Guide to Summer Photo Festivals!

With the help of our global network and community, we’ve compiled a list of 22 must-see festivals from all corners of the world. What a great excuse for a cultural vacation!

International photography festivals are more popular than ever. These lively events provide unparalleled opportunities for discovering inspiring new work—including exhibitions, multimedia projections, lectures, roundtable discussions, and lots of photobooks. Festivals are also a great place to connect with the photographic community, providing a space for both professional and personal networks to flourish. Make some time to have a drink and meet some new friends while you are soaking up the inspiration!

Here is our brief (and certainly not complete) guide to some great festivals happening all over the globe between now and the end of September. Even if you can’t attend any of them, look through the websites below to get a sense of the wide variety of inspiring material that is on offer. The texts below are taken from the organizations’ respective websites. Click on the links for further information. Cheers!


Cover photo © Robert Zhao Renhui, on view at Fotofestiwal

On view at Athens Photo Festival © Nina Röder˙

Athens Photo Festival
Athens, Greece

Athens Photo Festival 2018 attempts to bring together a range of different perspectives from emerging and established artists and photographers from all over the world with the aim to raise awareness and foster an understanding of contemporary culture and society through photography in all its forms. Exploring critical issues relevant to our times, the festival functions as a dynamic platform where the social impact of the ever-changing visual culture can be raised and discussed. Athens, today, is a city facing the challenges for Europe. This put us in a unique position to collaborate with international artists and organisations. The Festival works within an international, national and local context, encompassing a variety of activities designed to reflect the diversity of contemporary photography, and to create opportunities for exchange of ideas, artistic expression and international engagement.

Running from June 6 - July 29, 2018

Madrid, Spain

Since its inception, PHotoESPAÑA has had a decidedly international vision. Focusing on local values, PHE has also explored grand concepts and vast artistic territories: Europe, North America, Latin America, for example. This vision has been upheld and developed by the curators and directors who, every three years, are put in charge of the programme. This is one of the primary characteristics of the festival, which clearly distinguishes it from all other international photography festivals: every three years a chief curator takes charge of the festival’s programme, developing theories and concepts, distanced from favouritism, that revolve around photography and that prove that the festival is capable of periodically reinventing itself.

Running from June 6 - August 26, 2018

On view at the Hamburg Triennal © Maciej Dakowicz

Triennal of Photography
Hamburg, Germany

The Triennial of Photography takes place every three years in Hamburg in collaboration with the city’s major museums, cultural institutions, galleries, and other organizers. Meanwhile, the festival has become an important event throughout Germany and the rest of the world. With a large number of exhibitions under a common theme, it highlights current topics in photography. The festival features conversations with artists, thematic discussions, lectures, portfolio viewings, and an international conference.

Running from June 7 - September 30, 2018

LUMIX Festival
Hannover, Germany

The LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism attests to the power of photojournalism in our image-oriented world. The festival aims to serve as a platform for discussions as well as a talent forum appealing to professional picture editors. The work of 60 photojournalists will be shown this year, alongside multimedia presentations and much more.

Running from June 20 - June 24, 2018

Łódź, Poland

Fotofestiwal is a space for presenting various forms and types of photography, acting as a forum for discussion about art and society. Exhibitions at this year’s edition include Mathieu Asselin, Claudius Schulze, and more. The festival also includes a series of portfolio reviews, a series of open networking events, and public presentations.

Running from June 21 - July 1, 2018

On view at f/stop © Ludovic Balland

Leipzig, Germany

In 2018, the 8th installment of the festival will once again be curated by Anne König and Jan Wenzel. In various exhibitions at the Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig and with an additional In Situ project in the city, the festival will examine how photography can be utilized to shed light on societal issues and the social fabric as a whole. In what ways can photography be used as a medium of democracy and societal communication? How can mediation and communication processes be documented by using photography?

Running from June 23 - July 1, 2018

Antwerp, Belgium

AntwerpPhoto is an international photo biennale that shows what is happening in the world of photography. With an extensive festival week and leading exhibitions, AntwerpPhoto inspires and stimulates the visitor to dive into the world of photography and visual culture and go on a discovery tour.

