Events / Festivals

AIPAD Photography Show
One of the most important events on the calendar. AIPAD is a powerful force in the photograph collecting world. For the photographer, the annual AIPAD gathering is an important networking and career opportunity. For the collector and connoisseur, works from 45 of the nations' prominent photography galleries are on show.

Angkor Photography Festival
A new and decidedly different sort of photography festival, Cambodia’s Angkor Photo Festival explores three major themes: Asian photography and photographers, education and social responsibility. The organizers are wonderfully successful at blending these streams and creating a program that showcases photojournalism and fine art photography about Asia, while also initiating projects that bring photography’s empowering possibilities to some of the people who most need it. This vision has attract an impressive list of major international photographers leading free workshops for emerging Asian photographers and participating in photo-based outreach programs for the street kids through Anjali, a center for underprivileged children. APF’s sharp website does a very good job of transmitting the Festival’s positive energy, sending the message that, for all the right reasons, this is the place to be in early December.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography
Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) rolls out a photo festival each year featuring more than 150 exhibitions and events including lectures, a portfolio review, and a film series. Venues - located throughout the city - include galleries, museums, colleges, and artists’ studios, as well as cafés and other alternative spaces. During the rest of the year, ACP offers a rich array of community programs including a lecture series with top thinkers in the field (past speakers have included Bruce Davidson and Jerry Uelsmann), an innovative film series, and a collector’s series (to educate the public about collecting). In the fall, ACP invites everyone to get into the act during My Atlanta, a one-day exhibition in which photographers - amateurs and professionals alike - are invited to hang their work in Piedmont Park for public view and professional judging.

Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar
Founded in 1973 by a group of newspaper, magazine and wire-service photojournalists, the Atlanta Seminar is a venerable institution and has long been the meeting place for working photojournalists. The seminar consists of a lecture series with a lineup of notable guest speakers working in the field, hands-on workshops dealing with techniques, technology and issues in photojournalism, as well as a merchant’s display of the latest photo gear. The annual portfolio review is one of the event’s most popular functions, with editors from all over the country critiquing portfolios of students and professionals. The non-profit also hosts an annual digital photo contest, awarding over $5,000.00 in prizes for a surprisingly wide range of editorial photographs. Categories range from “Sports News” to “Feature Picture.”

Backlight, Tampere, Finland
A thinking person’s event, Backlight considers critical questions and theory in documentary photography, using its three-year intervals to reflect on the artistic and social realities of the times. Composed of a symposium and exhibition series, Backlight mixes major documentary and art photographers with scholars, multimedia artists and dancers - all working with a general theme. Like more conventional festivals, Backlight also features lectures, a film series, a portfolio review and workshops. The website is fully translated into English and the events are conducted in Finnish or English.

Bratislava Month of Photography 
Originally founded to help bring Slovakian photographers who were hidden behind the “iron curtain” to public attention, Bratislava’s festival has grown in many ways and has become part of the circuit of international photo festivals united under the banner of Festival of Light. Still true to its first calling, this is the place to discover current and past Slovakian photography, but it has also become a unique international forum for Central and Eastern European photography. They have also initiated a series of new programs, including a photography book competition, films, concerts, photo auctions, and a workshop series. Perhaps most the important recent initiative is a portfolio review and networking zone adapted from FotoFest’s (Houston, TX) famous review and “Meeting Place” - all signs of a vital photo scene and a festival worth investigating.

Brighton Photo Biennial
The British sea-side resort town of Brighton hosts a young, innovative and increasingly influential biennial photo festival. Exhibitions, commissions, events and interventions by photographers and artists, known and emerging are curated by the likes of Martin Parr and Photoworks. Add a portfolio review, Magnum workshops, family workshops, artists' talks, symposia and film screenings and you have one of the most attended photo events in the world.

Center
Through its many programs and projects, Center persues a mission to support committed photographers, transforming the non-profit into one of the more dynamic photo organizations on the scene. In order to introduce important photo projects and to create networks for photographers and their supporters, Center has initiated annual events such as Project Competition, the Choice Awards, the Santa Fe Prize, the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Review LA, the Review Santa Fe, the Southwest Photo Summit and Portfolio Bootcamp. There is also the CENTER website's excellent resource center.

Chobi Mela International Photo Festival
Dhaka’s truly impressive Chobi Mela International Photo Festival is a prime venue for the under-recognized work of Bangladeshi and other South Asian photographers as well an extensive cast of international photographers. Exhibitions are searchable by photographer and by country, and are held in venues all over Dhaka, including in the city’s international cultural venues such as the Goethe Institute, the Alliance Française, and the British Council, where invited photographers also lead a series of workshops and portfolio reviews.

Contact Photo Festival, Toronto
Said to be one of the world’s largest, Toronto’s month long Contact Photo Festival invites a wide range of participants into its tent. A lot of the Festival’s energy comes from the ground up with its “Open Call” shows, an invitation for emerging photographers and artists to be part of Contact by creating their own exhibitions non-traditional venues around the city. Contact is known for an eclectic mix of headline exhibitions, work displayed in public places such as subway stations, and alternative venue shows. It's a Toronto-wide photo party.

