May Festivals Guide

Our monthly festival round-up offers an overview of what photography events will be in the spotlight during the coming month. For May, we feature both Riga and Krakow Photomonth, CONTACT Photography Festival, PhotOn, ImageSingulières, and Photo London.

Riga Photomonth (Riga, Latvia) May 2 - June 16

Daesung-Lee-Futuristic-Archaeology-Riga-© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archaeology

Held every two years throughout cultural institutions across the Latvian capital, Riga Photomonth is committed to the promotion and dissemination of photography from the northern and eastern regions of Europe. In this second edition of the festival, the underlying theme is Territories, Borders and Check-Points, with featured contributions coming from such internationally-acclaimed photographers as JH Engström, Erik Kessels, Igor Samolet, and Gordon MacDonald. A wide range of workshops designed for emerging and mid-career artists are also available, and the public program SELF PUBLISH RIGA will present a series of events dedicated to photobooks and the world of self-publishing.

CONTACT Photography Festival (Toronto, Canada) May 1 - 31

Tomas-van-Houtryve-Blue-Sky-Days-CONTACT© Tomas van Houtryve, from the series Blue Sky Days

CONTACT Photography Festival is the largest event of its kind in the world. Throughout the entire month of May, the city of Toronto will be consumed by wall to wall photography. Major museums, independent galleries, and other cultural spaces will present an extensive program of Primary Exhibitions and Public Installations displaying the work of both international and local artists. The imagery will reflect upon the most important issues facing our society today, and the history of the photographic medium. Exhibition highlights include Object Relations (Thomas Ruff), Refugees in a State Apartment (Jens Ullrich), Blue Sky Days: A Drone’s Eye View, (PHM 2015 Grant winner Tomas van Houtryve), and Post Tohoku (Michel Huneault).

Photo London (London, UK) May 19 - 22

Marcelo-Brodsky-2.jpg#asset:461:url© Marcelo Brodsky, from the series Good Memory 1967 - 1996

Combining a comprehensive public program with exhibitions from over 80 of the most influential galleries in the world, Photo London has emerged as a significant event on the photography calendar. This year’s timetable of talks, seminars and conferences has been curated by former Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, William A. Ewing – headline speakers include Edward Burtynsky, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Katy Grannan, Graham Nash, Nadav Kander, Alec Soth, and Cheryl Newman. In the fair itself, visitors can enjoy the work of many leading photographers, and, in a new section introduced this year, the LUMA Foundation will present a number of specially-commissioned exhibitions from the private collections of Hamiltons Gallery, the Wilson Centre for Photography, and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.

PhotOn (Valencia, Spain) The month of May

Pablo-Ernesto-Piovano-PhotOn.jpg#asset:4© Pablo Ernesto Piovano, from the series The Human Cost of Agrotoxins

Founded in 2011 by a group of photojournalists working in Valencia, PhotOn Festival supports and promotes the work of emerging photographers who use their medium as a tool to encourage social change. The principal exhibitions this year are Europe's Borders (5W Collective), Flashes in the Dark (Ricard G. Vilanova), The Human Cost of Agrotoxins (Pablo Ernesto Piovano), Refugees (Marco Risovnik and Georgi Licovsky), and Fishshot (Javier Corso, winner of Photon Festival Grant 2015).

Krakow Photomonth (Krakow, Poland) May 12 - June 12

Max-Pinckers-from-the-series-Will-They-S© Max Pinckers, from the series Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty

In this 14th edition of Krakow Photomonth, the main series of exhibitions will together address the concept of “crisis”, with a particular focus on the global and political problems confronting modern humanity. “The point of departure for this year's festival was the conviction that crisis is not a transitional phase or an anomaly any more, but a characteristic trait of everyday life, a permanent state with which we must cope in practically all spheres of our lives” says festival curator and social anthropologist Lars Willumeit. Paul Graham, Yann Mingard, Aneta Grzeszykowska, and PHM 2014 Grant winner Max Pinckers are among the featured artists.

ImageSingulières (Sète, France) May 4 - 22

Sébastien-Van-Malleghem-ImageS.jpg#asse© Sébastien Van Malleghem, from the series Prisons

Documentary photography takes center stage at Images Singulières. The festival’s exhibitions and screenings are this year to be held in both traditional white-cube gallery spaces, and a number of unique, unconventional cultural venues. Four Chilean artists (Tomás Quiroga, Nicolas Wormull, Paula López-Droguett and Cristóbal Olivares) came together in the flagship artist-in-residency program, and they will present a collaborative series produced in partnership with FIFV (Valparaíso International Photography Festival). In other featured events, the Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain will explore the photography of Guillaume Herbaut, and the Chais des Moulins pays homage to the work of prominent Spanish photographers who have contributed to the evolution of Agence VU’.

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