01 November 2018

November's Best Photo Festivals

01 November 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

Winter may be approaching in the northern hemisphere, but the European photography calendar is still packed full of exciting events, with Photo Vogue Festival (Italy), Photolux Festival (Italy), Paris Photo (France), and DOCfield (Spain) all welcoming visitors this November.

Photo Vogue Festival / Milan, Italy / 15 - 18 November

© Micaiah Carter

Between 15 and 18 November, the Italian city of Milan will play host to the third edition of Photo Vogue Festival. Throughout its first two years, the event has established itself both nationally and internationally as an important stage for the promotion of photographic culture, and as a platform for the discussion of critical issue. The focus this year will be on continuing the conversation about the role played by photography, and in particular fashion photography, in representing and analysing our contemporary society: a study that has very much been part of the DNA of Vogue Italia since its inception.

Chaired by Emanuele Farneti and directed by Senior Photo Editor, Alessia Glaviano, the exhibition highlights include a retrospective of Norwegian photographer, Sølve Sundsbø, one of the most innovative voices in modern fashion photography; All That Man Is - Fashion and Masculinity Now, which will explore and expand upon the concept of masculinity by showing how fashion photographers today are addressing the subject; and Embracing Diversity, a show dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of inclusiveness in all its forms, be it physical, gender-related, geographical or cultural. Daniel Jack Lyons, David Favrod, Andrea Robbins, Max Becher, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Justine Tjallinks, Laura Pannack, Lucie Khahoutian, Ricardo Rivera, Sam Gregg, and Shuwei Liu are among the featured photographers.

In the supporting events, the PHmuseum 2018 Women Photographers Grant shortlisted works will be showcased in a special projection; Base Milano is set to present a collection of images focusing on the Puglia region that aims to examine the different souls of the area; and a group of key industry experts including Chiara Bardelli Nonino, Michael Famighetti, Diego Orlando, Federica Chiocchetti, Renata Ferri, and PHmuseum Director, Giuseppe Oliverio will be in attendance as portfolio reviewers. To find out more about the full program of events, visit

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

© Karim El Maktafi, from the series Fantasia

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, shedding light on innovative artistic approaches to image-making. There are seven official exhibitions on display this year, collectively bringing together new perspectives on centuries-old culture and shedding light critical issues at the forefront of modern society.

In the line-up, PHM 2017 Grant New Generation Prize winner, Karim El Maktafi presents a fresh look at the ancient Moroccan tradition of Fantasia, an astonishing sport and equestrian art performance that celebrates the union between a man and his horse; Nicola Tanzini turns his camera on the largest fish market in the world, Tsukiji, a sacred place for Japanese restauranteurs that has lost its identity due to relocation; Joakim Kocjancic narrates the story of how communities in Versilia and Garfagnana, Tuscany have rebuilt their lives following the devastating flash floods of 1996; and the World Press Photo travelling exhibition offers an overview of how press photographers tackle their work around the globe and how the press relates news through images.

Visitors can also enjoy a selection of educational programs, with leading photographers hosting workshops tailored towards different aspects of photography: Guia Besana invites participants to explore the varying declinations of the photographic process which leads to staged photography; Carla Kogelman will host a two-day workshop about finding, making, and creating a personal style and signature; and Francesco Pistilli will delve into how to use visual storytelling with Instagram and social media. Further information can be found at

Paris Photo / Paris, France / 8 - 11 November

© Max Pinckers, from the series Red Ink

The world’s largest international fair dedicated to photography, Paris Photo, is back for its 22nd edition, taking over the Grand Palais once again, offering visitors the largest panorama of premium photographic artworks available on the market today. The event this year will feature 197 exhibitors from 38 countries and programming includes curated exhibitions with renowned public and private institutions, awards, conversation cycles with curators, artists, collectors, and critics, and special initiatives aimed at exploring the unique history of the medium; varying visions, practices and emerging trends.

In the Main Sector, more than 150 leading galleries and 31 specialist photography publishers from around the world will together showcase historical and contemporary artworks from the modern masters to the young talents. Among the highlights, Carlier | Gebauer (Berlin) will present a solo show of Richard Mosse featuring his extraordinary images that chart the mass migration and human displacement unfolding across Europe; Contrasto (Milan) will host a retrospective of the work of James Nachtwey, detailing his work that covers wars, natural disasters, and the human condition; and Parrotta (Cologne) will exhibit a duo show by Timm Rautert and Clare Strand that centres on the vulnerability and susceptibility to errors, flaws and manipulation of media-bound information.

