Photo Festivals Europe 2015


Did you also notice that photo festivals have been popping up like mushrooms during the last, let’s say, ten years? Or at least this seems to be the case for Europe.

Where art fairs are slowly getting more accessible for the general audience, photo festivals have generally attracted a larger crowd for years already, for the simple reason that photos are much more accessible than many other art forms, or as the British photographer Hannah Starkey said in History is Now:

Photography is something that we’re closer to than any other kind of art form. It is a universal language that we all have a vested interest in …

The fact that during the last decade it has become much easier to take some nice pictures for many of us, thanks to the digital photography (r)evolution, certainly contributes to this. Photo festivals can be inspiring, entertaining and a learning experience for the professional and the amateur photographer.

The Swedish media-duo Johan Rheborg and Henrik Schyffert also respond to this phenomenon with their television series We’re all photographers or Alla är fotografer in Swedish, always a fun and interesting watch, although I always have to ask Pal to translate, since the series have no English subtitles so far.

And to be honest, somehow it feels photo festivals never disappoint, maybe exactly for the above reasons. Sometimes you’ll learn about new topics through the photos you see, other times you’ll explore a cute, little town while wandering from one great exhibition venue to the other. Photo festivals abroad can also have this extra dimension of seeing the country from a different, local perspective, like we experienced for example last year during Riga’s PhotoMonth, during which we got to learn much more about Latvia and its citizens than we otherwise could have learned.

Spring seems to be the time of the year when the photo festival season fully starts again. We compiled a list of the photo festivals taking place throughout Europe, to be extended with an International overview of photo festivals soon too. In the course of the weeks we’re adding short descriptions of every single festival, so you easily know what to expect from which festival, and make your choice which festival(s) to visit. Just click on the menu items for more information.

Do you happen to know of a photo festival that is not on the list? Or have you been to any of these festivals and like to tell us about your experience? Feel free to share with us in the comments or send us an email at wkndr (at) artweekenders (dot) com. We like hearing from you!


(last update 23 July)

The links to this list appears to be broken, we’re currently solving this. Get back to us within a couple of days and the list should be available again!

As far as you are not yet familiar with the World Press Photo exhibition, this is a major international photo exhibition covering press photography, which is already organized annually since 1955. The photos exhibited are the prize winners for different categories – varying from general news to nature and sports – , carefully selected by an international jury of leading professionals in the field of photojournalism.
The exhibition starts in Amsterdam in the Nieuwe Kerk, after which it travels to 100 cities in 45 countries. For more information about the exhibition check: World Press Photo and our recently published article Curious Facts About The World Press Exhibition
The Nordic Light International Festival of Photography celebrates photography as an art form. During the festival week there will be activities like presentations and portfolio reviews, all aiming to create a better understanding of good photography in the companionship of some top photographers.

Most of the photo exhibitions are open until 28 June and are at the Nordic Light – House of Photography and the Jonas Eriksen Gallery in Kristiansund, Norway,  which is situated at a beautiful location on the north-west coast of Norway.

For more information visit Nordic Light Festival.

The Naarden Photofestival is a biannual photofestival organized in the city of Naarden, some 15 kilometers from Amsterdam. The festival mainly focusses on the developments in Dutch photography, although there are also some international photographers exhibiting this year, and the emphasis is on storytelling instead of documentary photography. The central theme of this year’s festival is ‘water’, a theme presented differently by all photographers participating. You can expect names like Frans Lanting, Kadir van Loohuizen and Jimmy Nelson on this year’s edition, but also new and upcoming talents. The festival is spread over different locations throughout this cute little town, which is surrounded by large 17th-century fortications, said to be some of the best preserved ones in Europe. Check Naarden Photofestival for more information (website in Dutch only)
The Pa-ta-ta festival aims to connect photography, the people, the street and the city to make us learn more about photography, understand it better and above all to appreciate it more.

Apart from exhibitions there are different interactive gatherings and guided tours. If you don’t speak or understand Spanish, check upfront whether these gatherings are in English or not. The website of the Pa-ta-ta Festival is only available in Spanish at the date of writing.

The photo exhibitions will not only be at the squares of the city, some exhibitions will also be held in buildings normally closed for the public.

This year is already the fourth edition of the popular international photo fair Unseen, which is focusing on young talent and previously unseen works, both of upcoming and established photographers. It is the first year though that the festival will also be extended to the city, so expect to see part of the festival around Amsterdam too during the festival days. For more details visit Unseen Photo Fair.


More Photo Festivals Europe 2015 – of which the dates are to be confirmed at the date of writing of this article:

Kaunas Photo in Kaunas (Lithuania)

Fotoleggendo in Rome (Italy)

f/ Stop in Leipzig (Germany)

Off Festival in Bratislava (Slovakia)

Festival Internationale de la Photographie de Mode in Cannes (France)

Fotografia – Festival Internazionale di Roma in Rome (Italy)

Photography Biennale  in Mulhouse (France)

Photo Levallois in Levallois (France)

BredaPhoto in Breda (The Netherlands)

Scan in Tarragona (Spain)

Outono Fotografica in Galiza (Spain)

Grid Photofestival different locations worlwide

Planche(s) Contact in Deauville (France)

Rendez Vous Images in Strasbourg (France)


Photo festivals (likely) first taking place in 2016 again:

Photomarket in Stockholm (Sweden)

BruggeFoto in Bruges (Belgium)

Milan Image Art Fair in Milan (Italy)

Format in Derby (Ireland)

Festival Circulations in Paris (France)

Festival Pluie d’ Images in Brest (France)

Fotografija Godine BiH in Sarajevo (Bosnia)

Mois de la Photo November in Paris (France)

Mesiac Fotografie in Bratislava (Slovakia)

Eyes On European Month Of Photography in Vienna (Austria)

Fotohonap European Month of Photography in Budapest (Hungary)

Photonic Moments European Month of Photography in Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Month of Photography Berlin in Berlin (Germany)

Brighton Photo Biennial in Brighton (United Kingdom)

Transphotographique in Lille (France)

BIP in Liege (Belgium)

AliBaBa Photo Festival in La Cueva (Murcia, Spain)

Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography Biel (Switzerland)

Tblisi Photo Festival in Tblisi (Georgia)

DusseldorfPhotoweekend in Dusseldorf (Germany)

Si Fest in Savignano sul Rubicone (Italy)

Helsinki Photo Biennal in Helsinki (Finland)

Transphotographique in Lille (France)

Lumix Festival for young photojournalism in Hannover (Germany)

Photobiennale in Greece

Summer of Photography in Brussels (Belgium)

The Eye International Photography Festival in Aberystwyth (Wales, United Kingdom)

Images, Vevey (Switzerland)

Photography Oxford in Oxford (United Kingdom)

Guernsey Photography Festival in Guernsey (France)

2017: Backlight Festival in Tampere (Finland)

About The Author: Lydian Brunsting

'To be with Art is all we ask'- Gilbert and George. A quote that has stayed with me since I first saw it a couple of years ago. The word I would add though is 'travel' and that is, in fact, Art Weekenders, our new creation. The Art Weekenders project combines my passions for art, travel and photography, while we - at the same time - like to inspire and hopefully help you to prepare your art getaway. I am also photographer, writer and developer of the photoblog SHOuTography, a project that I started during a year of travelling through South-America to explore my life-long passion for photography.