Industry News

Summer 2024 European Photo Festivals and Exhibits

May 30, 2024

By Aimee Baldridge

© Janette Beckman

Whether you’re traveling by road, rail, bike, or plane, you could plan a whole European tour just around photo exhibits this summer. Festival season is in full swing, and there are plenty of photo exhibits dotting the landscape, from shows featuring classic photographs from bygone eras to cutting-edge work by contemporary artists. Here are some highlights to put on your itinerary.


Prix Pictet: Human

The Prix Pictet focuses on the issue of global sustainability with its annual photo competition. Twelve photographers selected by this year’s jury present their take on how people figure into the equation, exploring the theme “Human” in this exhibit running through August 18 at Fotografiska Stockholm.

Untitled #2, 2015–20. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. © Hoda Afshar


Classics and Festivals

While you’re in Sweden, stop by the Hasselblad Center in Göteborg to see nearly 150 images taken over a period of 60 years by the venerable Swedish photographer Anders Petersen in City Diary. The show runs through September 15. If you’re in Scandinavia between June 6 and 16, put the Copenhagen Photo Festival on your itinerary too.

France & Holland

Thomas Mailaender — Les Belles Images

Head to Paris if you’re in the mood for something bold and experimental. Thomas Mailaender interrogates the role of imagery in society with this sprawling exhibit. It fills two floors of MEP with original photo series, found and reframed images, photos exposed directly onto walls, and a section on Rosemary Jacobs, who suffered from the skin-silvering condition argyria. See it all from June 12 through September 29.

From the series Les belles images, 2010. © Thomas Mailaender


Janette Beckman: Rebels

Travel up to Amsterdam for this first major retrospective of Janette Beckman’s 40-year foray into the punk and hip-hop scenes, political activism, and all sorts of edgy subcultures. The work on display runs right up to our current era, including anti-Trump protests and peace demonstrations for Gaza. The show runs through September 8 at FOAM.

Andre 3000, New York City, 2003. © Janette Beckman



La Gacilly

From June 21 through November 3, this long-running festival will have photo exhibits all around the town of La Gacilly in open-air galleries. This 21st edition takes “Australia and Beyond” as its theme.

Les Rencontres D’Arles

“Beneath the Surface” is the theme of the 55th annual photo festival in Arles. See how a multitude of new and well-established photographers take it on between July 1 and September 29.


Tamara Janes: Set and Setting

Tamara Janes takes older images and turns them into something new and different in this exhibitreally different. Many of the images are from her Copyright Swap series, which presents radically transformed works from the New York Public Library Picture Collection. You can take in this alternately humorous and disconcerting exploration of visual culture from June 22 through September 29 at Photo Elysée in Lausanne.

Copyright swap #02. © Tamara Janes


Fairs and Festivals

Photo Basel

The 9th edition of this annual fair brings together 41 galleries from around the world to show their photo-based art between June 11 and 16 at the Volkshaus Basel.

Fotofestival Lenzburg

Head to the aptly named town of Lenzburg between May 25 and June 23 for the 6th edition of its Fotofestival. This year’s theme is “Synthesis,” with 20 photo exhibits exploring how we might make the world whole again in our troubled era of rapid change. 

Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography

The 27th edition of this festival runs until May 26 in the town of Biel/Bienne. Its 11 photo exhibits highlight the work of emerging photographers who are examining the banal and familiar as a form of resistance to our era’s ubiquitous proliferation of sensationalist imagery.


Akhiko Okamura: The Memories of Others

Conflict photographer Akhiko Okamura’s photos of Ireland aren’t new, but they will probably be new to you since they have rarely been shown. This exhibit presents work dating from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, when Ireland was riven by political violence. Okamura captured both the strife of the Troubles and the subtleties of everyday Irish life. The show runs through July 6 at the Photo Museum Ireland in Dublin.

Street Memorial on Lecky Road, Derry city, marking the site where Desmond Beattie (19 years old) was shot and killed on 8 July by the British Army. Seamus Cusack (28 years old) was shot dead near this spot twelve hours later. These men were the first people shot dead by the British Army in Derry, Northern Ireland, 1971. © Akhiko Okamura



If you’re in Ireland during the month of June, head to the Belfast Photo Festival. The 10th edition of the event takes on the theme “Divergence,” with a focus on how contemporary photographers are addressing rapid digitalization, climate change, and AI.

Italian Photo Festivals

Fotografia Europea

“Nature Loves to Hide,” according to the organizers of the 19th edition of this festival. Both emerging and established photographers explore that theme at nine photo exhibits in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia through June 9.

Cortona on the Move

The 14th edition of this Italian festival in the medieval town of Cortona runs from July 11 through November 3. This year’s theme is “Body of Evidence,” with exhibits and events exploring all the nuances of the body through contemporary documentary narrative work.

Centrale Festival

Exhibits for this festival’s 15th edition are up from June 7 through 23 in the town of Fano, Italy. It’s focused on contemporary Italian artists and curators, with a series of conversations and events scheduled for June 79.

Exposed Torino Foto Festival

This brand new festival in the Italian city of Turin aims to “provoke contemplation regarding the transitional state of photography” with a multidisciplinary, inclusive approach to the medium. To that end, it has a multitude of exhibitions, talks, and other events scheduled through June 2.

[Read: Make Engagement Photography Magic at Lake Como]

Spanish Photo Festivals

Photo España

Spain will be one big photo festival until the end of September, with 84 exhibits featuring 293 artists popping up in locations all over the country for the 27th edition of Photo España, which takes “movement” as its theme.

Revela’t Contemporary Analog Photography Festival

This festival features film/chemical photography exclusively, bringing together artists from all over the world who specialize in the medium. Now in its 12th year, the festival takes “identity” as its theme this summer, running through June 16 in the Spanish town of Vilassar de Dalt, near Barcelona.

Getxophoto International Image Festival

The Basque town of Getxo, near Bilbao, will host the 18th edition of this festival, with the theme of “play,” from June 6 through 30. Most of the exhibitions will be open-air installations, so visitors can take in the whole festival during an afternoon stroll around town.

More European Photo Festivals

Athens Photo Festival

Featuring over 100 established and emerging artists from around the world, this edition of the Athens biennial runs from June 6 through July 28. A full slate of exhibitions and events is scheduled for the festival hub at the Benaki Museum, along with 16 satellite exhibitions sprinkled around the Greek capital.

RAY Triennial of Photography

The 5th RAY triennial brings 10 exhibition sites and a series of events to Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region through September 1. This edition’s theme is “Echoes,” with 18 artists contributing work that explores it through reflections on identity, memory, and emotion.


The 24th edition of this Polish festival runs from June 13 through 23 in Łódź. It’s “dedicated to the process of freeing and liberation,” with exhibitions and events scheduled at multiple locations in the city.

Traveling with the whole family? Take your kids to the festival’s “Photography is Everywhere” exhibit for answers to burning questions like “Do you know what spiders’ eyes really look like?” You can go without kids, too. We won’t judge.