November 17, 2020 - PHOTO International Festival of Photography - Program launched
November 17, 2020

PHOTO International Festival of Photography

Sara Peter & Tobias, The Merge, 2018–ongoing.

Jesse Boyd-Reid, untitled 2, from the series “The Gift,” 2020.

George Georgiou, Algiers New Orleans 154.

Hayley Millar-Baker, I Will Survive 1 (detail). Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, 68 x 90 cm.

Pieter Henket, Ground Squirrel, from the series “Congo Tales.”

Hoda Afshar, from the series “Agonistes,” 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery.

Ann Shelton, an invitation to dance. © Ann Shelton.

Patrick Waterhouse, Let’s Go to Mining. Restricted with Dorothy Napurrurla Dickson, Sabrina Nangala Robertson and Julie Nangala Robertson, 2014–18. © Patrick Waterhouse / Warlukurlangu Artists. Courtesy of the artists.

Kate Disher Quill & Phoebe Powell, Marked.

Kenta Cobayashi, Untitled, from “Photographic Universe,” 2019. © Kenta Cobayashi.

Zanele Muholi, Bester VII, Newington, London, 2017. © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York.

Program launched
February 18–March 7, 2021
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The inaugural PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography will reanimate the streets and galleries of Melbourne and regional Victoria from February 18 to March 7, 2021.

As Australia’s largest and most significant photography festival, PHOTO 2021 has commissioned photographers from across the globe to create new, thought-provoking works that explore the critical relationship between photography and “The Truth.” With 40 free outdoor works and 39 free exhibitions—accompanied by events and an extensive online offering—audiences can expect to bask in powerful imagery displayed at outdoor spaces and venues across the city, and beyond. The festival will also include an online program, which has the added benefit of making the festival global while keeping local audiences safe and comfortable.

Over 120 artists will showcase work at over 65 cultural institutions, museums and galleries and outdoor spaces. This will include new commissions and works from artists including Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Sam Contis (USA), Hoda Afshar (Iran/Australia), Brook Andrew (Wiradjuri/Celtic, Australia), Patrick Waterhouse (UK), Daniel Shea (USA), Yvonne Todd (NZ), Hayley Millar-Baker (Gunditjmara, Australia), Atong Atem (South Sudan/Australia) and many more. The city is set to shine with photography, displayed on billboards and large bespoke structures at iconic locations such as Federation Square, the Parliament of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Garden, the Immigration Museum and Argyle Square on Lygon Street, among others.

For the first time ever, the Metro Tunnel hoardings will be dedicated to one festival, as part of the PHOTO 2021 x Metro Tunnel Creative Program, displaying over 500 metres of art comprising of new work from Felicity Hammond (UK), Kenta Cobayashi (Japan), Ann Shelton (New Zealand), James Tylor (Australia), and more, with most works being specifically commissioned to premiere at the Festival.

Other Australian premieres from international artists include works from Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (Switzerland), Emmanuelle Andrianjafy (Madagascar), Broomberg & Chanarin (South Africa/UK), Sara Cwynar (Canada), Simon Fujiwara (UK/Japan), Nanna Heitmann (Germany/Russia), Sim Chi Yin (Singapore), and Gustavo Germano (Argentina).

Artistic Director Elias Redstone and the PHOTO 2021 team have created a biennial festival that takes art to the streets, celebrating photography as an artform as well as providing critical support to artists.

Redstone said: “PHOTO 2021 is a truly international celebration held in Melbourne, showcasing new photography and new ideas. We’re commissioning new work and taking it to the streets, while providing space for new voices, perspectives and ideas. Audiences will be able to visit exhibitions and outdoor works for free, while engaging with the ideas, questions and experiments happening at the frontline of contemporary photographic practice.”

The full public program of events and speakers for the PHOTO IDEAS and PHOTO LIVE series will be announced in early 2021. Audiences who can't make it to Melbourne for the festival will be able to experience much of the outdoor program through the PHOTO 2021 Virtual Tour, which will allow audiences to view the works in-situ online.

PHOTO 2021 aims to create an accessible and democratic festival presenting ideas critical to contemporary, social and photographic discourse. The festival’s central theme, “The Truth,” invites artists, curators, writers and academics to explore the critical relationship between photography and truth. While the veracity of the photographic image has always been contested, today the relationship between what we see and what we believe is more complex than ever.

For more information see

PHOTO International Festival of Photography
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