Summer Festival Spotlight

  • Nicolas Polli, Ferox the Forgotten Archives. Courtesy Gibellina PhotoRoad.

It’s a very hot summer in Europe, and you may already be back to an air-conditioned office, watching the whole boiling scenario from a screen. If that’s not your case though, and you are ruminating about what to do and where to go, here’s a selection of four photography festivals to visit in the old continent before the end of the season.

The second edition of Gibellina PhotoRoad festival, with Festival Images Vevey as its main partner, presents the first photographic outdoor festival in Italy. Located in Gibellina, Sicily, known for the extraordinary landscape artwork Cretto di Burri by Alberto Burri, the festival presents installations, gigantic prints on the city’s walls, and projections including the exceptional Unfinished: The Birth of a Style by Alterazioni Video inside Teatro Consagra, creating a meta contamination between landscape, architecture and art. Including a total of 35 exhibitions, more site-specific projects including Monica Alcazar Duarte, Nicholas Polli, Joan Fontcuberta, Olivier Lovey, just to mention a few, await in the warm, yet surreal, setting of Gibellina. There’s time to visit through 31st of August.

  • Andrea Botto. Courtesy Cortona on the Move.

If still in Italy, the little historic town of Cortona, Tuscany, is home to Cortona on the Move until the 29th of September. The tenth edition of the festival revolves around the relationship between humans and the environment. From some landmark bodies of work, such as Simon Norfolk’s Crime Scene, compiling three of his projects investigating the humans interventions on the territory, and Gideon Mendel’s Drowning World that focuses on the phenomenon of flooding, to some recent explorations of the theme, like Nanna Heitmann’s Hiding From Baba Yaga, telling the story of people seeking protection on the banks of the Yenisei River to escape from the worldly life, the festival hosts a versatile selection of projects that deal with the subject. A reflection on how we are using the planet is long overdue, but being able to reflect upon it in the peaceful valley of Cortona is a unique treat.

  • Federico Estol, Shine Heroes. Courtesy of Getxo Photo.

GetxoPhoto (4-28 September) now in its 13th edition; the third curated by Monica Allende; will explore how contemporary society deals with transhumanism under the theme Post Homo Sapiens: Programming the Future. Similarly to Gibellina, the city’s facades, parks, abandoned places, markets and other spaces will be covered with the visual stories of some of the most interesting contemporary artists, such as Mathieu Gafsou, Haley Morris-Cafiero, and Maija Tammi, to name a few, as well as a wide array of photographers selected from their annual open call. From the latter, a few highlights include Federico Estol’s Shine Heroes, documenting the lives of the Bolivian shoe shiners who fight against social stigmatization maintaining their dignity of strong women; Claudia Gori’s The Sentinels Electrosensitivity in Italy, investigating people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and Masamichi Kagaya’s Autoradiograph, making visible the radioactive contamination with the help of professor Satoshi Mori after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.

  • Ana Zibelnik, winner of the 2019 Verzasca Foto Festival Award. Courtesy of Verzasca Foto Festival.

In the Valle Verzasca, where the Verzasca Foto Festival (6 September – 5th November) festival takes place, the relationship between nature and photography is a symbiotic one, with photographs displaced along the path on the rocks, by the grass, on the buildings’ roofs, hanging between trees, and projected on the walls of Sognono. The whole festival is nurtured by the year’s theme In Cammino (Walking) and will present the works of local and international artists, including Roberto Tondopó (Mexico), Maria Sturm (Romania), Alessia Rollo ( Italy), as well as showcase the project of the Verzasca Foto Festival winner, Ana Zibelnik, a subtle exquisite investigation on death and how humans encounter it during their lifetime.