Daguerreian Society Symposium
The Society organizes an annual symposium for keen "Daguerreians". Fascinated with Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre’s early photographic process, the "Daguerreians" have built a gorgeous site that celebrates the history, science and artistry of the Daguerreotype. For those seeking reliable scholarship on the subject, the Society has a serious and comprehensive archive of reviews, commentaries, scientific analysis and, most fascinating, contemporary accounts of how this new invention was received as word of it spread around the world. The site’s image galleries contain a carefully curated ensemble of historical and modern Daguerreotypes from museums and private collections.

Festival of Light
The Festival of Light is an international collaboration that offers a year-long program of photography festivals and exhibitions on three continents. This site is the contact point for more than 20 photography festivals around the world, with links that connect to each city’s photo festival web site.

Festival-Off, Naarden
In spirit of off-Broadway theater and fringe festivals everywhere, Festival-Off was created to be an inclusive, community based and un-official alternative to the official Naarden Fotofestival. The festival’s minimalist website explains the essentials of this event: photographers getting together to create their own exhibitions in non-traditional venues, and there are no selection committees, no juries, and no prizes. One thing the Festival does promise is the possibility of discovering some of the gems of emerging Dutch photography.

Format Photo Festival, Derby, UK
This festival celebrates the “diversity of photographic practice darkroom to digital” including “work that engages with contemporary culture in social, political and pictorial terms.” It can be a bit challenging to discover evidence of these goals on the Festival’s current website, which is light on past and future festival information and pictures. There are, however, specifics on Format’s ongoing non-festival events, such as panel discussions featuring photographers and photo-related professionals, portfolio reviews and film screenings. Stay tuned to this site to find out what Format has planned for the future.

FotoFest, Houston 
The first and largest of American photography festivals, FotoFest’s organizers have created an event that celebrates photography’s role as a means of international exchange of art and ideas, but also its influence on local lives. The biennial convergence in Houston, Texas, has grown into a forum that investigates world wide trends in photography, while attracting an increasingly international crowd to its month long event. International Discoveries, an initiative of FF founders Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin, brings to together a group of photographers culled from festivals around the world, setting up a cross-borders dialogue in images. This exhibition and the scores of others, where established and gifted emerging photographer’s work is shown, is part of a wave of photography that takes over the city every spring. Exhibitions crowd into galleries, corporations, and public spaces all around the city, complimented by discussion forums, a film and video series, and workshops. The festival is well known for a wealth of networking opportunities, starting with the now legendary portfolio review, which takes place in a zone that has come to be known as the “Meeting Place.” Here photographers are guaranteed 4 different formal review appointments a day over the four or six day sessions, and reviews are conducted by recognized photography professionals, museum curators, critics, gallery owners, and publishers. FotoFest not only gives photographers excellent opportunities to have their work exhibited, published, purchased, but also the chance to gain the inspiration to develop their work to its full potential. There is a strong sense of global and local community at this festival, well illustrated by the Fine Print auction that benefits FotoFest’s Houston-area photography-in-schools initiative, the excellent ”Literacy Through Photography” project.

FotoFusion 
Organized by the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, this general conference is designed to appeal to photographers of all levels and specializations, with an emphasis on the technical  side of photography and photo imaging. The schedule of events is a mix of master workshops; seminars on the business angle of the profession; community presentations and lectures by specialists such as photojournalists, landscape and fine art photographers. There are previews of the latest in photo gear, portfolio reviews and even photo appraisals. The other aim of the conference, networking, is provided for in the nightly “Fuse and Schmooze” parties.

Fotografia, Rome
Using the eternal city of Rome as its exhibition space, the FotoGrafia Festival succeeds brilliantly in blending the art and complexity of this ancient place with the energy and immediacy of contemporary photography. The site proclaims that the whole city (including Rome’s many foreign institutes, galleries and a number of outdoor sites) is host to exhibitions and the program of collateral events, meetings, videos and portfolio reviews. This is certainly the place to see contemporary Italian photography, but the international view is also well represented.

FotoSeptiembre USA 
Always maintaining its bi-cultural San Antonio, Texas, character, FotoSeptiembre USA has evolved into a national, even international photography festival. In association with the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, there are 25 exhibits in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Boston and New York. Events include curated group shows where established, mid-career and emerging artists show together, solo exhibitions, and vintage photograph collections. Thumbnail exhibitions of invited artists can be perused in the “Galleries” section. FotoSeptiembre also maintains a very useful Forum, where ongoing events related to Festival and the San Antonio photo scene are posted, as well as a web exhibition space known as SAFOTO.

Les Rencontres Arles
Ever a center for artistic inspiration, the beautiful Provencal town of Arles plays host to one of the world’s biggest annual photo meets. Stretching from July into September, the festival brings together an unusual and stimulating mix of photography. New work is presented in the Discovery Award competition for emerging talent, but also in exhibitions focusing on cutting edge currents in the international scene. It is also said that portfolios (of those exhibiting and those attending) circulate freely in an atmosphere of open exchange of ideas. Les Rencontres’s schedule is packed with lectures and discussions, seminars, symposiums, performances and workshops. To accommodate all these events and the crowds of photo-appreciators, the festival makes excellent use of Arles’s important and varied architectural heritage to display work in churches, empty shops, railway sheds, medieval cloisters and, most dramatically, late-night projections in the city’s Roman amphitheater. Here, curators and directors from top institutions put together exhibitions and established pros serve as portfolio reviewers. Private collectors and institutions are also given space to display historical photo collections that lend a nuanced perspective to current photography. Although the bells and whistles of this stylish site actually make it harder to navigate, the content is absolutely worth investigating.

