The VII Foundation hosted a unique lineup of events during the opening week of Les Rencontres d’Arles Photo Festival.

Worshippers gather in front of the Dome of the Rock to celebrate prophet Muhammad’s mystical “Night journey”. According to Islamic tradition the prophet Muhammad was ascended to heaven with help of the archangel Gabriel and returned with important guidelines for Muslims including 5 daily prayers. Jerusalem, February  2022. ©Ziyah Gafić / VII. / Les fidèles se rassemblent devant le Dôme du Rocher pour célébrer le mystique “Voyage nocturne” du prophète Mohammed. Selon la tradition islamique, le prophète Mohammed s’éleva au ciel avec l’aide de l’archange Gabriel et revint avec des consignes fondamentales pour les musulmans, y compris les 5 prières quotidiennes. Jérusalem, 2022.
© Ziyah Gafić / VII.
© Ziyah Gafic / VII

MONUMENTAL: The Dome of the Rock by Ziyah Gafić and Notre-Dame de Paris by Tomas van Houtryve fosters discussions on faith, national identity, power politics, social cohesion, colonization, division, and political violence through the symbolism of two monumental religious buildings: The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, and Notre-Dame de Paris.

July 01 — September 29, 2024


Wilmarie Deetlefs, 24, together with her boyfriend, Zakithi Buthelezi, 27, on a night out in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 1, 2018. They are both part of South Africa’s ‘born free generation,’ youngsters who were born around the ending of the racial segregation system, apartheid. ©Ilvy Njiokiktjien/VII

© Ilvy Njiokiktjien / VII

VII Photo contributing photographers Eric Bouvet, Ashley Gilbertson, Ed Kashi, and Ilvy Njiokiktjien ran a series of three-day and half-day workshops at The VII Foundation’s Alexandra Boulat Campus in the heart of Arles. All workshops included a private group session with James Nachtwey.

from june 29


James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey, one of the most celebrated photojournalists of our time, joined us in Arles to host a public lecture. During this open conversation and Q&A, James showcased a collection of seminal photographs from his illustrious career. He discussed his approach to assignments, using a well-known body of work as a case study, and answered audience questions. 

July 01


A young boy walks on the dry bed of Lake Hamun in Takhtak. The lake, once one of the largest in the world, has now completely dried up due to climate change and environmental destruction, forcing people to engage in dryland farming on the fertile lakebed. Aug. 3, 2014, Sistan & Baluchistan Province, Iran. © Mahdi Barchian.
© Mahdi Barchian.

Square Mile, an initiative by VII Community in partnership with PhotoWings, inspires conversations on local stories. A screening of VII Community members’ work was followed by a discussion with the project’s curators, Ron Haviv (The VII Foundation Director), Suzie Katz (PhotoWings Founder and President), along with featured alumni photographers Mihaela Aroyo and Mahdi Barchian.

July 02


IMAGE GENERATED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Prompt: An award winning documentary photograph of a lone soldier and the victim of a war crime in the style of a VII photographer (created via Midjourney on 6 June 2023). Image created for a discussion on A.I.

Given the danger synthetic visual media poses to the power of images in reliably documenting events and issues, this session addressed this question: what can independent practitioners and media organizations do to ensure authenticated visual content retains a central place in visual journalism?

July 03


©Photograph by David Turnley
© Photograph by David Turnley

Around the world, journalists are being targeted and press freedom is being obstructed. In recent years, in a wide variety of countries and contexts, we have seen an increase in military strikes against journalists, political threats to reporters, and harassment and intimidation of the media. The strategies for securing journalism and journalists were at the heart of this discussion. 

July 04


A portrait of Cinta from the Netherlands from the book "Outside the Binary." Photo by Linda Bournane Engelberth / VII.
© Linda Bournane Engelberth / VII

This event featured book signings by acclaimed VII Photo contributing photographers Ali Arkady, Philip Blenkinsop, Eric Bouvet, Linda Bournane Engelberth, Ed Kashi, Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Finbarr O’Reilly, and Daniel Schwartz. 

July 05


Les fidèles musulmans s'adonnent à la prière du vendredi en direction de La Mecque, au sud, à l’extérieur du Dôme du Rocher. Le Dôme du Rocher est à la fois source d’inspiration et de controverse. Peu d’endroits sur Terre ont une telle signification spirituelle pour tant de croyants. © Ziyah Gafić / Facing south toward Mecca, Muslim worshippers perform Friday prayers outside the Dome of the Rock. A source of both inspiration and contention, few places on Earth carries so much spiritual meaning to so many of different faiths. © Ziyah Gafić

Using The VII Foundation exhibition, MONUMENTAL: The Dome of the Rock by Ziyah Gafić and Notre-Dame de Paris by Tomas van Houtryve, as a launch pad, this discussion featured presentations on photography’s history and politics of representation in France and Israel/Palestine.

July 05, 15:00



The VII Foundation
The Alexandra Boulat Campus
49 Quai de la Roquette
13200, Arles, France 

MONUMENTAL opening hours:
July 1 — September 29, 2024.
Open every day from 10 AM until 7:30 PM CEST
Contact [email protected] for a private viewing of the exhibition after this date. 

Press Contact:
Mathilde Sandlarz, 2e Bureau
[email protected]
+331 42 33 93 18