31 May 2018

June's Best Photo Festivals

31 May 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

The LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism (Germany), Athens Photo Festival (Greece), and Triennial of Photography Hamburg (Germany) all feature in our curated guide to the most important festivals opening their doors this coming month.

LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism / Hanover, Germany / 20 - 24 June

© Elena Anosova, from the series Out of the Way (2018 exhibitor)

Dedicated solely to visual image-makers under 35 years of age, the LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism is a celebration of the power of the photographic medium and its influence on our perception of humanity in all its facets. The festival’s aim is to be a platform for debate and a talent forum that appeals to professional picture editors, expert audiences, and those who simply enjoy photography.

Among the 60 exhibitors, each of whom were selected through an open call, Elena Anosova explores the distant territories of the extreme north of Russia where everyday life has remained unchanged for centuries; Fatemeh Behboudi describes the dramatic situation of Iranian people who have survived three earthquake disasters in the past 15 years; Juliane Herrmann unveils a complex, humorous, and at times contradictory picture of the closed and secret freemason society; François Klein provides a rare view of the lives of Eritreans who have subsisted for years in constant fear under dictator Isaya Afewerki but cannot raise the money to flee; and Lorenzo Meloni captures the consequences of the brutal war against Islamic State from the viewpoint of the suffering inhabitants and soldiers.

In the supporting events, 16 photographers present multi-media stories that together cover a wide range of contemporary issues; Tomas van Houtryve, Matt Black, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, and Stephan Vanfleteren will be giving lectures about their work and practice; photography students of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover will be running free tours through the exhibitions; and Søren Pagter (Danish School of Media and Journalism), Michael Regnier (Panos Pictures), Jutta Schein (Die Zeit), Paula Bronstein (Photographer), and Nina Berman (Photographer) are among the 30 industry professionals hosting a series of portfolio reviews. Learn more about the full program at

Athens Photo Festival / Athens, Greece / 6 June - 29 July

© Sarah Pabst (2017 exhibitor)

Taking place across June and July at the Benaki Museum, Athens Photo Festival seeks to bring together both emerging and established visual artists and photographers from around the world, aiming to reflect upon the diversity of the photographic medium today, and create opportunities for the exchange of ideas, artistic expression, and international engagement.

The exhibition line-up this year looks to explore the critical issues of our time through a combination of solo and group shows that will function as a dynamic platform where the impact of the ever-changing visual culture can be raised and discussed. Presenting a wide variety of work, ranging from fine art and documentary to photo-based installations and multimedia, the exhibitions will be divided into thematic sections in order to create a dialogue between different ideas woven into a whole.

In the public program, a series of portfolio reviews offer an opportunity for serious amateurs and professional photographers to meet with internationally acclaimed experts; a new artistic development program, Talent Lab will provide 20 photographers with a unique intensive learning experience that seeks to further develop their creativity, careers, and voice; a screening night will bring together multiple perspectives on the use of images - both moving and still - in contemporary culture; over 1,200 artists starting from the centre of Athens will be participating in a “photography marathon”, recording through their own lens and within six hours, four given subjects inspired by urban life; and working in partnership with NGOs in Greece, APF is organising workshops that give refugees and asylum seekers currently residing in Athens a space to tell their own story through photography. Further information about the full event line-up can be found at

Triennial of Photography Hamburg / Hamburg, Germany / June - September (Opening Week 7 - 17 June)

© Mandy Barker (2018 exhibitor)

Every three years since 1999, the Triennial of Photographyin Hamburg has been a showcase for visual storytelling, presenting a large number of exhibitions under a common theme in collaboration with the city’s major museums, cultural institutions, galleries, and other organisations. Under the artistic directorship, for a second time, of Krzysztof Candrowicz, the theme for the 2018 edition is Breaking Point. Searching for Change.

The program this year takes its inspiration from modern everydaylife. “[enter], [space], [home], [shift], [control], [return], [delete], and [escape] are today widespread lexicons of the contemporary world but there is a compelling message hidden behind these computer keys” write the curators. “Let us freeze time for a moment and contemplate their original meaning.” Among the highlights, Valentina Abenavoli, Mathieu Asselin, Nick Hannes, Mandy Barker, Salvatore Vitale, and Katrin Koenning feature in the show [ENTER], which displays the work of 15 artists whose work digs deep into social, political, and environmental narratives defining our world; The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) presents [DELETE], an exhibition devoted to the pervasive influence of the media on public opinion; and Cláudio Reis, Constanze Flamme,Duae Collective (Luna Coppola and Silvia Campidelli), Jayne Dyer, Lisa Hoffmann, Marco Caterini, and Pawel Kowalski together intersect utopian and dystopian narratives such as the (dis)functionality of urban environments and the impact that humanity has on the Planet in the trans-disciplinary show, [ESCAPE].

