Despite the recent proliferation of photography festivals and fairs around the world, the events seem to neatly divide themselves into two distinct camps. In the former lie such festivals as Arles, Encontros Da Imagem (Braga), Photolux (Lucca), in which a small town finds itself completely (though temporarily) given over to the world of photography. In the latter are larger events like Paris Photo or Photo London—which, impressive as they are, find themselves dwarfed by the scale of the cities around them.

During its past three editions, Unseen Festival has tried its best to turn a small (but lovely) corner of Amsterdam into an extensive and multi-faceted festival program. Ambitious as it was, the festival found itself confined and, in a way, limited by the size of the city around it. This year, Unseen’s goal is to spread from its base in the Westergasfabriek into the rest of the surrounding area, transforming Amsterdam into a city filled with photography.

The 2015 program unites an exciting assortment of artists, collectors, venues, academies, institutions and project spaces all around the Dutch capital. Beyond unlocked doors, within secret spaces, across much-loved museums, the festival hopes to celebrate and showcase of the diverse photographic inhabitants that fill the city.

We encourage any prospective visitors to take advantage of this great opportunity to appreciate photography in many new and exciting forms. First-time collectors have an exciting opportunity to acquire affordable, original artwork while all visitors will have plenty of exhibitions to explore.

Below, we have put together a small preview of some of the highlights that will be on display all over the city, from the 18th to the 27th of September — but we hope this is only the beginning of your explorations of this year’s Unseen!


Lies of Lies: On Photography

This exhibition questions whether we can trust photographs by looking at the work of 18 Korean artists. Focused on rethinking the nature of photography, Lies of Lies examines how the medium is tested by artists through the presentation of other genres such as sculpture and video.

It’s Just Love

Photographer Sophie Ebrard followed a pornography director around the world for the past 4 years. It’s Just Love is both a study of composition and the relationships of the sex industry. By spending time with the film crew, she developed a close relationship to them and an understanding of their world. Using classical composition, she humanizes the individuals of an industry that is often criticised. By staging the exhibition in her own house, the duality of intimacy and external presentation is emphasised.

Next Level: Anne De Vries - E­_M E R G E

The Foam museum presents Anne de Vries’ first major solo exhibition. De Vries is an artist who has embraced the technological developments of our digital era—his work ranges from 2D digital photography and 3D photo sculptures to new media installations in which he uses everyday objects and combines them with new materials and printing techniques.


Let’s redefine the terms. Let’s think about authorship. Let’s explore the intersections. Let’s show all we’ve got. Let’s sweep the grit on what’s around. Let’s probe the limits of understanding. Let’s put it all out and let’s not mind. Let’s challenge our practice. Let’s share what we learn. Let’s stand out together. Let’s build something unexpected. Let’s surprise each other. Let’s continue.

Women We Have Not Lost Yet

On the 26th of April 2015, extremists announced their ‘Great Attack’ on the city of Aleppo. Young men and women gathered in Issa Touma’s Le Pont gallery where together they felt safer. Most of them were Muslims fearful of losing either their life or lifestyle. Trapped and frightened, they decided to start a photography session, almost like a final message.


This unusual installation and performance by artist duo The Cool Couple is a growing collection of representations of beards. Consisting of images, different objects and an on-site barber, A Kind of Display is an exploration of the beard’s various positions in culture and history.

[Includes the chance for a “free Unseen shave”!]