Helsinki Photo Festival 7.7.-30.9.2020

“Helsinki Photo Festival continues to celebrate excellence in contemporary photography. The Festival’s admirable determination to connect curators, artists and photography enthusiasts in Helsinki despite the current difficulties and restrictions imposed by Covid-19 crisis is truly impressive. I came to the process of selection with the strong belief that the very best photography always has something important to say – no matter how apparently abstract or ‘difficult’ the subject matter. I am pleased to say that I found this quality again and again in the work that I reviewed. I was happy to be able to see great variation of professional and photo enthusiasts’ works alike and discover new talents who I hope to meet in due course. There were some real treats to anticipate here. I look forward to seeing the exhibitions and wish the organisers all the best wishes for their great effort in this challenging time.” Fariba Farshad, Curator & Founder, Candlestar / Photo London

Despite the growing wave of event cancellations, affecting the cultural scene all over the world, the Helphoto team is proud to present to the public a third edition of their international visual arts event, Helsinki Photo Festival 2020. The festival, organized from July 7th to September 30th, will attract photo enthusiasts to exhibitions of 58 international and Nordic photographers spread all over the City of Helsinki. The theme for the festival is Trust, a vital cornerstone for every society given the challenging times the world has been facing throughout 2020.

The main outdoor exhibition hub in 2020 is to be set up on the premises of The National Museum of Finland. First-of-its-kind, modular exhibition stands will be displaying curated images of the most popular works of the festival’s open call winners on the walls surrounding the museum’s courtyard park on Museokatu and Töölönkatu. In addition, the museum’s summer yard will be featuring emerging Finnish and Nordic photographers in The Nordic Village. Other outdoor installations, accessible day and night, can be enjoyed in parks and waterfronts around Helsinki.

In collaboration with JCDecaux Finland, Helsinki Photo Festival 2020 will showcase a digital photographic art exhibition, a concept not yet explored in Finland, with images of all of the annual open call winners, including the festival’s solo exhibition guest artist, Florence Montmare. The multimedia exhibition (7.7 – 31.7) will take over digital billboards installed at bus, train and tram stops, from the morning to the evening time, in downtown Helsinki on streets such as Mikonkatu, Aleksanterinkatu, Mannerheimintie, Kaisaniemi, Kauppatori, Lasipalatsi, the Helsinki Central Station and many more. A general ad will also power the festival exhibitions and events throughout the whole metropolitan area of Helsinki in the month of July. 

As for the solo exhibitions, Helsinki Photo Festival 2020 will introduce a Swedish-American  visual artist Florence Montmare with her homage to Ingmar Bergman, Scenes from an Island (7.7 – 30.9). The curated exhibition will be set up in the southern side of the summer yard of The National Museum of Finland and can be visited daily from 6am-9pm. The second solo exhibition Europastrasse by an Austrian photographer Otto Hainzl (16.7 – 16.8) will be held in Korjaamo’s Vaunusali and can be visited daily from 11-5pm. 

The annual major exhibition of Helsinki Photo Festival will be set up in Vaunusali in the Korjaamo Culture Factory in Töölö (16.7 – 16.8). The vernissage will be held on July 16th from 3-5pm. In collaboration with the Cultural Center Stoa, 16 finalists of the theme Trust will be exhibited at the Balcony Gallery (15.7 – 30.8) in Itäkeskus (East Helsinki). Indonesian award winning photographer Dilla Djalil Daniel (b. 1966), open call finalist at Helsinki Photo Festival in 2018 and 2020 is set to have a fundraiser solo exhibition in the Klaus K hotel lobby August 14th – September 30th with her touching pictures of homeless orangutans that have inspired protectors of endangered species all around the world. 

All of Helsinki Photo Festival’s theory and pedagogy events are to be held at the National Museum of Finland. Portfolio Reviews will be organized with international and domestic experts August 28-29th. Master class workshops are set for August 24-26 with a Norwegian photographer Stig Marlon Weston plus guests and September 2-3 with a Barcelona based curator Moritz Neumüller. One of the festival’s highlights are the Helphoto seminars, scheduled for September 4th and 10th (12-3pm). Accomplished Finnish photographer Elina Brotherus (b.1972) meets with celebrated talent Svante Gullichsen (b.1994) on September 4 and the two will talk about their works and approaches in photography. On September 10, two of the most experienced and celebrated photographers, a Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen (b. 1945) and a Finnish photographic artist Stefan Bremer (b. 1953) will talk about their 3 decades of artist career and photographic education. Also, during the months of August and September, an accomplished American photographer Curt Richter (15.8. and 12.9.) will lead a few workshops on “Portrait Photography / Basic Lighting and Techniques”. Other events will be added and can be found in the photo events section of the official website of Helsinki Photo Festival. 

“We, at the Helsinki Photo Festival association, aim to make Helsinki the new photo capital of the North! We are very proud of this third edition of our annual festival to have strong and sovereign partners, international experts and supporters helping us to accelerate this vision and to enrich the visual culture scene in Finland,” says artistic director Rafael Rybczynski.


Helsinki Photo Festival 2020 is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Education, Stiftelsen Tre Smeder and the City of Helsinki.

Austrian artists and experts are supported by the Austrian Embassy of Helsinki. Norwegian experts are supported by The Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation and Danish experts by The Finnish-Danish Cultural Foundation.


Links to published articles:
YLE News / Finnish National Broadcaster
The Guardian:
City of Helsinki:
The National Museum of Finland:
This is Finland:
Leica Fotografie International:
British Medical Journal / BMJ
The Eye of Photography:
The New Indian Express