Discovering, supporting and engaging with new photographers and practice is a key part of my job as gallery director. I visit as many international institutions and events as I can and always return from research trips so optimistic about the future of photography and excited by what is happening, not just in Europe and the US but further afield. Here is some of the best of what is happening around the world:
Foam and Huis Marseille, Amsterdam
Definitely one of the richest and most rewarding cities when it comes to photography, with two dedicated spaces, Foam and Huis Marseille, within a few hundred metres of each other on the Keizersgracht. If you visit in mid-September, you will catch the Unseen photo festival, aimed at first-time collectors, which for many insiders is the best loved of all the fairs, known both for its intimacy and strong curatorial agenda.
In early summer, the historic Polish town of Kraków becomes the focus for a vibrant biannual photo festival, which pops up in warehouses, museums and heritage sites across the city. Founded in 2000, it combines the best opening parties, challenging exhibitions and the most rigorous talks and events programme.
Photo and Offprint, Paris
Top of the photo fair pecking order remains Paris Photo, hosted in the magnificent Grand Palais every November. In 48 hours, you can educate your eye and buy your first print. Just a mile away is also Offprint book fair, where serious photography bibliophiles hang out and you can discover the latest new talent.
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich, and Festival Images, Vevey, Switzerland
With its reputation for well-funded photography institutions (and some of the best photo schools in the world), Switzerland is high on the list for photography must-sees. Celebrating its 25th birthday this year, Fotomuseum Winterthur, outside Zurich, never fails to impress. On the other side of the country, in the picturesque lakeside town of Vevey, the biennial Festival Images is a dynamic open-air fair.
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
The immaculate design of architect David Chipperfield’s new extension to this institution presents a flawless foil for the presentation of both historical and contemporary photographers. Also remarkable is the fact that its permanent collection is vast and has been ahead of the curve in focusing on female artists for the past 40 years.
SFMOMA and Pier 24, San Francisco
In the US, San Fran might arguably be the best place for photography at the moment. With the recent explosion of new or re-energised photo venues such as SFMOMA, where the arrival of Pompidou curator Clément Chéroux has ensured the continuation of a strong programme of shows. There is also a special opportunity to visit Pier 24, a privately funded space located on Embarcadero, which houses the Pilara Foundation’s collection. Be prepared to see shows here that are always curated in a highly original way. (Tickets must be booked ahead online.)
Aipad, ICP and Aperture, New York
Of course, the city where the first photo gallery, Alfred Steiglitz’s 291, was founded in 1905 remains a vibrant hub for photography. From Aipad (the collectors’ fair in April) to the International Center of Photography and the Aperture Foundation, there is so much on offer, with constant education programmes for those who aspire to learn more.
Where would we all be without FotoFest, the grandaddy of all festivals? Set up in 1983 by Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin, this biennial festival in March spreads its wings across the city with a range of events, exhibitions and well-respected portfolio reviews.
Organ Vida, Zagreb, and Fotopub, Novo Mesto, Slovenia
With imagination and flair, Organ Vida and Fotopub parallel the recent rise in popularity of music festivals in central Europe – they both have their pulse on current debates and articulate themes in inventive ways.
Lianzhou Museum of Photography, China
Opened in November 2017, the Lianzhou Photography Museum was designed by a young Guangzhou architectural practice, O-office, and is the first state-funded photography museum in China. Alongside handsome exhibition spaces, a lecture theatre and library, there is a core collection developed over the past decade by Duan Yuting, the organiser of the Lianzhou Foto festival, founded in 2005, which runs every November.