Caruana, artist, lecturer and founder of Work-Show-Grow presents a crash course in how to approach award applications.

Natasha Caruana, artist, lecturer and founder of Work-Show-Grow presents a crash course in how to approach award applications.

Degree show season is upon us. The boards are up, the work is on the wall, the invites have been sent out and hell yeah you’re feeling proud! Now is the time to ride that creative wave and start thinking about your next creative steps. If you’re planning to keep making work and intend to start the long journey developing an arts career – mastering the application process should definitely now be one of your priorities. There are golden opportunities waiting to be applied to.

For this one-off workshop, (three days of free events centred around collaboration, connecting artists and knowledge sharing), I’ll be delivering a crash course on how to give your applications the best start. Working in a small workshop environment we will look at example commission applications to learn what is a good opportunity and what should be avoided. This will be followed with practical tips on how to make your application stand out – to consider networking, writing, and how to prepare your example images. And finally, although no one wants to bring the mood down, we will explore how to cope with rejection in a positive way.

Further detail HERE


Overhaul | Exhibition | Peckham 24


Overhaul  w/ Natasha Caruana, Rhiannon Adam & Laura Pannack

Peckham 24 - Contemporary Photography Festival

Friday 18 May - Sunday 20 May 2018

Safehouse 1, 139 Copeland Road, London, SE15 3SN

Overhaul brings together artists Natasha Caruana, Rhiannon Adam, and Laura Pannack to transform a derelict terraced house in Peckham. The exhibition explores the collision of collaboration, science, and research led enquiries drawing from The Peckham Experiment (1926-1950). This revolutionary initiative was led by doctors Innes Pearse and George Scott Williamson to study rising concerns over health and well-being, and to further preventative healthcare amongst the working classes. Peckham was selected due to having relatively few social problems. The initiative worked with 950 local families living within one mile of the experiment’s base, the glass-walled Pioneer Health Centre, St Mary’s Road, Peckham. The building still stands today, though it has been converted to residential flats.

The show is part of Peckham 24.