PHOTO 2022 will be Melbourne’s biggest ever photography festival – Beat Magazine

PHOTO 2022 is Australia’s most important photography biennale and it’s bringing 90 exhibitions and outdoor artworks to Melbourne’s streets and galleries from April 29 to May 22.

The PHOTO 2022 festival is the must-attend event of the year for Melburnian photography enthusiasts, and these days, who isn’t obsessed with capturing the perfect image?

This year, the raw numbers communicate the festival’s huge sheer scale, celebrating 123 local and international artists and photographers across 90 exhibitions, with 50 world premieres and 24 specially commissioned projects. Given the size of the event, PHOTO 2022 is focused on five festival precincts for people to explore: Town Hall, Parliament, the Yarra River, State Library, and the admittedly incredibly broad suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood.

What you need to know

  • PHOTO 2022 festival runs from April 29 to May 22.
  • The huge event features 90 exhibitions and outdoor artworks
  • Entry to almost all exhibitions and talks are free

Keep up to date with Melbourne’s latest art events, exhibitions and performances here.

The festival’s aim is to showcase the artistic and ideological potential of photography through a range of events that tick pretty much every box. There’ll be large-scale outdoor installations at iconic and unexpected sites across Melbourne, expertly curated exhibitions at 38 galleries including ACMI and NGV Australia, and thought-provoking events and education programs.

PHOTO 2022’s theme ‘Being Human’ epitomises the grand notions. Expect ideas to be represented and challenged across a global spectrum with works specifically aimed at science, psychology, sociology, technology, current affairs and a whole host of others. It’ll be hard to find a more all encompassing artistic festival with something for everyone this year.

If you’re already a connossiuer of sorts, then the lineup may excite you; PHOTO 2022 will feature exclusive Australian exhibitions by Gillian Wearing (UK), Paul Mpagi Sepuya (US), Mohamed Bourouissa (DZ/FR), Poulomi Basu (IN), Vasantha Yogananthan (FR), Aziz Hazara (AF), Martine Gutierrez (US), Massimo Vitali (IT), Florian Hetz (DE), Philip Montgomery (MX/US) and Luo Yang (CN), amongst others; as well as new commissions by renowned and up and coming Australian artists such as Atong Atem, Naomi Hobson, Dean Cross, Ying Ang, Hannah Brontë, Scotty So, Madeline Bishop, Anu Kumar and Patrick Pound.

PHOTO 2022 event highlights

  • Large-scale lightboxes along Southbank Promenade
  • A photography and sound installation in the former courtyard of the Old Melbourne Gaol
  • Documenting a community from the ages of 0 to 100 over 100 metres of Metro Tunnel
  • The first exhibition of Hoda Afshar’s critically-acclaimed project Speak the wind at Monash Gallery of Art
  • Exhibitions by local and international queer photographers at various locations
  • The world premiere of Ross McDonnell’s project made in collaboration with the ‘Lost Boys of Afghanistan’
  • Portraits of Kulin Nation Elders by James Henry displayed on the steps of Old Treasury Building
  • PHOTO 2022’s showcase of emerging talent: New Photographers
  • The festival’s largest individual artwork at Fed Square celebrating Cindy Sherman
  • HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus, celebrating the prominent and provocative fashion photographer

Elias Redstone, Artistic Director of PHOTO 2022, said the festival will meet the huge demand in Melbourne for photographic events and exhibitions.

“PHOTO 2022 is the biennale Melbourne has been waiting for, embedding ambitious artworks into the very fabric of the city and creating unique experiences for audiences at some of our most famous landmarks,” Redstone said.

“A trail of 40 outdoor displays across the city combined with commissioned work and exclusive exhibitions offer a unique art experience for audiences. Responding to the theme ‘Being Human’, PHOTO 2022 showcases both the big topics and minutiae of the human experience, with work that creates moments of awe and wonder at the beauty and complexity of life today.”

“From contemporary artists to street photographers, PHOTO 2022 is an opportunity for people to be inspired by photography as an art form and to question the role it plays in our everyday lives,” Mark Henry, Chair of Photo Australia, continued.

“We are proud to be supporting the sector in Australia through commissioning artists and raising the profile of Melbourne as a global city of photography. It is also a time to collect photography, with the city’s leading commercial galleries premiering new work by Australian artists.”

Entry to PHOTO 2022 is free, excluding the HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus exhibition, for which tickets go on sale from 31 March. Headline talks program PHOTO Live and the Photobook Weekend are free. Precinct and Cycle Tours are $10 and Collector Tours are $65.

Head to their website here for all the information.