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In September, We Animals Media attended Visa pour l’image: International Festival of Photojournalism, hosted in Perpignan, France. This annual, month-long event welcomes thousands of photojournalists and photography professionals from around the world for a series of exhibitions, roundtable discussions, screenings and award presentations.

The town heaves with images of humanity and inhumanity, of earth’s brilliance and vulnerability.

“This is my fourth visit to Visa. The festival buzzes. Photographers, students, photo editors and agencies come together to look at work, get inspired and talk shop. This festival was formative for me in my early days, and gave me much to strive for. I wanted to exhibit work some day. Now, the festival is formative in other ways! Our work is here, and in that, animal photojournalism is here.” ― Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Media Founder

Perpignan festival attendees watch images from HIDDEN projected onto a big screen. Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

Perpignan festival attendees watch images from HIDDEN projected onto a big screen. Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media​

This year, Visa projected our award-winning photography book HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene onto a massive outdoor screen for almost eight minutes while 2,000 photojournalists observed our prolific brutality to animals. Many of them saw for the first time the scope and scale of what we do to animals we use for food, fashion, entertainment and research.

“The reaction to the HIDDEN screening could not have been conveyed to us more directly or honestly than it was last night and today by the people who spontaneously came up to us to say how moved they were. You could have heard a pin drop! We heard from people who genuinely expressed their wish to do what they can to change their habits and lifestyle choices.” ― Keith Wilson, HIDDEN Co-Editor

Perpignan festival attendees watch images from HIDDEN projected onto a big screen. Thomas Machowicz / We Animals Media

Visa’s exhibitions and screenings provide an excellent coverage of contemporary photojournalism that’s relevant to the issues and stories of the day. The response HIDDEN received at this year’s event highlights the importance and necessity of documenting and sharing animal stories. An emergent and essential genre of photography, animal photojournalism shares animal stories with the influential changemakers of our time to help foster a more aware and compassionate relationship to animals.

We were heartened by the response of audience members to these images of suffering and cruelty.

It’s a massacre what we are doing. A massacre! I was thinking of my dog during the presentation…missing him…and I eat meat….this work is so important, so moving. I’m so happy that this screened here.” ― Audience member

“I’m a huge carnivore but the projection is making me seriously rethink all of it. I’m starting out in photojournalism and I want to work with you.” ― Audience member

We Animals Media will return to Visa pour l’image in 2022 to continue building on this foundation and presence, at Visa and other photography events, contributing to dialogue and change as a global nonprofit animal photojournalism agency.

For more related images, visit our HIDDEN gallery.

Learn more about HIDDEN.

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