The first edition of AntwerpPhoto runs from June 24 to September 30 in the Pilotage in Antwerp. In this edition we will show you four exhibitions: an ambitious group exhibition of Belgian photographers, an introduction to the laureates of the Prix Carmignac, work by award-winning documentary photographer Michael Wolf and the legendary work of Anton Corbijn, which contains a number of highlights that have never been shown before. We start the festival with a well-filled and fascinating festival week for everyone with an interest in photography.

Running from June 24 - September 30, 2018

On view at Voies Off © Arko Datto

Voies Off Festival
Arles, France

The Voies Off Festival gathers a set of exhibitions and independent photographic initiatives in Arles every year that run alongside the Rencontres d’Arles. Since 1996, this Festival has offered a bold, alternative program focused on a new generation of artists and photographers. The actions and goals of its programs are dedicated to helping support young fine art photographers.

Running from July 2 - September 23, 2018

Les Rencontres d’Arles
Arles, France

Every summer since 1970, over the course of more than forty exhibitions at various heritage sites in the the city, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a major influence in disseminating the best of international photography, and playing the role of a springboard for photographic and contemporary creative talents.

Running from July 2 - September 23, 2018

On view at Cortona On the Move
My Empty Belly © Elinor Carucci

Cortona On The Move
Cortona, Italy

Cortona On The Move is a dynamic centre of contemporary photography, where experimentation and a watchful eye on the future development of visual communications are at home. But photography isn’t the only valuable asset of Cortona On The Move. It also cherishes and promotes worthy icons in the local economy, which has made it possible, year after year, to re-open prestigious old buildings for the benefit of the town – dilapidated and abandoned buildings have now become spectacular exhibition locations.

Running from July 12 - September 30, 2018

Encuentros Abiertos

The Encuentros Abiertos-Festival de la Luz is the biggest event of its kind in Latin America - a biennial that takes place every August in even numbered years. The purpose of the Festival de la Luz is to nurture and promote the art of photography in Argentina and internationally. The Festival carries out this mandate in different ways: with exhibitions of national and foreign artists in museums, cultural centers, and art spaces across Argentina; through lectures, workshops, and discussions on photographic art and related issues; through street art, projections, film screenings, and actions in public spaces; with book presentations, and photographic calls; and by organizing portfolio reviews where photographers meet with curators, critics, collectors, editors, and directors of institutions interested in the artistic, cultural, and social relevance of photography.

Running from August 1 - September 28, 2018

Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival

This young but widely respected festival offers a showcase of both local and international talents, while providing a bridge between Eastern and Western photographic communities. From exhibitions to portfolio reviews and a spotlight on emerging Japanese talents, this festival offers a bit of everything.

Running from August 20 - August 28, 2018

Kaunas Photo
Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Photo is the longest-running annual photo art festival in the Baltic states. Since 2004, it has taken place every September in the second-largest Lithuanian town of Kaunas. Kaunas Photo has been a festival of premières for future stars of photography since its launch, and is a platform for dialogue around contemporary photographic creation between North and South, East and West. While being the prime event of art photography in Lithuania, Kaunas Photo does not solely focus on Lithuanian photography. Its programs and projects, such as the exhibition and book Generation ’74: 11 European Photographers born in 1974, feature a vast menu of internationally acclaimed photographers.

Opening September 1, 2018

On view at Visa Pour l’Image © Paula Bronstein

Visa Pour l’Image
Perpignan, France

An international festival of photojournalism and one of the premier showcases for news-oriented professional image-makers from all over the world. The main program is comprised of exhibitions, screenings, and meetings as well as a full week of educational activities.

Running from September 1 - September 21, 2018

BredaPhoto Festival
Breda, Netherlands

BredaPhoto shows state-of-the art contemporary photography based on an internationally-relevant social theme. The 2018 title of the festival will be ‘TO INFINITY AND BEYOND’. BredaPhoto wants to know more about the possibilities and impact of ongoing progress in technology and science. Will it bring nothing but progress? Or are we at risk of opening a Pandora’s box full of unwelcome surprises? Photographers will show their interpretations of the opportunities, dangers and dilemmas. They can show us what’s happening in front of our eyes, or take the liberty to make a careful prediction of what might happen next.

