The Krakow Photomonth Festival is one of the most important European photography festivals and one of the largest cyclical events in Poland devoted to the visual arts. This year, 2021, will mark the festival’s 19th edition. A diverse programme of exhibitions—and not only photographic ones—enriched by meetings and various other events, will offer viewers a panoramic view of contemporary photography and the theme of the festival. Each year, guests from Poland and abroad are invited to cooperate, from well-known and highly regarded artists and curators to individuals on the cusp of establishing a place for themselves in the art world, who bring with them a fresh perspective on photography.

Each exhibition presents a different point of view—the author’s subjective statement. In dialogue with each other, the slate of exhibitions invites the viewer to partake in a multifaceted discussion.

SHOWOFF SECTION

The ShowOFF Section—the second part of Krakow Photomonth, as important as the Main Programme—presents projects by young, premiering artists selected through an open-call competition. Artists who have made their debuts in the ShowOFF Section in recent years have benefited from the mentorship of curators who guided them through the process of creating an exhibition from start to finish: from selecting photographs, to choosing formats, paper, and frames, to the final arrangement of their exhibition and the crafting of accompanying texts. The ShowOFF Section has featured the debuts of artists including Michał Łuczak, Łukasz Rusznica, Diana Lelonek, Lena Dobrowolska, Weronika Gęsicka, Valeria Cherchi, Zosia Promińska, and last year’s laureate, Oktawian Jurczykowski, who followed up his ShowOFF appearance by presenting his project at the Wrocław TIFF festival soon after. These artists’ careers demonstrate that the mentoring aspect of ShowOFF at the trailhead of an artist’s path is integral toward catalysing subsequent success.

PORTFOLIO REVIEW

The Portfolio Review is an opportunity for novice creators to submit their work for evaluation by eminent specialists in the form of a series of one-on-one meetings. Every year, nearly one hundred candidates apply to participate in the Portfolio Review, with the top thirty being selected. Each participant chooses several reviewers with whom he or she would like to talk face to face. In 2020, the Portfolio Review was for the first time organised online, in cooperation with the Fotofestiwal in Łódź. Its laureates were Marta Bogdańska with her project Shifters, which will be presented during Photomonth 2021; and Sebastian Collett with Ghost Man, which will be exhibited at the 2021 Fotofestiwal in Łódź. The winners of the previous editions of the Portfolio Review are: Weronika Perłowska (Anger Detracts from Her Beauty, 2019), Valentyn Odnoviun (Surveillance, 2018), Wiktor Dąbkowski (Flirtation Cards, 2017), Wiktoria Wojciechowska (Sparks, 2016), and Bogusław Madej (SP9DGO, 2015).

VOLUNTEERING AT PHOTOMONTH

For nineteen years, the festival has welcomed the invaluable cooperation of hundreds of volunteers. In turn, the experience provides young photography enthusiasts with the opportunity to develop experience across various fields, from technical work during the assembly of exhibitions, to the nurturing of artistic passions and development of photographic skills, to working together in a group. Each year, more than 200 volunteers help make Krakow Photomonth a reality!

ACCOMPANYING EVENTS

Events accompanying the exhibitions presented during Krakow Photomonth include meetings, presentations, and discussions divided into several thematic sections, featuring artists and curators as well as researchers of novel forms of communication, writers, psychologists, philosophers, cultural scientists, mythologists, and futurologists. In 2020, MFK’s collective dialogue ranged in subject from photography in the face of disaster to the documentary and rebellion to conversations about collaboration, self-help, and art as a tool for resistance and catalysing change. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these events took the form of online lectures, visual essays, discussions, and podcasts.

KRAKOW PHOTO FRINGE

Krakow Photo Fringe is a democratic platform that brings together grass-roots initiatives focused around the mediums of photography and video. Exhibitions, meetings, workshops, and actions are organised by artists and creative collectives, as well as galleries, cafes, community centres, and libraries both in Krakow and throughout Małopolska province. As per tradition, Fringe 2020 was held in parallel with Krakow Photomonth.