28 November 2018

December's Best Photo Festivals

28 November 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

While the photography festival season may be quietening down, there are still plenty of exciting events happening across the world this December, with Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia), Angkor Photo Festival (Cambodia) and Miami Street Photography Festival (United States) all opening their doors to the public. Learn more about their exhibition programs and supporting events.

Addis Foto Fest / Addis Ababa, Ethiopia / 6 - 10 December

© Fatoumata Diabate, from the series Le Studio de la Rue

Established back in 2010 by award-winning photographer, cultural entrepreneur, and PHM 2018 Women Photographers Grant juror, Aida Muluneh, Addis Foto Fest has established itself as one of the leading photography festivals in Africa and in the world. “The driving force to organise the AFF has always been my core belief that not only in Ethiopia, but across the continent, the creative sector is an important component in our development” Muluneh writes. “Hence, AFF represents a unique platform to share with the audience the vital role that photography plays in influencing how the world perceives us, and crucially, how we see ourselves.”

In this year’s primary events, Fatoumata Diabate showcases an installation of Le Studio Photo de la Rue, her street studio series that looks at how new generations can honour the heritage of their elders; Dudley M. Brooks (Photo Editor, The Washington Post Magazine) will host a talk that delves into the effective ways of mapping out creative visual concepts; a group show titled Excitement and Hope provides a platform for Zimbabwean artists to reflect and interrogate the social and economic fabric in the country in light of its most recent political transition; Roger Ballen presents a retrospective of his work that celebrates his self-defined ‘documentary fiction’ style; and Francois Beaurain will lead a workshop covering topics such as stop-motion animation, how to create a seamless loop, and the creative possibilities of GIFS.

The festival will also once again organise a series portfolio reviews that aim to facilitate the formation of new networks and create opportunities for emerging talents across Africa to grow professionally and participate in the international market. The reviewers include M.D. Shahnewaz Khan (Journalist / Curator), Grace Aneiza Ali (Curator / Editor / Educator), Illa Donwahi (President of the Donwahi Foundation for Contemporary Art), and Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel (Photo Editor, National Geographic) among others. Visit for more information.

Angkor Photo Festival / Siem Reap, Cambodia / 8 - 18 December

© Huiying Ore, from the series The Golden City of Boten

Celebrating its 14th edition, Angkor Photo Festival is today the longest-running photography event in Southeast Asia, on a mission to provide a vibrant and dynamic platform to help nurture the region’s photographic community. Featuring the work of over 100 photographers from more than 40 countries, this year’s program aims to introduce a range of contemporary practitioners with different approaches to the craft, creating room for discussion and dialogue amongst local artists and visiting professionals.

At the core of the event is a six-day intensive workshop aimed at offering an affordable and accessible educational experience for emerging talents in Asia. Under the tutelage of renowned photographers Veejay Villafranca, Antoine d’Agata, Sohrab Hura, Kosuke Okahara, Ian Teh, Tania Bohórquez, and Katrin Koenning, 30 young visual storytellers will be coached on how to nurture their own unique vision and approach to the various disciplines within photography. Each participant will produce a photo essay culminating in a special showcase on closing night.

Elsewhere, in the supporting program of exhibitions and projections, Huiying Ore documents a Chinese land concession projects in Laos, creating loose and often ironic narratives around themes of power, identity and sovereignty; Nepal Picture Library presents photographs bearing testimony to the history of social, economic, political, and intellectual disadvantage that Nepalese Dalits have had to endure; Shana and Robert Parkeharrison employ a poetic visual language to investigate the triangular interaction between nature, technology, and human existence; and a Sharon May retrospective offers an intimate look into how the people of Cambodia rebuilt their lives and culture following the country’s civil war in the 1970s. To learn more, go to

Miami Street Photography Festival / Miami, United States / 6 - 9 December

© Maggie Steber, from the series The Secret Garden of Lily Lapalma

The Miami Street Photography Festival is set once again to take over the HistoryMiami Museum for four days of exhibitions, workshops, and lectures promoting and disseminating the best of contemporary street and documentary photography. The festival’s focus will continue to be on advancing the work of visual storytellers striving to capture the life and culture of public spaces; those searching for what photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson termed the “decisive moment”.

Among the packed program this year, Maggie Steber presents a series of work departing from her documentary style, letting loose her subconscious and imagination to reveal her fears and private memories; Jamie Rose, CEO of Momenta Workshops, will host a talk about how to create and fund a personal project such as a picture story or dummy photobook; Vladimir Marcano will hold an open discussion centred around images from his exhibit La Tempestad (The Tempest), a tribute to the Venezuelans involved in the massive and brutal protest of 2017; Meryl Meisler will share images and insights from her personal photographic journey and her 40-year archive of street style photographs; and Stella Johnson will discuss how she investigates culture, community, and family in a lecture looking at how to develop lifelong relationships with subjects.

In other public events, 90 selected finalists from the MSPF Singles Photo competition will feature in a special exhibition, former president of Magnum Photos, Nathan Benn will display nearly 100 photographs and other artefacts related to his 20-year career at National Geographic, and street photography collective, Flanares will showcase their work depicting everyday life in cities across their native Brazil. For further information, visit



Photolux Festival / Lucca, Italy / 17 November - 9 December

Held in the Tuscan town of Lucca on the Serchio River, Photolux Festival acts as a platform of exchange between renowned masters and emerging talents, celebrating innovative artistic approaches to image-making. There are seven official exhibitions on display this year, collectively offering new perspectives on centuries-old culture and shedding light on critical issues at the forefront of modern society. Nicola Tanzini, Joakim Kocjancic, and PHM 2017 Grant New Generation Prize winner, Karim El Maktafi are included in the line-up.


DOCfield / Barcelona, Spain / 8 November - 9 December

Organised by the Photographic Social Vision Foundation, DOCfield Barcelona is committed to exploring the social value of documentary photography and photojournalism. Under the direction of Silvia Omedes, the theme this year revolves around the effects of affection. Featured artists include Nancy Borowick, Maria Espeus, Bruno Crocianelli, Isadora Kosofsky, and PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant second prize winner Heba Khamis.


Singapore International Photography Festival / Singapore / 6 September - 9 December

The Singapore International Photography Festival provides a space for emerging Southeast Asian artists to exhibit their work alongside more established, international practitioners at galleries and museums across Singapore. The primary shows include Still (Laura Letinsky), Incognito: The Eye in Search (Rinko Kawauchi, Tomoko Sawada, Yuki Onodera), and Between Love and Death: Diary of Nobuyoshi Araki (Nobuyoshi Araki).


PhotoNOLA / New Orleans, United States / 12 - 15 December

PhotoNOLA is an annual celebration of photography that looks to develop a dialogue around the importance of the photographic medium through exhibitions, workshops, and lectures across cultural spaces in New Orleans. James Estrin (New York Times Lens Blog), Michael Kamber (Bronx Documentary Center), Alan Thomas (University of Chicago Press), Paula Tognarelli (Griffin Museum of Photography), and Donny Bajohr (Smithsonian Magazine) are among the international guests in attendance.


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Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

8 minutes

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