© Zhang Kechun
Delivered in collaboration with over 40 cultural institutions, museums, galleries and universities, the Festival features free exhibitions, outdoor displays and artist commissions in Melbourne and across regional Victoria, alongside events and education programs.
The biennial celebration of new photography and ideas invites artists, curators, writers, academics and audiences to interrogate the major issues of our time through a central theme. Responding to the theme of ‘The Truth’, PHOTO 2021 explores the veracity of the photographic image in a time of social media, fake news, and artificial intelligence.
Working with local and international partners, the Festival is committed to commissioning new work, providing opportunities for artists to develop their practice and reach new audiences, and presenting an outdoor program of artworks in unexpected sites across Melbourne, from streets and laneways to the Parliament of Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
The inaugural Festival was originally conceived as PHOTO 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first edition was rescheduled and relaunched as PHOTO 2021.
In addition to the Festival, Photo Australia runs a series of programs to support professional development and the creation of new work, including mentorships; Student Intensives for tertiary students and recent graduates; an international curators program in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts; our showcase of emerging talent, New Photographers; and PHOTO Editions, a partnership with Perimeter Books to publish photobooks by emerging Australian artists.
Photo Australia also produces PHOTO LIVE, an ongoing series of live streamed conversations about the social and cultural role photography plays in our lives, addressing a range of issues from identity and belonging to human rights and social justice.