18 March 2020

How the Photography Calendar is Reacting to COVID-19

18 March 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

World Press Photo Foundation cancelled its Festivals and Awards Show, Fotografia Europea and Photo London postponed their openings, while others are going online in what looks like an unprecedented spring for photography.

From Sirius © Anna Szkoda, part of Fotografia Europea 2020

Conferences, openings, and international guests are clearly not compatible with the global COVID-19. To safeguard public health and find a way to make things happen nevertheless, most of the spring main events on the photography calendar are getting postponed or cancelled. Same goes for galleries, museum, and schools that are temporary closing their doors while offering online alternatives. This is the situation so far, which you can also monitor from our constantly updated Festivals Guide.

World Press Photo Awards Show 2020 (Netherlands) scheduled for 16 April 2020 is cancelled, together with the World Press Photo Festival that was to take place at Amsterdam's Westergas in the days immediately after the Awards Show. The winners of the 2020 Photo Contest and the 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest - including the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year and the three other major awards - will be announced on the evening of 16 April 2020 and presented through a wide range of online and media channels. World Press Photo Foundation has also closed the World Press Photo House in Amsterdam to the public until 31 March

Fotografia Europea (Italy) has cancelled all the April event of its fifteenth edition and they are now working to reconfigure the announced program. This include Anna Szkoda's exhibition, offered as a prize of the PHmuseum 2019 Women Photographers Grant. The Palazzo Magnani Foundation and the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, however, announce their intention not to disperse what has already been planned and in an advanced stage of development. In the coming weeks they will find the most suitable methods and times to set a new appointment to celebrate Photography and, together, the end of this difficult moment. Kyotographie 2020 (Japan) has postponed its 8th Edition that will be now held from September 19th to October 18th, 2020 with more details to be announced soon. Capture Photography Festival (Canada) has cancelled all its April events and it's now considering possible futures dates.

Photo London (England) has postponed its sixth edition due to take place at Somerset House between 14–17 May. Fariba Farshad and Michael Benson remarked the importance of preserving the safety and well-being of our exhibitors, artists, staff, suppliers and visitors. They further explained that they are in discussions with the team at Somerset House and hope to make a more detailed announcement in the coming days about their plans for this sixth edition hoping to find a date during the upcoming fall. MIA Photo Fair (Italy) has also rescheduled its 10th edition that is now scheduled for 10-13 September.

© Rankin from MIA Photo Fair website

Interestingly some festival are moving online. Biennale für actually Fotografie (Germany) has proposed an entertaining VR version of their exhibitions' program. Head On Photo Festival (Australia) has announced an online version of the event that will be held as scheduled from 1-17 May and will be accompanied by an exciting program of online seminars and events throughout the Festival period. They will then work to present a scaled-back physical festival later in the year. Some smaller galleries in Sydney are also still planning to present printed exhibitions in association with Head On Photo Festival as scheduled in May 2020 to be promoted online. Italian Street Photo Festival (Italy) and its third edition scheduled at Officine Fotografiche in Rome its confirmed yet in online mode only. The festivals organisers guarantees that everyone will be able to live the experience from home. Check on their website and social media channels for updated and to follow their third edition.

International Center of Photography (USA) has temporarily closed all facilitates, including ICP’s museum and school on the Lower East Side, the ICP-Bard MFA studios in Long Island City, and ICP’s space at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. All in-person public programs and tours are postponed or canceled. When possible, they will hold upcoming events online. Any unused tickets to ICP’s museum purchased in advance online for the month of March will be honored at a future visit and, where possible, full-time and Continuing Education classes have been moved online. They will also continue to share resources and opportunities for ways you can engage with ICP from afar, from exploring original content and their permanent collection.

The Photographers' Gallery (England) is now closed to the public (at least until the 31 March 2020) and will continue to monitor the situation and review their policies over the next few weeks. Although the building is closed, the staff is continuing to work and will be responsive to any enquiries. Meanwhile, you can explore a wide range digital content including artist interviews, essays, image galleries and podcasts.

Talking about PHmuseum (UK/Italy) we are working remotely and continuing to offer our online activities, including grants and online portfolio reviews. We have also created a new section with more than 200 projects recommended by our editorial team. The work to opening our physical space in Bologna are instead on hold, and our hope is to inaugurate during the summertime.


To stay tuned about the photography festivals, add our brand new Festivals Guide to your bookmarks.

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