One way of immersing yourself into rooms full of photography is to take a trip to one of the many photofestivals that are on throughout the world each year.
Top 5: Best Photofestivals in Europe
Here, though, we’ll be concentrating on 5 of the best in Europe.
Photofestivals are great for networking and for getting to know fellow photographers and other members of the industry. There is a community vibe where a city is taken over for a period of time and you learn new work or see old. Some now look to photofestivals as an opportunity to gain access to elusive editors and agents, to attend workshops and generally become part of a global network of photographers. You can book to have a portfolio review but need to book early to get the reviewers you want. Some festivals are annually others are bi-annual.
1. Rencontres d’Arles – France, Arles, July – Sept
Every year, the sleepy city of Arles in the south of France comes to life as its festival sweeps in for a three-month-long celebration of photography.
Hosted in multiple venues around Arles, the festival is dedicated to showcasing new photographers and new artwork. Founded in 1970, the Rencontres d’Arles festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious of photography events. The opening week, is most important as this is when commissioning editors and agents fly in from around the world to view exclusive shows and hunt for unpublished photo stories. In addition to the wealth of photography exhibitions on display, there’s the opportunity to network at the evening screenings of slideshows and presentations, held in the city’s spectacular Roman amphitheatre.
2. Visa pour l’Image – France, Perpignan, August – September
Visa pour l’Image is also spread across the city and is an international festival of photojournalism. It receives professional and amateur submissions. The festival has screenings, meetings and education weeks alongside its exhibitions. Each year it announcesa World Press Photo award win. Photographers such as Herb Ritts and Claude Gassian have participated in the festival. During the professional week from last week in August to September , 2016 in Perpignan, thousands of professional photojournalists are offered an opportunity to meet with their peers, talk about their work or their profession. During the festival the festival publishes an updated list of all the professionals who are in Perpignan
3. Photo Espana – Spain, Madrid, May – July
From May to July, participants can see a vast array of exhibitions that range from historical to art photography and photojournalism. With exhibitions in the main museums, halls and art galleries, as well as diverse activities related to the chosen theme each year. Masterclasses by leading photographers are also offered, giving participants the opportunity to learn from those at the top of their game. It began in 1988. Over 600 exhibitions have been presented in museums, art centres and galleries, which have attracted more than half a million visitors each year.
4. Brighton Photofestival – GB, Brighton, October – Nov
Brighton Photo Biennial is the UK’s leading curated photography festival and promotes new thinking around photography through a commissioned programme of events and exhibitions. Previous curators of this somewhat edgy international festival have included Martin Parr and Jeremy Millar. The exhibitions, commissions and events focus on individuality, sub-cultures and communities, in contrast to standardisation, mass-representation and the gene
5. Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam Annual – Netherlands, Amsterdam, 22-27 Sept 2017
An international showcase of new photography, focusing on undiscovered, unknown and unseen work, in Amsterdam’s huge Westergasfabriek. Last year it launched a premieres programme, which exhibits works that have never been displayed before in any other gallery, institution or fair. Unseen was founded in 2012 by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, office for cultural business development Platform A, and creative agency Vandejong.