Elsewhere, in the fringe events, a new sector titled Curiosa unveils a selection of erotic images that challenge our gaze on the fantasised and fetishicised body, tackling themes of power, domination, and gender; the Film sector focuses on the relationship between still and moving images in artistic creation; the winners of the 2018 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards will be announced in a special presentation; and in celebration of their 11 year partnership with the fair, Leica will display the work of all the Leica Oskar Barnack Award laureates including Ernesto Benavides, Vanja Bucan, Turi Calafato, Daniel Chatard, Kechun Zhang, Stéphane Lavoué, Christian Werner, and PHmuseum mentor, Max Pinckers. Full details about the entire program can be found at

DOCfield / Barcelona, Spain / 8 November - 9 December

© Heba Khamis, from the series Banned Beauty

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. “We set out to reflect on love” write Omedes. “Not its purely romantic expression but love as an excuse to explore the relationships and origins of the bonds between individuals and communities; love as a condition, its effects and relationship with certain social issues” she continues.

Among the primary exhibitions this year, PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant second prize winner Heba Khamis documents breast ironing in Cameroon, a practice that consists of pressing or massaging girls’ breasts to conceal the advance of maturity; Nancy Borowick presents a deeply personal story about love, loss, and the simultaneity of life; Maria Espeus offers a resounding condemnation of the scourge of gender violence by women who have experienced it first-hand; Bruno Crocianelli reflects upon whether there is a common reality for people in the LGBTQ community; and Isadora Kosofsky displays her long-term photo documentary that shadows three aged individuals in a romantic conflict.

In the packed program of public events, a congress for professionals of journalism and communication will reflect upon and analyse the concept of trust in the consumption of information; Kai Wiedenhöfer, Serena De Sanctis, Marco Ansaloni and Alessandro Vincenzi will each host artist talks; and the education division of Photographic Social Vision have teamed up with Fujifilm to organise a workshop that looks at the representation of family. To learn more, visit



Feria de Libros de Fotos de Autor / Buenos Aires, Argentina / 31 October – 4 November

Felifa (Feria de Libros de Fotos de Autor) is a fair dedicated to the exchange, circulation, and production of Latin American photobooks. In this, the 16th edition, the scheduled program features a series of presentations, workshops, talks, and meetings, all of which are designed to explore new disciplines and developments that combine text and image.


FIFV / Valparaiso, Chile / 27 October - 3 November

FIFV is a festival of photographic creation, with participating photographers invited to create new bodies of work within the framework of residencies and workshops. Guests this year include Julia Toro, Manuel Castillo, Mauricio Valenzuela, Paula López Droguett, and Sergio Domínguez.


Off_festival / Bratislava, Slovakia / 2 - 16 November

Held in conjunction with the European Month of Photography, Off_festival Bratislava aims to support the promotion and dissemination of young artists working with still imagery. The theme for this, the ninth, edition is Anthropocene, referring to the present geological period during which humanity has achieved a significant impact on the environment and planet. Thom Pierce, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Greta Rybus, Sotiris Gonis, Ronghui Chen, Maija Tammi, Patrick Wack, and Jon Gorospe are among the exhibitors.


PhEST / Monopoli, Italy / 6 September - 4 November

Held in the city of Monopoli on the southeastern coast of Italy, PhEST – See Beyond the Sea, is dedicated to photography, cinema, music, and art contaminations from the Mediterranean. The festival was born out of the need to give a voice back to the thousand identities that form the “sea within the lands”, and the need to redefine a new, original imagery. The geographical focus responds to the natural panorama the eyes perceive from Monopoli and from the Apulia region: that is the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and beyond.


LagosPhoto Festival / Lagos, Nigeria / 27 October - 15 November

The first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria, LagosPhoto is a platform for the dissemination of contemporary photography that aims to unite local and established artists through images that encapsulate individual experiences and identities from across the African continent. Under the curatorship of Eva Barois De Caevel, Wunika Mukan, Charlotte Langhorst and Valentine Umansky, the festival this year is titled, Time Has Gone and looks to explore the configurations by which the past, the present and the future interact within the photographic medium.


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

The Singapore International Photography Festival provides a platform 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).


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Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

12 minutes