01 August 2017

August Festivals Guide

01 August 2017 - Written by Simon Hall

Obscura Festival of Photography (Malaysia), Verzasca FOTO (Switzerland), and Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival (Japan) all open their doors in August. Learn more about these three festivals and other important events featured on the photography calendar this coming month.

Obscura Festival of Photography / Penang, Malaysia / 18 - 23 August

© Léonard Pongo, from the series, The Uncanny

Since its launch in 2013, Obscura Festival of Photography has emerged as one of the leading cultural events in the Asia-Pacific. Taking place in the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town, Malaysia, a series of exhibitions, workshops, masterclasses, portfolio reviews, and projection nights will be held from 18 - 23 August. Alongside the special events designed for professionals and students, a large portion of the program is free to the public. The festival plays an important role in fostering the growth of the photographic arts in the region, creating international multi-lateral partnerships.

Among the standout events, Léonard Pongo, Wawi Navarroza, and Miti Ruangkritya will each be hosting workshops, Calin Kruse (Designer and Publisher at Dienacht Magazine), Matt Grace (Creative Director at Myanmar Deitta), Tobias Kruse (Photographer, Ostkreuz Agency), and Daniel Boetker-Smith (Director, Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive) are among the names participating in the portfolio reviews; and celebrated documentary photographer and 2017 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Maggie Steber will be hosting a masterclass exploring the concept of how to show people something they haven’t seen before.

For further information, go to

Verzasca FOTO Festival / Sonogno, Canton of Ticino, Switzerland / 31 August - 3 September

© Nicolas Janowski, from the series, Adrift in Blue

Set in the idyllic alpine village of Sonogno, Verzasca FOTO is an annual open-air festival featuring exhibitions, photo nights, roundtable discussions, presentations, and workshops presented by leading industry figures. The curators’ focus is on supporting visual arts in southern Switzerland and promoting the work of emerging photographers by offering them both a free space to expose their work, and access to different forms of expression and ways of visual storytelling.

In the featured events this year, Estrella Herrera - the winner of the Verzasca FOTO Festival Award - will exhibit her series, Magnetic Field; Snezhana von Buedingen, Javier Arcenillas, Christian Werner, Sasha Maslov, Yann Laubscher, and Giles Clarke are among those projecting their work during the photo night on 2 September; and PHM curator Nicolas Janowski will be hosting a two-day workshop exploring new communication technologies in photography.

To learn more about the program, visit

Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival / Kobe, Japan / 19 - 27 August

© Megan E. Doherty, from the series, Back of the Yards

Under the directorship of Takeki Sugiyama, Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival was created in 2013 in order to develop the market of photography in Japan and to educate local photographers. “Every day we see an endless number of photos and receive various messages from them. However, most people are actually barely conscious of the messages delivered by those photos. At the same time, there are photographers out there who want to convey a variety of messages through their photography in the form of news, media and art etc. I really want to support those photographers” Sugiyama says.

In the exhibition program this year: Zalmaï presents Alone Together Together Alone, a series of work exploring the refugee crisis in Europe; Graham Miller, Phillip George, and Polixeni Papapetrou feature in Instincts, a group show organised by the Australian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Megan E. Doherty exposes her project, Back of the Yards, which documents the last remaining member of a tiny street ministry tending to those involved in Chicago gang violence; and the Emerging Photographers Showcase includes the work of Aleksey Kondratyev, Chloe Aftel, Erik Hagen, and Sheila Zhao. A collection of lectures, workshops, and symposiums complete the list of events.

Visit to find out more.



Cortona On The Move / Tuscany, Italy / 13 July - 1 October

The Tuscan countryside town of Cortona has been transformed into a stage for contemporary photography, hosting varying cultural initiatives and 20 official exhibitions showcasing the works of photographers like Donna Ferrato, Donald Weber, Sandra Mehl, and Farshid Tighehsaz.


Les Rencontres de la Photographie / Arles, France / 3 July - 24 September

Running through 24 September, the Rencontres d’Arles presents a program of events that almost exclusively favours new, unpublished work. Michael Wolf, Christophe Rihet, Kate Barry, Mathieu Asselin, and Gideon Mendel are among the exhibiting photographers.


Nano Festival de Fotografía / Buenos Aires, Argentina / 16 - 20 August

Born from social networks seven years ago, Nano Festival in Buenos Aires is dedicated to promoting and disseminating the work of emerging visual storytellers. This year, more than 40 local photographers will showcase their work across four exhibitions.


PHotoEspaña / Madrid, Spain / 31 May - 27 August

Under the directorship of María García Yelo, this latest installment of PHotoEspaña takes a look back at the previous two decades of photography, while also considering emerging talents that will shape the industry in the years to come.


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Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

6 minutes

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