Beyond the official exhibitions, industry professionals AlexaBecker (Kehrer Verlag), Lars Boering (World Press Photo), Ruth Eichhorn (GEO Magazine), Marina Paulenka (Organ Vida), Arianna Rinaldo (Cortona On Move), and Emilia Van Lynden (UNSEEN) are among the names participating in the two-day portfolioreview program; [PHOTOBOOK SPACE] offers a platform for the dissemination of the photobook; and OFF TRIENNALE, the partner event of the Triennial of Photography Hamburg, features 15 solo and 2 collective exhibitions. More information can be found at

Copenhagen Photo Festival / Copenhagen, Denmark / 7 - 17 June

© Dana Balajovsky, from the series What it is to be somebody? (2018 exhibitor)

Copenhagen Photo Festival, the largest photo event in Scandinavia, is set once again to take over the Danish capital for 11 days and become a stage for the dissemination of contemporary photography. Hosted across more than 50 cultural venues and makeshift gallery spaces throughout the city, with additional satellite shows in Odense, Aarhus, and Scania, CPF’s mission is to strengthen our understanding of the power of the photographic medium. “Photography is a complex and varied form of expression, which can move, inspire and transform us” writes the festival’s Director, Maja Dyrehauge Gregersen. “Now that we - thanks to smartphones - all walk around with a camera in our pocket, there is a need now more than ever to be reminded about what photography really is” she continues.

The festival’s purpose-built Photo City is the backdrop to the 10 main exhibitions, which include Prasiit Sthapit’s Change of Course, a poetic portrayal of the life and landscape surrounding the Narayani River which runs directly through, and radically changes, the disputed territory between Nepal and India; Natural Forms by Marta Pohlmann-Kryszkiewicz, an investigation into the remains of consumer culture through a number of monumental, almost abstract, photographs; Dana Balajovsky’s What it is to be somebody?, a metaphorical journey into the mind, where melancholia, longing and separation create the foundation for artistic and existential considerations about identity; and the world premiere of the International Journalism Project’s exhibition, The Battle for Mosul, which explores the ongoing conflict against Islamic State through the lenses of leading freelance war photographers.

Among the packed program of supporting events, Instagrammer Berit Marker will host a guided tour through Copenhagen’s harbour and industrial areas; Daniel Samanns will run a two-day workshop focusing on wet plate collodion photography; and both Alex and Rebecca Norris Webb will be participating in a slide talk and a Q&A session open to the public. To learn more, visit

PHotoEspaña / Madrid, Spain / 6 June - 26 August

© Musuk Nolte, from the series Island's Shadow (2018 exhibitor)

Since its inception in 1998, PHotoEspaña has developed into one of Europe’s finest festivals, showcasing a diverse range of photography across a variety of institutions that together tell stories with international narratives. Under the directorship of Claude Bussac, the 2018 edition is “pushing the boundaries of photography” and looking to question the very meaning of the photographic image.

Among the official exhibition highlights, Musuk Nolte uses his camera to capture the everyday lives and profound relationship that Cubans have with their territory, their history, and their culture; Carlos Cánovas documents interstitial landscapes found in city limits that suggest multiple readings of space, distance, and time; curator Roberto Schettini offers a journey into the photography of Uruguay through works by ten contemporary image-makers using a combination of creative and documentary approaches; and the National Library of Spain will present the 57 dummy books shortlisted for the PHotoEspaña Best Photography Book of the Year award.

The festival will also once again feature a Carte Blanche program that has this year been commissioned to Cristina de Middel, who has chosen the theme, Players as the starting point of her curatorship. “In order to depart from the veneration and the norm that has marked the rhythm of the poor development of photography since its creation, we need playful transgression, inventiveness, and unrestrained flirtation” she says. “The selection of authors and exhibitions proposed for PHotoEspaña 2018 aims to bring together a maximum of games with which artists from all continents have experimented, thus demonstrating that this is not only a western tendency but a true change of paradigm.”

A series of open-air projections, workshops, screenings, masterclasses, and photo walks complete the public offering. Go to to find out more.



Fotobookfestival Kassel / Kassel, Germany / 31 May - 3 June

Since its foundation in 2009, Fotobookfestival Kassel has emerged as one of the most important annual forums in the world of photography books, bringing together publishers, designers, printers, curators, and photographers from around the world. The program this year includes lectures by international guests, three official exhibitions, a book market presenting up to 50 publishers, and artist talks with David GoldblattSusan MeiselasAnders PetersenJohn GossageDana LixenbergJH EngströmThomas SauvinCarlos Spottorno, and Mathieu Asselin.


Milan Photo Week / Milan, Italy / 4 - 10 June

Milan Photo Week, celebrating its 2nd edition this year, provides a stage for a dialogue about the role of photography as a principal tool for investigation in the modern world. The main shows are Michael Wolf’s Life in Cities, the 2018 World Press Photo travelling exhibition, and Vogue Italia and Leica Camera’s When Ethics Meets Aesthetics, which presents 10 photographers questioning the way we represent ourselves and the world around us.


Krakow Photomonth / Krakow, Poland / 25 May - 24 June

Featuring an international slate of artists, Krakow Photomonth this year is focused on the theme, Space of Flows: Framing an Unseen Reality, with participating artists selected for their ability to unravel the present while simultaneously accounting for the past and imagining possible futures. Antoinette de Jong and Robert KnothAnaïs LópezEva LeitolfDaniela FriebelMichał Łuczak, and PHM 2017 Grant winner Salvatore Vitale are among the names to feature.


Belfast Photo Festival - Compact / Belfast, Northern Ireland / 7 - 30 June

The compact edition of the Belfast Photo Festival focuses on the power of photography and its important role across the creative industries. Taking as its focus the interplay between music and photography, the highlights this year are James Mollison’s exhibition, The Disciples, an original, sharp and highly entertaining take on the tribalism invoked by popular music stars, and the new Capture Conference that brings together industry experts to discuss the unique use of photography within film and animation.


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Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

12 minutes

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