This year’s edition of the international Antwerp Photo Festival covers a variety of photographic styles, from personal up-close portraits to experimental and controversial works, produced by newly discovered photographers as well as household names.
Visitors are recommended to set aside a few hours for their visit since the exhibition is spread over three floors of Antwerp’s historic Pilotage Building, between the river Scheldt and the MAS.
Until 26 September, the second AntwerpPhoto Festival will showcase what the world of photography has to offer in a Covid-proof setting. Visitors have to reserve their spot in advance.
The festival prominently features the work of this year’s winner of the Prix Carmignac – a world-renowned French prize for photojournalism centred around human rights – Finbarr O’Reilly.
O’Reilly’s ‘Congo in Conversation’ series includes the work of a variety of Congolese photographers and journalists and was created during the pandemic.
Following the arrows, the festival also highlights the photos of the recent graduates from St Lucas Antwerp.
The work of Jimmy Kets, the well-known press photographer from De Standaard, is displayed on the ground floor. The festival provides a video where Kets describes his experiences during his 20-year career as a photographer.
The last exhibition named Iconobelge honours Belgian photographers from different age categories and focuses on portraits.
Another photographer showcased during this year’s exhibition is Erwin Olaf, a Dutch photographer whose career has spanned across 40 years, and who is known for his controversial work that reflects on society.
Olaf’s work in Antwerp was inspired by his own anxiety during the pandemic.
“For weeks I felt afraid and powerless, like a meaningless extra in a scary movie without end. Looted by hoarders, the empty supermarket shelves made me realise that I thought there would always be an abundance of everything,” he said.
His work sheds a light on our current society and the marginalised people living in it, including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.