Photo 2021: International Festival of Photography
Colourful images of flowers exploring the politics of public gardens. Thousands of faces, splashed across the floor of Fed Square. Black and white hands as a study of gestures. A Japanese cityscape smudged, brushed and manipulated into a new, ethereal world. Stained film negatives that blur the distinction between photography and painting.
These are just some of the hundreds of works from more than 120 artists being showcased at Photo 2021, the inaugural International Festival of Photography. Their images and artworks are being exhibited throughout Melbourne and Victoria, in 65 cultural institutions, galleries, museums and outdoor spaces.
The brand new festival is Australia's largest dedicated to the art of photography, with pieces commissioned from photographers and artists around the globe. And in the name of accessibility, all of the festival’s exhibitions and outdoor programs will be free.
The theme for Photo 2021 invites artists, curators, writers and academics to interrogate the relationship between photography and truth in the post-internet age. Each photographer’s work will reflect what the truth means to them.
The program headliner is Photos 2021's collaboration with the Metro Tunnel Creative Program, transforming over 500 metres of cladding and hoarding along the Metro Tunnel Project into a large-scale outdoor gallery with works specifically commissioned for the festival.
Last year, Melburnians were invited to submit their (professional-quality) portraits as part of global participatory art project Inside Out, which has travelled all over the world. The result is 1000 entrants' portraits printed and pasted onto the floor of Federation Square.
Outside of Melbourne, Photo 2021 continues at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Benalla Art Gallery, Geelong Gallery and the Murray Art Museum in Albury. Featured works can also be found on billboards around the inner-city.