The Best Photography Festivals To Visit This June

Bienal Fotografia do Porto, Getxophoto, Belfast Photo Festival, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Fotofestiwal Lodz are among the photography festivals we selected this month.

Bienal Fotografia do Porto / Porto, Portugal / 18 May - 2 July

At its third edition, the Bienal Fotografia do Porto articulates a collective reflection on ecologies, and on the possibility to re-imagine possible, regenerative futures. Themed Acts of Empathy, the Bienal has a strong, theoretical thread weaving its projects together, mainly articulated through collective exhibitions. Four case studies present an interventionist model of action: these are sustentar, exploring urban and regional sustainability, vivificar, reflecting on social issues in low-density territories, expandir, offering a speculative dimension, and conectar, opening international dialogue and partnership. Photography and moving image come together as a tool to question asymmetrical hyerarchies, and provoke the way we navigate our planet today. 

Bringing together the work of artists such as Sandim Mendes, Athi-Patra Ruga, Kudzanai Chiurai and many more, the collective exhibition Deep Blue explores memory and ecology, transcending and questioning the Western knowledge system through other, transformative spiritualities. Speculative Ecologies features various works by Ursula Biemann, Eliana Otta, and duo duo Hyeseon Jeong and Seongmin Yuk to interrogate relationships between humans and non-humans. In Light or Shadow of What Was and Still Is presents twelve Lebanese photographers addressing the events they witnessed over the last few years, through conceptual and intimate approaches. Displacements is issued from a partnership with the MA in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales, led by Lisa Barnard. The solo exhibition Fading Senses, Sensitive Territories by Ligia Poplawska brings eco-anxiety and climate grief into the discourse, visually articulating our (lack of) sensory perception.

Across the whole month of June, the rich program of exhibitions is activated by tours, visits, workshops, celebrations and talks. Discover more on the festival’s website.

Getxophoto / Getxo, Spain / 1 - 25 June

Since 2007, Getxophoto brings images to the Basque city of Getxo, with the aim of making photographic fruition a participatory experience rooted in the radical defense of public space.

Outdoor installations are the festival’s highlight: images become part of the environment, entering a horizontal, participatory conversation with the public. This year, Pause! is the theme that will be spread across Getxo: with a suggested bibliography that enrichs the proposed visual narratives, Getxophoto is stressing the political potential of a pause in times of hurry, hyper-productivity and permanent connection. Is pausing the only way to reset the system, as we’re overstimulated by design?

The pervasiveness of the media space, the lack of empty spaces, paid vacation as a paradox meant to enrich production, the toxic desire for a perfect family, the actions of Buddhist monks against polluting companies, the state of vigilant sleep, and the threatening disappearance of darkness are among the stories Getxophoto will tackle: Mattia Balsamini, Ana Núñez Rodríguez, Stephen Gill, Arturo Soto, Julieta Tarraubella, Michal Solarski, Photographerhal, Mitsutoshi Hanaga, Tatiana López, Maider Jimenez are just a few of the artists involved.

With Elisa Medde, Alba Lafarga, Jon Uriarte, Marta Gili, María Ptqk, Luis Juárez and Azahara Cerezo, the panel Lock-in Vol.1 will activate talks and dialogues for a whole morning, while visits and anti-visits will activate the exhibitions all around the city since June 2. More information can be found on Getxophoto’s website.

Belfast Photo Festival / Belfast, Northern Ireland / 1 - 30 June

The selection of photographers involved in Belfast Photo Festival 2023 is vast and rich in the diversity of approaches it provides, all reflecting on what a Journey can, photographically speaking, mean today: what happens when the unreachable becomes at hand, and unknown worlds become visible and explorable? The centuries-old preoccupation takes new and surprising angles as it travels through different countries and perspectives.