Running from September 5 - October 21, 2018

On view at the Indian Photography Festival © Sharbendu De

Indian Photography Festival
Madhapur, India

The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) is an international photography festival showcasing a wide range of photography from India and around the globe with a series of events, including talks and discussions, portfolio reviews, book launches, screenings and workshops. The IPF creates a platform for professional and aspiring photographers, bringing together photography lovers and the public in a festival promoting the art of photography while simultaneously addressing social issues through the medium.

Running from September 6 - October 7, 2018

Brooklyn, New York

Photoville is New York City’s free premier photo destination. Produced by United Photo Industries, the annual festival is a modular venue built from re-purposed shipping containers. By creating a physical platform for photographers of all stripes to come together and interact, Photoville provides a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse audience — a veritable cross-section of the world’s photographic community. This year’s Photoville roster will include many great partners from years past, as well as lots of “new blood.”

Running from September 13 - September 23, 2018

Tbilisi Photo Festival
Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi Photo Festival was co-founded by French photographer and current Photo Editor in Chief at the French daily newspaper Liberation, Lionel Charrier, and the Georgian photo curator and journalist Nestan Nijaradze. It was first launched in 2010, in partnership with Les Rencontres d’Arles. Eight editions later, it has not only become the most important photo festival in the region, but one of the major annual cultural events in the Caucasus. The Festival aims to be a central meeting point for photography from different regions – Asia, Iran, Turkey, Europe, and the Arab world - to showcase the best of world photography. The festival also promotes emerging regional photography. With its upcoming 8th edition, Tbilisi Photo Festival will firmly establish Tbilisi as the capital of photography in the Caucasus.

Running from September 13 - September 20, 2018

On view at Landskrona Foto Festival © Hicham Benohoud

Landskrona Foto Festival
Landskrona, Sweden

Landskrona Foto is one of the most important institutions in Scandinavia for photographic mediation, research and conservation. The key activities for Landskrona Foto are exhibitions, photographic history, research, the conservation of the photographic heritage, an annual photo festival and support for contemporary artists. Landskrona Foto will pursue such a wide range of activities of such quality that Landskrona can justifiably call itself the Capital of Photography in Scandinavia. We aim to achieve that goal by 2020.

Running from September 14 - September 23, 2018

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Unseen is the leading platform for contemporary photography. Exclusively focusing on what’s new in the photography world, Unseen provides a channel for up-and-coming talent to showcase their work. Unseen brings together the international photography community to discuss and debate the directions in which the photographic medium is evolving. Unseen Amsterdam aspires to provide novel and diverse approaches to engage with photography. The event does this through combining programme elements such as the Fair, CO-OP, the Book Market and the Living Room, The Exhibition, Onsite Projects and City Programme.

Running from September 21 - September 23, 2018

Brighton Photo Biennale ‘The New Europe’
Brighton, United Kingdom

Brighton Photo Biennial returns with a month of free photography exhibitions and events for professionals, enthusiasts, students and families alike. The theme for its eighth edition is The New Europe and the festival will be curated by the newly appointed Photoworks Director, Shoair Mavlian.

The United Kingdom’s status in the European Union may be changing, however, geographically Britain will remain part of Europe, with a shared history and intertwined future. At this transitional point, we will use photography to examine our current state of flux, reflecting on our relationship with Europe and the geographies of the United Kingdom. The theme will also allow us to look back at Photoworks’ own beginnings as the Cross Channel Photographic Mission, a collaborative photographic partnership which took place during the construction of the channel tunnel. The Biennial will present work from national and international practitioners and we’re looking forward to collaborating with local and international partners to share exceptional photography with a wide audience.

Running from September 28 - October 28, 2018

Shanghai International Photography Festival
Shanghai, China

Shanghai International Photography Festival was founded in 1986 is developed from “Shanghai International Photographic Art Exhibition.” Shanghai International Photography Festival is one of the most authoritative competitions in the world of photography, and is one of the most important international cultural brands for Shanghai.

Different from other photographic exhibitions, Shanghai International Photography Festival does not have any exhibitions driven by a commercial purpose. The festival tries to keep the purity of art and foster the potential of the international arena provided by Shanghai.

Running from September 29 - October 7

On view at Athens Photo Festival © Jaakko Kahilaniemi