31 October 2019

November's Best Photo Festivals

31 October 2019 - Written by Simon Hall

The festivals continue to come thick and fast as 2019 draws to a close. Photo Vogue Festival (Italy), Photolux Festival (Italy), and Photo Is:rael (Israel) are among those opening their doors this coming month. Learn what exhibitions and supporting events they have in store.

Photo Vogue Festival / Milan, Italy / 14 - 17 November

© Osborne Macharia, from the series Magadi. 2019 exhibitor.

Photo Vogue Festival was created back in 2016 as an inclusive space for dialogue and interaction among the different photographic genres. Throughout its first three years, the event has established itself as an important stage for the promotion of photography culture and a platform to explore many of the pressing issues of our time. The festival this year has taken A Glitch in the System, Deconstructing Stereotypes as its central theme as the works on display seek to broaden our ability to think, both in linguistic and visual terms, and push our thinking a step beyond the known and the familiar. “Just like words, or perhaps even more so than words, images can hurt, cause misunderstandings, and consolidate prejudices,” writes the curator Alessia Glaviano. “Therefore, we hope that the 2019 edition of Photo Vogue Festival will contribute to the enrichment of our visual vocabulary in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of our contemporary society.”

The exhibition highlights include Nanna Heitmann’s investigation into the everyday lives of rural settlers on the banks of the Yenisei River in northern Siberia; Dustin Thierry’s living archive of gender expressions and LGBTQ identities of the Black Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands; Peyton Fulford’s examination of youth subcultures and ideologies in the southern region of the United States; Roselena Ramistella’s portrayal of the local communities still living in remote areas on the Italian island of Sicily; and Osborne Macharia’s series of portraits showing fantastical and unbelievable characters that challenge stereotyped images associated with Africa.

Elsewhere, in the supporting events, the PHmuseum 2019 Women Photographers Grant shortlisted works will be showcased in a special projection; Fujifilm will present an engaging day of lectures and panel discussions offering the latest thinking on contemporary photographic practice by Magnum Photographers; Emeric Glayse and Tommaso Protti will host a conversation on how photography can reveal the ungraspable issue of the environmental crisis; and a group of key industry experts including Amber Terranova, Chiara Bardelli Nonino, James Estrin, 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 / 16 November - 8 December

© Mustafah Abdulaziz, from the series Water. 2019 exhibitor

Set in the Tuscan town of Lucca on the Serchio river, Photolux Festival sits at a crossroads of exchange for prominent photographers and emerging talents with a focus on showcasing innovative artistic approaches to visual storytelling. There are over 25 exhibitions on display this year, collectively bringing together new perspectives on age-old subjects and shedding light on critical concerns at the forefront of modern society.

In the line-up, Vincent Delbrouck bears witness to the resilience of the younger generation in Cuba where the word ‘hope’ has all but lost its meaning; Fabian Albertini investigates the irreversible mutation that artificial intelligence with facial biometry is creating in our lives; Gianluca Panella documents the conditions facing women from the Gaza Strip in times of great political change; Valery Melnikov looks at the difficult and painful consequences of the military conflict in the Donbass region; Mustafah Abdulaziz reveals how humanity deals with water and the ways in which it is urgently needed; 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.

To supplement this exhibition program, Photolux Festival have further organised a series of public events for visitors to enjoy and participate in. Among them, Jenny Smets and Magdalena Herrera will run a two-day intensive workshop examining how to shape a story from a mass of images and how to make it work for your audience; Dario Mitidieri will sit down in conversation with Renata Ferri to discuss his reportage from Tiananmen Square; Fausto Podavini will host the launch of his new book Omo Change alongside editor Svetlana Bachevanova; and a group of 14 prominent industry professionals will be conducting portfolio reviews over two days. For further information, visit

Photo Is:rael / Tel Aviv, Israel / 28 November - 7 December

© Alec Soth, from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi. 2019 exhibitor

Moving into its seventh edition this year, Photo Is:rael was built on a mission of highlighting artistic and social themes through the language of photography. This year’s festival will present 40 exhibitions featuring over 250 leading photographers from Israel and abroad, as well as performances, video art, music events, and more.

Among the standout shows, Alec Soth tells the story of American life along the of the Mississippi river from northern Minnesota down to the derelict Mississippi Delta; Marc Ohrem-Leclef examines relationships between men across India and offers a glimpse into a local homosocial culture that is rooted in male friendship and love; Teresa Giannico challenges the documentary value of photography through a process which reconstructs reality; Lindsay McCrum creates a timely series of alluring and unexpected portraits depicting women gun owners in America; and Txema Salvans highlights an unspoken issue of rampant prostitution along Spain’s Mediterranean coastal roads.