Jordi Ruiz Cirera on the realities of migrants, refugees and deportees across Mexico, M'hammed Kilito on the Moroccan oaeses’ ecosystem as threatened by the climate crisis, Kristen Joy Emack, Alice Mann, Carlos Idun-Tawiah, Aki & Astrid Sinikoski collectively investigating the passage from childhood to adulthood, Colin Delfosse on a performative approach, drenched in urban culture, to the Congolese problems of pollution, deforestation, and lack of healthcare, Vasantha Yogananthan on the pervasiveness and echoes of the myth of The Ramayana: these are just a few of the stories intertwining in Belfast this June, accompanied by a rich program of events in town, plus online portfolio reviews. Find out more on their website.

Copenhagen Photo Festival / Copenhagen, Denmark / 1 - 11 June

For eleven days, the exhibition park of Refshaleøen in Copenhagen will be, accordingly to the festival’s theme, rewilded. “Rewilding” refers to a process of letting nature regulate itself without human interference: six artists have put this principle into place through different perspectives, with Nanna Heitmann portraying the way of living along the Yenisei River in Russia, Kristina Knipe examining queer rituals in New Orleans as a tool for healing and celebration, Daniel Hinks focusing on China’s fishing culture, Craig Ames elaborating on Anna Atkins’ botanical specimens legacy today through AI, Hilla Kurki exploring her mother’s garden, Erik Berglin wheat-pasting hand cut photographs of birds in cities all over the world. Additionally, Copenhagen Photo Festival will exhibit the traveling show On the Verge from the FUTURES platform, showcasing more than 70 artworks from 7 Futures talents Cian Burke, Mark Duffy, Pauline Hisbacq, Julia Klewaniec, Alice Pallot, Daniel Szalai and Ugo Woatzi. Parts of the program are also an exhibition featuring the 2022 Paris Photo-Aperture Photobook Award Shortlist, a group exhibition curated by Atla, and shows by talents from across Scandinavian photo schools.

Film screenings, workshops, guided tours, talks and panels will take place during the eleven days: find out more on the festival’s website.



Fotofestiwal Lodz /  Lodz, Poland / 15 – 25 June

One of the first photographic events to be established in Poland as an initiative of Lodz’ Sociology Department, Fotofestiwal is a collectively-led festival fostering the dissemination of photography in always experimental ways. With a program to be announced, it will again take place this year tackling fundamental social issues. Find out more on their website.

PHotoESPAÑA / Madrid, Santander, Cantabria and other locations, Spain / 31 May - 3 September

A rich program of exhibitions, workshops, walks, and other activities featuring artists such as Joan Fontcuberta, Bernard Plossu, Roni Horn, Rehab Eldalil, Seif Kousmate, Bleda y Rosa, Fina Miralles and many more will be spread across the Spanish capital and other key locations for the 2023 edition of this international meeting point for photography, which has been active from 1998. Find out more on their website.

Fotografia Europea / Reggio Emilia, Italy / 28 April – 11 June

Since 2006, Fotografia Europea is one of the main international yearly appointments for contemporary photography in Italy, displaying historical as well as emerging work to the city of Reggio Emilia. With Luce Lebart joining Walter Guadagnini and Tim Clark’s artistic direction, this year’s edition titled explores the European countries’ sense of collective belonging, and the way it is shaped by myths and memory. Explore the festival's program on their website.

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival / Toronto, Canada / 28 April – 11 June

Toronto's CONTACT photography festival presents a vast array of exhibitions and activities showcasing work by Canadian and international lens-based artists, which collectively come to critically frame the social, cultural, and political events of our times, and the way photography can reflect upon them, and intersect with them. Discover more about the exhibited artists and the offered activities of the festival's website.

Foto Wien / Vienna, Austria / 1 – 30 JuneWith 110 venues, 350 artists, and 300 events, the tenth edition of Foto Wien will make Vienna host a festival of visual media, reuniting 90 partners among museums, cultural institutions, galleries, and off spaces, encouraging photography as a social tool fostering action. All information on the exhibition and events program can be found on Foto Wien’s website.

© Ligia Poplawska

© Ligia Poplawska

© Mattia Balsamini

© Mattia Balsamini

© Colin Delfosse

© Colin Delfosse

© Kristina E. Knipe

© Kristina E. Knipe

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