Mission: An annual summertime event, Rencontres introduces the public to contemporary photographic creation and its topicality through occupation of a particular territory: the Gaspé peninsula. There it presents a series of exhibitions and installations, public events conceived as a space for reflection and initiation, and a program of artist residencies and of exchanges with festivals in other countries.


The event will map 24 reference points at the heart of the Gaspé region that serve as invitations to produce a portrait of our individual and collective identities. It will offer an overview through the eyes of artists who mobilize the countryside, as well as a portrait to provide new outlines of what it is that fashions our identities.

Unlike the media representations and impersonal data that strive to confine us, the works selected here address the environment, the region and the human presence with the aim of tracing other reference points in them without withdrawing into a fixed vision of society. Bringing current practices in photography and video to bear, these different views draw together the familiar and the distant, the ordinary and the unknown, drawing out from each fact, action and place all their individuality in the face of the attempts at globalization and standardization of what surrounds us.

Reference points: portraits and society will bring together 15 artists from Québec and elsewhere in Canada and 11 artists from around the world across an area of more than 800 kilometers. Over a period of two and a half months, Rencontres is offering the public more than 30 initiatives on the subject of current photography: exhibits, a photographer tour, discussions, a participatory project, artists in residence, publications, and inauguration of a permanent work.

The installations and exhibitions will be held from mid-July to September 30 in 17 municipalities or national parks: Matapédia, Nouvelle, Carleton-sur-Mer, Maria, New Richmond, Caplan, Bonaventure, Paspébiac, Chandler, Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park (Percé), Gaspé, Forillon National Park, Petite-Vallée, Marsoui, Cap-Chat and Gaspésie National Park.

At the heart of the experience, the Photographer Tour will take place from August 17 to 20. This one-of-a-kind event brings together visitors, photographers and the local population for public gatherings on the subject of creation: video projections, lecture-discussions, a roundtable, performance, etc. The official opening will take place on Thursday, August 17 in the evening.


In inventing Rencontres it was our duty to break ground and to stand out from other contemporary arts events. To champion photography, its language and its various esthetics, we have put in place an arrangement on over 800 kilometers (500 miles), which comprises some 20 locations (indoors and outdoors) in 17 municipalities and national parks. The exhibits and installations that we stage in the open air are integrated into the territory, into the places and the buildings. We take part in the identity of the territory while presenting a unique way of visiting it.

The concept of Rencontres resides in the interdependence of the artists and our territory, in the mutual encounter of the population and the artists, but also in the interaction among the works, the territory and the public. Each of these different players thus participates in the process of creation that we aim to foster.

Our vision: To introduce people to contemporary creation, its language, its codes and its various esthetics by occupying our territory: the Gaspé.

Our commitment: To champion the artist’s work, to increase its visibility and to promote the furthering of the discipline. Audience development and networking are at the heart of our actions.


A first photographic mission involving contact with a territory and its population titled Parcours du point de vue was created in the Gaspé in June 2009. This consisted of ten installations spread out over the territory, the result of the residencies of five guest artists. It was against this backdrop that Rencontres was launched in 2010.

Over the years we have taken important steps and concluded agreements so that our event become part of an enormous network dedicated to the visual arts, further to the objective of offering artists new platforms for creation and dissemination. We seek to support contemporary creation and to forge lasting bonds with visitors. The development of an audience and the circulation of works are at the heart of our actions.

Each edition of Rencontres is the opportunity to address different artistic approaches by way of activities such as artist residencies, get-togethers with the public, and school-based undertakings. Our contribution to the development of the discipline is confirmed at the panels and discussion forums that we organize between artists and the public.

Our 2nd edition resulted in a highly positive balance sheet, with figures to support it. According to the Étude d’achalandage, de provenance et de retombées économiques (Study of Patronage, Origin and Economic Repercussions) conducted by SEGMA Recherche, the 2011 edition attracted 113,062 visits to photographic exhibits and installations in the 13 host municipalities, generating total direct expenditures of $9,668,456 in the Gaspé. In 2015, Rencontres received visits from over 70,000 people to the exhibitions as a whole, for a total of 210,000 exhibit visits.

For 2016, we are pleased to announce two new partnerships. The first was concluded with the municipality of Caplan, and the second with Gaspésie National park. In 2017, this park is still a partner in the event alongside Forillon and Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Parks.