01 April 2021

The Best Photography Festivals Open this April

01 April 2021 - Written by Simon Hall

Capture Photography Festival (Canada) and an online version of the World Press Photo Festival are the two standout events on the photography calendar this month. Discover what programs they have in store.

Capture Photography Festival / Vancouver, Canada / 2 - 31 April

© Jo Ann Callis

Set in the western Canadian city of Vancouver, Capture Photography Festival is a platform committed to the dissemination of challenging and thought-provoking photography from both local and international artists. Over 30 cultural venues including museums and independent galleries will be transformed into spaces promoting public dialogue around the medium of photography as an art form and a vessel for communication.

In the exhibition line-up this year, Jackie Dives presents a series of twelve images created to address the complexity of grieving a parent who has died from a stigmatising death; Vivek Shraya documents the journey marginalised artists often experience when addressing their own oppression within their artwork; Wang Qingsong engages deeply with the shifts of cultural life in China that is becoming increasingly influenced by contemporary Western traditions; Louise Francis-Smith captures the spontaneous spirit of life and street scenes with and without people in an intimate portrait of the neighbourhood she calls home; and a group show featuring work from the likes of Guy Bourdin, Nan Goldin, Jo Ann Callis, Vik Muniz, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Andy Warhol explores the rich history of food as one of photography’s most prevalent and enduring subjects.

Among the varied program of fringe events, Gabrielle Moser and Emma Steen will lead a virtual two-part reading session examining how digital photography and social media impact our experiences of embodiment; Morris Lum and Suzanne Girard will run a zoom seminar focused on the photographic documentation of Chinatowns across North America; and Erika DeFreitas will host an artist talk in which she will discuss how her Guyanese heritage and Catholic background help inform her work. Visit to find out more.

World Press Photo Festival / Online / 15 - 17 April

© Oleg Ponomarev. Nominee for World Press Photo of the Year

The World Press Photo Foundation will host its annual three-day festival online this year. The event will open on 15 April with the highly anticipated Awards Show where the Foundation will spotlight the category winners of the 2021 World Press Photo Contests and announce the recipients of this year’s four headline prizes: the World Press Photo of the Year, the World Press Photo Story of the Year, the World Press Photo Interactive of the Year, and the World Press Photo Online Video of the Year. The Foundation’s executive director Joumana El Zein Khoury will give a word of welcome and patron Prins Constantijn will close the ceremony, while the show will be moderated throughout by global freestyle multi-media journalist Aldith Hunkar.

Events on days two and three will take the form of artist presentations and digital seminars. Among the highlights, a selection of World Press Photo Contest award-winning photographers will share the stories behind their winning works in a visual storytelling format; this year’s jury chairs NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati and Muyi Xiao will host a discussion about the thought processes that went into the judging process; and four 2021 Contest winners will dive deep into the field of tension that is reporting on protests in an environment where press freedom is not a given. More information about the full program can be found at



The Other Side - An Online Exhibition by PHmuseum / Online until 12 April

Chronicling four years of in-depth migration reporting throughout Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, this exhibition highlights the work of thirty award-winning photographers who participated in the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Adelante Latin American Reporting Initiative. Moving through space and time, the seven galleries on display together present a multimedia portrait of what drives people to take seemingly insurmountable risks, to leave what they know and who they love, and to hang onto threads of hope as they courageously face the walls between them and the other side.


FORMAT Festival / Derby, United Kingdom & Online / 12 March - 11 April

Held in the historic city of Derby, FORMAT is the United Kingdom’s leading international contemporary festival of photography and related media. This biennial celebration of visual storytelling, centred this year around the theme of CONTROL, is the place to engage with an incredible range of work from new and emerging photographers alongside that of some of the best-known practitioners in the world. The curators place a continued focus on forming content and developing opportunities that empower audiences to see, debate, develop, contribute to, and participate in the best of what photography is, and can be. Exhibition highlights include Etinosa Yvonne's exploration into the various coping mechanisms adopted by survivors of terrorism and violent conflict in Nigeria; Shelli Weiler's documentation of the rise and proliferation of made-for-Instagram selfie factories throughout New York and Los Angeles; and Satyadeep Singh's examination of the subject of identity through the dynamics of religion and caste-based discrimination.


Circulation(s) European Young Photography Festival / Paris, France / 13 March - 2 May

First established back in 2011, Festival Circulation(s) has evolved into an innovative laboratory of contemporary European creativity and one of the must-attend photography events on the calendar. Each year, at the Centquatre-Paris and across satellite sites in France and abroad, it reveals the vitality of young visual storytellers and speaks for the diversity of photographic expressions through unique exhibitions and events. This year, in light of recently implemented government restrictions, the festival will not be accessible to the public for the time being, yet a series of online programs will commence on the opening date. Bianca Salvo’s inquiry into the patterns and models of representation; Eleonora Agostini’s examination into the functionality of the home; and Varya Kozhevnikova’s autobiographical project that analyses mother-daughter relationships represent a sample of the compelling stories on display.


Check out our festivals page to get a complete view of what's coming up on the photography calendar over the next few months.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

6 minutes

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