April's Best Photo Festivals

World Press Photo Festival (the Netherlands), Kyotographie (Japan), and Capture Photography Festival (Canada) all feature in our curated guide to the most important festivals opening their doors this coming month.

World Press Photo Festival / Amsterdam, The Netherlands / 12 - 14 April

© Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times, shortlisted for the World Press Photo of the Year award

Celebrating the best of photojournalism, the World Press Photo Festival is an annual meeting place for leading curators, editors, agencies, and visual storytellers from across the world. The festival this year will be held at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek - a former gas works factory turned cultural venue - chosen to offer a richer program with more opportunities to learn about the photographers behind the images. A one or two-day pass, costing €45 and €75 respectively (half-price for students), will grant visitors access to talks, screenings, meetups, and the flagship World Press Photo Exhibition at De Nieuwe Kerk. For the first time in the event's history, all of the prize winners in this year’s contest - including the recipient of the acclaimed World Press Photo of the Year award - will be announced publicly at the Awards Show on the evening of Thursday 12 April.

The headlining Sem Presser Lecture will be presented by Stephanie Sinclair, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for gaining unique access to the most sensitive gender and human rights issues around the world. In other events, Eliot Higgins will speak about the methods used by investigative organisation Bellingcat to verify images, and how that allows the team to investigate a range of incidents; Pete Souza will elaborate on his time at the White House next to President Obama; the International Women’s Media Foundation will stage the Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Awards ceremony; and ROAR! Safety will host a workshop designed for female photographers covering various topics including personal safety and situational awareness.

To learn more about the full program, visit festival.worldpressphoto.org.


Kyotographie / Kyoto, Japan / 14 April - 13 May

© Izumi Miyazaki, Riceball Mountain (2018 exhibitor)

Held in the ancient city of Kyoto, Japan, Kyotographie International Photography Festival looks to highlight the work of traditional artisans while also featuring contemporary image-makers and renowned visual storytellers. The exhibitions are to be presented outside of the traditional white cube gallery format and in harmony with the natural and cultural settings in which they will be displayed.

The theme for this, the 6th edition, is UP. “In today’s world it is easy to feel burdened, pulled down by the issues we face personally and as a global community” say the curators. “Kyotographie invites you to look around, to look inside, in order to better look UP and trigger new personal and collective impetus towards ourselves and each other, to change our world through awareness, action and creation” they add. Masahisa Fukase, Alberto García-Alix, Lauren Greenfield, Frank Horvat, and Izumi Miyazaki are among the exhibiting artists exploring this conceptual idea.

In the supporting events, Simon Baker (Senior Curator, International Art (Photography) Tate, London), Duan Yuting (Co-founder, Lianzhou Museum of Photography, China), Yumi Goto (Independent Curator), Yusuke Nakajima (Director, The Tokyo Art Book Fair), Andrew Sanigar (Commissioning Editor for Photography and Design, Thames & Hudson), and Gwen Lee (Founder, Singapore International Photography Festival) are some of the names to feature in the portfolio reviews, while François Cheval, Gideon Mendel, and Hanne van der Woude will be hosting a series of two-day Masterclasses. Go to kyotographie.jp/en to find out more.


Capture Photography Festival / Vancouver, Canada / 3 - 30 April

© Mike McLean, from the series JR (2018 exhibitor)

From 3 to 30 April, Vancouver, Canada will play host to Capture Photography Festival, a platform devoted to exhibiting challenging and thought-provoking photography from local and international artists. Over 30 cultural venues throughout the city will be transformed into spaces that promote public dialogue about the medium of photography as an art form and a vessel for communication.

In the exhibition line-up this year Alex McLeod displays imagery that moves between two and three-dimensional spaces, dissolving the facade between our own physical word and imagined possibilities; Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa presents Requiem for Mirrors and Tigers, a collection of six documented video performances; Jonah Samson contemplates an André Breton book through the transformation of a series of found photographs sourced from eBay; Mike McLean surveys a hamlet of Jordan River in Vancouver, recording the historical transition it is undergoing using infrared photography; and Karilynn Ming Ho uses the metaphor of phantom limb syndrome to explore themes of fragmented realities.

