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  • Talma Gotteiner

PHOTO IS:RAEL - The 8th Annual International Photography Festival ONLINE

Hi there,

The Eighth Annual Photography Festival will be opened this year in a festive online event on Nov 9th, 2020 at 20:00 with guest of honor, the legendary photographer Martin Parr (UK).

The International Photography Festival is the largest photography event in Israel. It is being held this year for the eighth time. The festival has long since become a well-known art institution that receives tens of thousands of visitors at its gates every year.

During the online festive event, Parr will discuss his extensive work in the field of photography in the UK (and beyond) over the past fifty years, while touching on his work as curator and editor of photography books, and the process of establishing the Martin Parr Institute in Bristol. The event will be held in collaboration with the British Embassy and the British Ambassador in Israel.

This opening event will be the opening shot of an exciting, large-scale free online program that will run until Nov 17th, 2020. The program, which is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be a professional platform for a meeting among photographers, artists, creators, curators and directors of cultural institutions from Israel and around the world. The online program will include lectures, panels, and artist talks – all of which will be open to the general public and free of charge and can be accessed by pre-registering on the festival website.

Additionally, the winner of the The Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography will be announced at a gala event as part of the online program during the Festival.

PHOTO IS:RAEL  -  The 8th Annual International Photography Festival ONLINE
Credit: Jonas Bendiksen

WHEN: November 9 - November 21, 2020, FREE OF CHARGE

Founder and Artistic Director - Eyal Landsman

Chief Curator - Mia Anner

Jonas Bendiksen – Norway; Diana Markosian – USA; Rafal Milach – Poland; Nadav Kender - UK and dozens of other exhibitions and artists from around the world, accompanied by a rich online program with top notch speakers in the field of photography

Partners: Tel Aviv Municipality, Kikar Hamediana towers, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, Embassy of Colombia, Romanian Institute of Culture, Institute of Culture of Lithuania, Italian Institute, US Embassy, ​​Norwegian Embassy, ​​Russian Cultural Center, Embassy of Switzerland, Embassy of Argentina, Capa Center for Photography - Hungary,The Spanish Embassy, Embassy of The United Kingdom, the Meitar Family Foundation, HP, Enosh, JDC Israel, the Horowitz Foundation, Bank Leumi, Adma Agan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ehrlich, Lupe, Artik, Canon, Degorla,Glitz and many more.

The Festival’s theme, which was selected before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, is Change/Transformation.

At the upcoming Festival, the terms change and transformation will be examined from a variety of angles, interpretations, and original ways in which they can be represented in photography or other media. The Festival itself has also changed in terms of structure and design this year, and will be presented as a large-scale outdoor exhibition at Kikar HaMedina, Tel Aviv.


A Solo Exhibition by Photographer Jonas Bendiksen (Norway)

Jonas Bendiksen is a Magnum photographer and former Magnum agency president. He is one of the most important photographers of our time and has won many international photography awards. The festival will present his latest award-winning project, The Last Testament, in which he documented seven men from around the world who believe that they are the incarnation of Messiah. In collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy in Israel

A Solo Exhibition by Photographer Diana Markosian (Russia-USA)

Diana Markosian is a young and promising photographer of Armenian descent. She is active in the field of documentary photography, writing and film, and her works have been published in the best magazines in the world, including The New York Times, The New Yorker and National Geographic. In her exhibition, Markosian will present an important and exciting project titled 1915, in which she traced the memories of the survivors of the Armenian massacre 100 years after it took place. During the Festival and the exhibition, Markosian will hold special online events for Arab and Jewish students as part of PHOTO IS:RAEL's annual social activities. Markosian will also deliver a lecture to the general public as part of the online program. In collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America.

A Solo Exhibition by Photographer Rafal Milach (Poland)

Rafal Milach is a Magnum photographer and visual artist who has won numerous prestigious awards. He was a finalist in the prestigious 2018 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize competition, winner of the World Press photo competition and more. Milach’s artistic work deals with issues of protest and geopolitical changes in Eastern Europe. At the Festival, Milach will present a special installation created from his award-winning work, The Gentlemen of March First, which he adapted especially for the unique space of the Festival. Milach will hold an online event where he will talk about the project and other art projects as part of the festival.

An Exhibition Based on the Award-Winning Project and Photography Book ECHO by Maksymylian and Magdalena Rigamonti.