To supplement this program of solo shows, Photo Is:rael has curated a large group exhibition that looks to explore the theme of Fantasy in varying ways, from poetic works with an inner fantastical narrative to the documentation of surreal and fantastical moments within reality. Evelyn Bencicova, Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Mor Elnekave, Yuli Gorodinsky, Shir Handelsman, Ed Kashi, and Liron Kroll are some of the names to feature. To learn more, go to

Paris Photo / Paris, France / 7 - 10 November

© Josh Haner, from the series Carbon's Casualties. 2019 exhibitor

The world’s largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium returns for its 23rd edition, once again taking over the historic Grand Palais for four days to offer collectors and enthusiasts the most diverse and qualitative presentation of photography-driven projects today. The event this year will host 180 leading galleries together showcasing historical and contemporary artworks from modern masters to young talents, while 33 specialised publishers and art book dealers will present unique and rare editions as well as book launches and signature sessions with many of today’s most renowned artists.

In the Main Sector, more than 150 galleries will be showcasing their prized assets with a focus being placed on solo and duo exhibitions. A selection of the standout work on display includes Philippe Chancel’s examination of the sensitive areas of our planet and the most alarming symptoms of its decline; Nicola Lo Calzo’s exploration into the legacy of the slave trade and Western slavery of Africans in the Atlantic world in the 21st century; Roberto Huarcaya’s portrayal of an intangible natural reserve located in the Amazon rainforest in the region of Tambopata in southeastern Peru; Edward Burtynsky’s new work from Africa that looks at the ecological consequences of our ever-expanding human activities; and Ayana V. Jackson’s investigation into the impact of the colonial gaze on the history of photography and its relationship to ideas about the body.

Outside the fair, in the fringe events, the Curiosa Sector – newly introduced last year – addresses photography’s increasingly unstable relationship to the physical world and illuminates the multiple realities of human experience; the winners of the 2019 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards will be announced in a special presentation; Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Josh Haner introduces his work revealing the many consequences of a warming world; and a whole host of established industry figures will present a series of artist talks. Full details about the entire program can be found at



PhEST - See Beyond the Sea / Monopoli, Italy / 6 September - 3 November

Held in the small city of Monopoli in Puglia on the southeastern coast of Italy, PhEST - See Beyond the Sea is dedicated to the exposure of photography, cinema, music, and art reverberations from the Mediterranean. The festival was born in 2016 out of the need to give a voice back to the thousands of identities that form the “sea within the lands”, and a growing desire to define new, original imagery in the region. Norman Behrendt, Boglárka Éva Zellei, Roei Greenberg, and Alessandro Gandolfi are among the exhibitors.


LagosPhoto Festival / Lagos, Nigeria / 25 October - 13 November

LagosPhoto is designed to encapsulate individual experiences and identities across the African continent and is embodied in the exploration of historical and contemporary issues, as well as the sharing of cultural practices. The central theme this year is Passports, with photographers challenged to open a discussion on how modern society can create a flexible and more egalitarian world within the existing global restrictions. The main program is comprised of 13 major exhibitions featuring the likes of Dan Halter, David Baptiste, Gaelen Pinnock, Jenevieve Aken, Magda Biernat, Mous Lamrabat, Rahima Gambo, Rubén Martín de Lucas, Sanne De Wilde and Benedicte Kurzen.


Zoom Photo Festival Saguenay / Saguenay, Canada / 17 October - 11 November

Zoom Photo Festival is the sole event in Canada focused on the celebration of photojournalism. There are 14 major exhibitions on display this year, with each proposing a new perspective on many of today’s urgent global crises. Among them, Brent Stirton looks at how the millennia-old practice of falconry is experiencing an international resurgence as a result of efforts in the Arab states; Adrienne Surprenant captures the logistical challenges of managing the spread of Dengue fever across South America and Africa; and Catalina Martin-Chico investigates the baby boom among former female FARC guerillas in Colombia as they transition back to everyday life.


Imago Lisboa / Lisbon, Portugal / 10 October - 17 November

Throughout the last decade, Lisbon has emerged as a glowing example of economic and cultural growth, yet there has always been a gap in the creative arts industry. Imago Lisboa was created with the aim of filling this void and providing the Portuguese capital with a regular photographic event that enhances different storytelling practices. A sample of the standout work going on display includes Demetris Koilalous’ visual essay looking at the transitory state of refugees and migrants who have entered Greece after crossing the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe; Laurence Rasti’s exploration into the difficulty encountered by homosexuals living in Iran; and Malú Cabellos’ long-term investigation into the capital of the Peruvian Amazonia.


Noorderlicht International Photography Festival / Groningen, The Netherlands / 6 October - 1 December

Under the curatorship of Hester Keijser, the 26th edition of Noorderlicht International Photography Festival is titled Taxed to the Max and seeks to examine the societal tensions created by global conglomerates with their vast accumulations of capital and their influence on national and worldwide politics. With over 30 invited guests, the festival presents a combination of photo series, mixed media, video and sound installations, performances, and spatial work that together explore the central theme. Alan Gignoux, Bérangère Fromont, Davide Monteleone, Ezio D’Agostino, Igor Tereshkov, Martin Toft, Thomas Kuijpers, and Ursula Biemann all feature.


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Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

12 minutes