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville
Despite its bold graphic design, the Look 3 Festival of the Photograph web site somehow transmits the feeling of a “family reunion” of photography in historic downtown Charlottesville. Founded by photographers such as National Geographic’s Michael “Nick” Nichols, the Festival has a tradition of putting on an annual “backyard party” as a showcase for emerging photographers. YourSpace is one of the festival’s largest and most dynamic events, where all Look 3 attendees are invited to print or project their work for everyone to see. This group participation extends even to featured guest photographers, such as Sally Mann, William Albert Allard, and Eugene Richards, who, beyond the standard gallery exhibition of their works, are invited to reveal more about their creative process in in-depth interviews in front of an audience of attendees.

The Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism
Hanover’s biennial Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism looks to the next generation of photojournalists to explore the impact that photojournalism exerts in our world, now more than ever. Here, young photojournalists are given the chance to have their work take center stage and to compete for the FREELENS Award, a 10.000 € prize, the 5.000 € Lammerhuber Photography Award, the 5.000 € Lumix Multimedia Award and 1.000 € Honorable Mention prizes. There are the requisite portfolio reviews and lectures, but the thrill of this festival must lie in seeing the future of photojournalism.

Moscow House of Photography Photobiennial 
Russia’s premier photography institution appears to be five photography organizations rolled into one. Exhibitions, contests, festivals, workshops, publications and special projects – the Moscow House does it all. Photobiennial is their month long photo festival where a selection of themes are explored by contemporary Russian photographers and illustrated through archival photo collections. Large online photo galleries give a good sense of current and past Photobiennials and in-House exhibitions. The House’s chic website is fully translated into English.

Noorderlicht Photofestival
The stylish publications that this festival produces give a good sense of the organizer’s serious intent:  this is an invitation to international photographers to explore, from as many angles as possible, a given politically or culturally resonant theme. The result of the festival is an exhibition where works are chosen for the way they speak both to each other and to the central theme. Recent Noorderlicht festival exhibitions have traveled internationally and have received much critical attention. The Photofestival is part of a larger alliance of Dutch photo organizations, including USVA Noorderlicht Photogallery, where the Festival winners are exhibited; the Noorderlicht project bureau, which commissions and funds photo projects; and publishing house Aurora Borealis.

Photo España
Every year Madrid hosts this month and a half long photo event that centers around a circuit of more than 50 exhibitions of international photography, all exploring a given theme. Among the activities that round out the event are a photo-centric film festival, a portfolio review by photographers and photo-related professionals, lectures, discussion forums. Professional photographers lead workshops and master classes.

Photo L.A. 
Held in Santa Monica to benefit the photo department of the LA County Museum of Art, International Los Angeles Photographic Arts Exposition is a showcase for American and international independent photo galleries. Although the accent is on collectors and exhibitors, there are photographer-centric events surrounding Photo L.A. including the “Emerging Focus” educational seminars for professionals and advanced amateurs, the Review LA portfolio review and a photo contest.

Photolucida
A biennial event in Portland, Oregon, Photolucida is designed to support the culture and community of photography. The central events of this week-long gathering are the comprehensive portfolio reviews given by a wide range of industry professionals and "Critical Mass," an open call to submit work to a two-tiered jury process that guarentees that submitted work gets seen by a top flight jury and by all the other submitting photographers. The prize is a published monograph that everyone participating in Critical Mass receives. To complete the exchange, there are also lectures from curators and editors, artist talks by photographers, as well as numerous photo exhibitions in Portland galleries.

Society for Photographic Education conference
With over four decades of experience and community surrounding the annual conference the SPE is sure to deliver a program that reflects and responds to the pressing issues of the profession. Always with well respected keynote speakers. 

Triennial of Photography, Hamburg 
Hamburg’s triennial festival has in the past chosen broad and complex topics to explore through photography, lectures, conferences and symposia. The Triennial typically shows over one hundred exhibitions in venues around the city, and organizes a host a of complimentary events such as open air projections, artists talks, an auction, symposia, a photo competition and awards, panel discussions and workshops.

Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan 
Something like a Cannes Festival for photojournalism, Visa Pour L’Image, is one of the largest and most important photojournalism conferences in the world. Meeting every year in Perpignan, France, thousands of international photojournalists congregate in the streets, hotels, and exhibition halls. The festival allows them to connect with peers, see each other’s work, meet photo editors, publishers, and image agency representatives. The focal point of the event is the nightly “soirées,” where thousands of images depicting realities from around the world are projected on a giant outdoor screen in Perpignan’s Campo Santo. Prizes, called “Visa D’or,” are awarded for Best Daily Press, Best Magazine and Best News photos.