Unseen Photo Fair & Festival 2016
Project info


Unseen Photo Fair

Unseen Photo Fair is the annual international photography fair focused on new photography, which takes place from 23-25 September at the Westergas area in Amsterdam. 53 international galleries present the latest work of more than 150 artists. Additionally, the on-site fair is a place for the exchange of dialogue, artistic expression and ideas, and includes a full programme with a lot of interaction, debates and a book market.

Unseen Photo Festival

Unseen Photo Festival is a 10-day celebration of photography throughout the whole city of Amsterdam. From 16-25 September, Unseen collaborates with many of the city’s cultural institutions, artists and initiatives, using photography in innovative and unconventional ways. This year, the heart of the festival lies in the Spaarndammer neighbourhood, with as its main location Museum Het Schip.


Unseen is delighted to unveil the complete programme for the Unseen Photo Fair & Festival. For its fifth edition, Unseen introduces a programme of exhibitions and activities that will challenge, excite and inspire.

Unseen Photo Fair is complemented by a remarkable onsite programme that takes place at the Westergasfabriek terrain, where publisher Bruno Ceschel and artist Lucas Blalock focus on augmented reality in photography, artist Clare Strand brings the fun fair activity to Unseen Photo Fair in a stall where you can win her work, and visitors can have their very own portrait taken by artists such as Zanele Muholi (SA) in Face to Face: African Portraiture.

For the latest edition of Unseen Photo Festival, the entire Spaarndammer neighbourhood is also putting the focus on photography and interaction.

Making Memeries

Delve into the world of augmented reality with Bruno Ceschel (UK) and his onsite project Making Memeries. Artist Lucas Blalock (US) has created a unique installation consisting of eight movable panel structures. Through the free ‘Making Memeries’ mobile phone app, you will be able to activate elements of this installation: sounds, videos and graphics, ‘augmenting’ your own physical reality with digital sensory inputs. With his project they explore the blurring boundaries surrounding on/offline existence and performance in a meme- driven world.

Face to Face: African Portraiture

Studio portraiture is a long standing tradition within the history of photography on the African continent. For Unseen Photo Fair 2016, Unseen will create its own pop up studio outside at the Westergasfabriek, inviting established and young emerging artists from leading African countries to document the visitors of Unseen. The project will highlight this integral part of African’s cultural heritage whilst simultaneously looking to the future of this theme. Artists across the continent are looking at portraiture in new ways, incorporating their heritage yet looking at novel manners to document their sitters.

All That Hoopla

Clare Strand (UK) invites you to a game of hoopla at Unseen! The hoopla challenge is a well-known fun fair attraction that invites visitors to pay a small fee for several attempts to throw a hoop over a prize. In this case: Clare Strand’s own work. The Hoopla stall installation introduces a new approach to photography acquisition whilst creating a new way of interacting between artist and art fair audience. Come try your luck... prize every time!

Unseen Living Room & Dummy Award

The Unseen Living Room programme has been finalised with contemporary themes and leading speakers, including Roger Ballen (artist, US), David Campany (writer, artist and curator, UK), Princess Alia Al–Senussi (LB/VS), Mark Coetzee (Executive Director, Zeitz MOCAA, ZA) and Koos Breukel (artist, NL). Please consult Unseen’s website for the full Unseen Living Room programme. Moreover, the short list for the Unseen Dummy Award 2016 will be made public on the 1st of September on Unseen’s website. On Friday the 23rd of September, the winner will be announced at the Unseen Book Market.

Gallery Night

Following on last year’s success, Unseen organises a new Gallery Night, where some of Amsterdam’s most exciting galleries exhibiting photography will open their doors for an exclusive late-night opening. On Saturday the 24th of September, selected galleries are open from 20h00 to 22h00. Entry is free. For a full list of participating galleries, please go to www.unseenamsterdam.com/open- gallery-night

Unseen Photo Festival

On Friday the 16th of September, the second edition of Unseen Photo Festival kicks off. For ten days, all of Amsterdam will be buzzing with an engaging programme that features exhibitions and activities. The heart of the festival – the Spaarndammer neighbourhood – offers a full and interactive programme of workshops, artists preparing meals and a neighbourhood competition. In addition to the three main exhibitions by Christto & Andrew, Anton Corbijn and a selection of Japanese photographers, the programme also includes an installation by artist Ola Lanko (UA) at the neighbourhood playground, and an exhibition on Dutch singer Typhoon at the Art Hotel. The complete programme is now online here.

Unseen Videos

This year, Unseen offers a special ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the working process of several Unseen artists. The five nominees of the ING Unseen Talent Award present themselves in short videos on Unseen’s website from September 5th, after which the viewer can vote directly for his or her favourite. On Sunday the 18th of September, Kunstuur by AVROTROS will broadcast a documentary about Unseen’s campaign artists Christto & Andrew in their place of residence, Qatar. After its broadcast, the documentary will be available on Unseen’s website.

Founding partners

Unseen was founded by partners Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Office for Cultural Business Development Platform A, and Vandejong Creative Agency.