PHOTO 2021

  • The Truth
  • 18 February
    – 7 March
  • 160+ Artists
    105 Exhibitions
  • Audiences

A new vision for photography in Australia, PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography brought the sector together to create a major biennale of contemporary photography, art and ideas in Melbourne and at sites across Regional Victoria. Originally conceived as PHOTO 2020, the inaugural program featured 100 free exhibitions and artist projects presenting the work of over 160 artists from more than 25 countries.

United by the central theme of ‘The Truth’, the works exhibited at PHOTO 2021 question the veracity of the photographic image in a time of social media, fake news, and artificial intelligence. In this age of unparalleled social, psychological and technological shifts, the relationship between photography and truth has never been more fascinating, complex, or urgent.

From First Nations truth-telling to the experience of whistleblowers who have spoken out for those whose voices were never meant to be heard, and from revealing hidden histories to questioning whether reality as we know it is in fact a computer simulation, PHOTO 2021 presented projects by leading international artists and photographers—Zanele Muholi, Sam Contis, Simon Fujiwara, Emmanuelle Andrianjafy, Daniel Shea and Broomberg & Chanarin, to name a few—alongside established and emerging Australian talents such as Brook Andrew, Hoda Afshar, Eliza Hutchison and Hayley Millar Baker.

PHOTO 2021 took place across over 50 venues and outdoor locations, from museums and galleries to the steps of Parliament, the forecourt of State Library Victoria and throughout Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The outdoor program invited artists to present work at an urban scale—on bespoke free stranding structures, across construction hoardings, down Melbourne’s laneways, and on the facade of buildings.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March