Among the varied program of fringe events Director Lu Nelson provides an insider’s look at the work and process of world-renowned Vancouver photographer Jeff Wall; curator and critic David Campany discusses the nature and fate of news photography archives and the appropriation of press imagery by artists; and Maria Turnbull leads a panel discussion surrounding the question, how has social media changed the way we tell stories through photos?

Visit capturephotofest.com to discover the full program.


Month of Photography Los Angeles / Los Angeles, United States / 1 - 30 April

© Cody Bratt (2018 exhibitor)

Now in its 10th year, Month of Photography Los Angeles has developed into one of the largest events of its kind in the United States, showcasing all forms of the photographic image inclusive of commercial, fine art, and photojournalism. The festival's two-fold mission is to advance dynamic programming designed to engage and stimulate the photography community, as well as to present a compelling collection of exhibitions.

Among the primary shows, Stronger Shines the Light Inside - an ongoing public photography installation and social media platform - tells the stories of resettlement in America; Wanderlust: A Silent Auction Benefit aims to show viewers how the world is a beautiful, complex and fragile place; Emily Berl presents her large format colour prints from her documentary portrait series exploring the ongoing legacy of Marilyn Monroe; Paper Promises: Early American Photography at the Getty Center delves into the formative years of photography in nineteenth-century America; and Love We Leave Behind by Cody Bratt looks at the emotional journeys people take in the aftermath of fervent love.

The public program features a number of events designed to inspire and invigorate the photography professional, including open discussions, artist talks, masterclasses on contemporary image-making, and a series of portfolio reviews hosted by such industry leaders as Anna Alexander (Director of Photography, WIRED), MaryAnn Camilleri (Founder, The Magenta Foundation), Michael Itkoff (Co-Founder, Fabl and Daylight Books), Toby Kaufmann (Executive Photography Director, Refinery29), Lucy Pike (Photography Director, WeTransfer), Jody Quon (Photography Director, New York Magazine), and Elizabeth Renstrom (Photo Editor, Vice). To learn more, go to monthofphotography.com.

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ALSO OPEN THIS MONTH:

Italian Street Photo Festival / Rome, Italy / 13 - 15 April

Organised by Officine Fotografiche - a recognised non-profit photography association based in Rome - ISPF is the first festival dedicated to street photography in Italy, providing a space for professionals, enthusiasts, and amateurs to investigate the contemporary identity of the medium. Marco Pesaresi and Tavepong Pratoomwong are among the exhibitors in this first edition, while Vineet Vohra and Umberto Verdoliva will both be hosting multi-day workshops.

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Circulation(s) / Paris, France / 17 March - 6 May

Since its foundation in 2011, Circulation(s) festival has evolved into a laboratory of contemporary creativity dedicated to the dissemination of European photographic diversity. The curators’ main ambition is to widen the range of perceptions and audience experiences, presenting young, emerging talents who are displaying many different takes on the world. Susannah Baker-Smith, Çağdaş Erdoğan, Frank Herfort, Louis Quail, and Elsa Leydier are among the featured photographers this year.

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Perugia Social Photo Fest / Perugia, Italy / 10 March - 8 April

Born in 2013 as a collaborative project between Piombino’s SocialPhotoFest Association and the LuceGrigia Association of Perugia, PSPF is an annual meeting place for photographers, organisations, and experts in social photography. The 2018 edition explores the theme, The Skin I Live with Simona Ghizzoni, Katharina Bauer, Donato Di Camillo, Farzana Hossen, and Magnus Wennman among the exhibitors.

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FotoFest 2018 Biennial / Houston, Texas / 10 March - 22 April

Held in Houston, Texas, FotoFest International 2018 shines a spotlight on contemporary photography and new media art from India. It is only the second time in the festival’s 35 year history that it is dedicated exclusively to photographic work from Asia. “The exhibition focuses on the contemporary moment, and a mix of approaches are included, namely art photography, contemporary practices, installation, moving image, and journalistic and documentary photography” explains lead curator, Sunil Gupta.

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