The couple, Maksymylian and Magdalena Rigamonti went on several trips to a place that no longer exists, in an attempt to document the abandoned historical area Volhynia, Ukraine, where life was full of villages and towns until the pogroms of 1943. This unique body of work incorporates an award- winning book that poetically captures the elusive echo of the past and focuses on the void. The book won the Best Book Award for 2018 in the Grand Press Photo competition, the POY competition and special commendation from the IPA. For the first time, the book will be uniquely adapted for outdoor exhibitions by Mia Anner, the chief curator of the International Photography Festival. The pair of creators will hold an online event where they will talk about the work process, the book and the transition to the exhibition as part of the Festival's online program. Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

A Solo Exhibition by Photographer Nadav Kender (UK)

At the festival, legendary photographer Nadav Kender will unveil new works that he created in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Kender, who grew up in South Africa and has been working in London for many years, is an award-winning photographer, recipient of the prestigious Prix Pictet. He has gained worldwide recognition thanks to a series of portraits and landscape photographs that he has exhibited at leading art institutions around the world, including the National Portrait Gallery, London, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Barbican Gallery, London etc.

Solo exhibition by the winner of the 2019 Meitar Prize for Excellence in Photography, Gloria Oyarzabal.

Gloria Oyarzabal was born in London in 1971 and currently lives and works in Madrid. Oyarzabal divides her time among making experimental and documentary filmmaking and photography. She was a co-founder of the independent cinema La Enana Marrón, which operated in Madrid from 1999- 2009. In the exhibition, Oyarzabal will present the series 'WOMAN GO NO'AGREE ' that was shot in Nigeria between 2017-2019. Through it, she explores the impact of colonialism on the concept of women, as well as the inability to make feminist discourse global. With the support of the Zvi and Ofra Meitar Foundation.

The Lonka Project

This exhibition launches a new collaboration between PHOTO IS:RAEL and the Lonka Project. The exhibition will feature selected photographs from the large-scale documentary project conceived by the pair of photographers Rina Castelnovo and Jim Hollander. The project is designed to document Holocaust survivors from around the world. Two-hundred and fifty photographers, including the world's top photographers, were asked to capture, in a single image, a portrait of Holocaust survivors in the countries in which they live and work. In this ongoing project, during 2019 alone, Holocaust survivors from 24 different countries were photographed. Some of the photographers taking part in the Lonka project will participate in an online event as part of the international program that will take place concurrently with the Festival.


The Festival's main theme exhibition, will present the participants that were selected from the 2020 open call. About 800 artists from 54 different countries responded to the open call that the Festival published this year, on the subject of transformation. From among all of the applicants, the Festival’s artistic committee selected 20 artists to present a variety of original interpretations of the term transformation through photography and video.

The Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography Finalists’ Exhibition

The Meitar Award, which is the result of a collaboration between PHOTO IS:RAEL and the Zvi and Ofra Meitar Family Foundation, was awarded this year, for the fifth year in a row, to an artist whose body of work demonstrates originality and excellence in photography.

The judging process was carried out by a panel of judges that includes leading professionals in their field from around the world. Among the judges are: David Adika, photographer and head of the photography department at Bezalel; Gazgosh Kosmela, founder and CEO of BLOW UP PRESS Publishing (Poland); Rivka Sacker, chairwoman of Sotheby's Israel, and founder and chairwoman of ARTIS; Dafna Meitar Nehamad (Zvi and Ofra Meitar Foundation); Mia Benton, curator, historian and lecturer on the history of photography at Yale University, Michael Benson Founder and CEO, Photo London; Esteban Virgagbulgi Curator, Photography Editor and Secretary of the Capa Prize for Photography, Robert Capa Center, Hungary; Dr . Susan Bright, Curator and Writer in the field of Photography, France/UK; Miriam Koiman, researcher, writer and curator at the Foam Museum of Photography, Amsterdam; Christoph Kendrowicz, Curator and Researcher, Lodge Photography Festival, Poland and the Photography Biennale in Porto, Portugal.

This year's exhibition presents 20 bodies of works of finalists that the jury selected anonymously from approximately 500 bodies of work submitted from 47 countries. The judging panel sought excellence in the field of photography with an emphasis on quality, originality and potential for creating a body of work for a book.

The winner of the award will be announced at a gala event as part of the online program during the Festival. This year we came out with a unique edition for the prize: a prize worth $20,000 for publishing a professional photo book, which will be published by BLOW UP PRESS, a boutique Polish photo book publishing house.

