First established as a regional showcase in 1996, the International Wildlife and Nature Festival of Montier is now considered as the Cannes of nature photography. With former contributors such as Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Nicolas Vanier, the four-day festival features between 80 and 100 passionate international artists each year.

Text: Pierre Zahnd | Main Photo: Baptiste Gerbet

Passion, in fact, seems to be the centre of the festival’s sustained appeal. “Visitors take note of next year’s dates before they leave the festival, and photography professionals always ask each other: ‘Are you going to Montier this year?’,” says communication manager Émilie Gallois. In fact, a condition for having one’s work displayed is to attend the whole four days. This encourages a dialogue between audience and artist and gives a strong sense of presence and involvement to the festival.

International Wildlife and Nature Festival of Montier, photo by Laurent Geslin

Photo: Laurent Geslin

This year, the event focuses on Asia and on the worldwide ecosystem of forests and how they adapt to a changing climate. “Our photographers are witnesses to this global problem and they document what is happening on an environmental level.” Alongside top-tier photo exhibitions, the event offers various talks, conferences and outdoors excursions. The nearby Village of Trades, a singular, 1,000-square-metre marketplace for photography and observation equipment, also hosts showcases and experiments. With up to 40,000 visitors, Montier isn’t a closed-off affair for connoisseurs only, but a community of people gathered over a shared love for nature and beautiful images.

And the location itself could hardly be more suited to such a gathering: set in the woody Haute-Marne department, Montier lies near the Lac du Der, a wide and picturesque lake known as a natural habitat for the ash-coloured cranes. Every year, the festival takes place around the third weekend of November during their Autumn migration, giving visitors the chance to watch them taking flight at sunrise.

The 2019 International Wildlife and Nature Festival of Montier will be held from 14 – 17 November 2019

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