Social Outreach Program Exhibitions

This year’s Festival will also feature social exhibitions that are a result of PHOTO IS:RAEL’s social activity over the past year among about 450 teenagers and adults from all over Israel. The participants, who come from a variety of communities on the fringes of society, photograph themselves and make their voices heard in order to promote a change in Israeli society's attitude toward underprivileged groups. Ninety-five exhibitions that are the products of PHOTO IS: RAEL’s social activity allow voices that are not heard generally in the public discourse, to move to the front of the stage, and encourage the participants to adopt an active position. Curators: Ora and Amir Ben Yoram Dori.

A large-scale exhibition will present the social project "Photographed Connection" in detail. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the PHOTO IS:RAEL organization has been operating a unique and groundbreaking empowerment program for the senior citizen population. The goal of the program is to alleviate the loneliness and create a supportive system of online communities for the elderly who have been left isolated and disconnected from their normal flow of life and routine.

The Festival will present the fruits of the activity that has been taking place since April 2020 in about 80 online communities comprising a total of approximately 1200 elderly people. The senior citizens shoot pictures on their own and make their voices heard through the language of photography. These online senior communities are guided by dozens of volunteer facilitators, who have passed training dedicated for the project. In a process that is both collective and individual, the project facilitators make certain that all of the participants possess the resources and technological knowledge to take part in the activity, with the aim of promoting connection with their family and their immediate community.

Solo Exhibitions by Prominent International Artists

  • Eddo Hartman (Netherlands) deals with photographic documentation of academic research, thus exploring the boundaries between art and science. In collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands.

  • Francesco Faraci (Italy) in a touching project on changes in Sicily's population in recent years. In collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture.

  • Daniel Szalai (Hungary) in a unique project focusing on complex human-animal relations, and their socio-political and economic implications. In collaboration with the Kappa Photography Center, Hungary and the Hungarian Embassy.

  • Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer (Switzerland) in a large-scale project on the impact of climate change on different populations around the world. In collaboration with the Swiss Embassy.

  • Ieva Baltaduonytė (Lithuania) in a project focusing on immigrant women. In collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Lithuania.

  • Petrut Calinescu (Romania) in a project about the changes over the years reflected through the Black Sea and the people who frequent it. In collaboration with the Romanian Institute of Culture.

  • Jorge Gamboa (Colombia) Fascinating documentation of ancient tribes still active in the Columbia Mountains. In collaboration with the Columbian Embassy.

  • Stefanie Moshamer (Austria) a promising young artist in a contemporary installation she created especially for this year’s Festival. In collaboration with the Cultural Forum of Austria.

  • Olya Pegova (Russia) in an interesting project on urban change. In collaboration with the Russian Cultural Center.

  • Oskar Alvarado (Spain) with a new gaze on his childhood village, combining memories subjective experiences and dreams. In collaboration with the Spanish Embassy.

Online Festival Program

Given the current “closed sky” limitations, we offer the general public a rich, online program that will provide a platform for speakers from around the world. The program, which is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be a professional platform for a meeting among artists, curators and directors of cultural institutions from Israel and around the world.

British photographer Martin Parr (England) is the guest of honor at the 2020 Festival and his lecture will open the Festival's online program. The lecture will deal with the changes that have taken place in Britain and British identity during the four decades in which he has been documenting society in England, and especially in the wake of the Brexit. Parr will talk about the processes that characterize his artistic endeavors over the years, and will also reveal recent projects he created during the COVID-19 epidemic. Parr (b. 1952) is one of the most important photographers of our time, a Magnum photographer for about 25 years and a former Magnum president. He has published about 120 photo books with his work and edited about 30 books himself. His exhibitions have been shown in museums and cultural institutions around the world.

Details regarding the online program will be available on the festival website.

The International Photography Festival is held on the initiative of PHOTO IS:RAEL, a non-profit public benefit company. The company was established in 2012 to realize our vision of "a better society using the language of photography," by promoting social action and outreach and creating dialogue between art and various communities across Israel. Since its formation, the company has offered platforms for exhibition and research and has spotlighted artistic and social topics through the language of photography.

Special Collaborations

  • Virtual tour and additional experience and content digital layers in collaboration with Degorla. Degorla is an innovative digital platform in the field of art that allows anyone to create and simulate artworks and exhibitions in private spaces with VR & AR technologies using the mobile phone camera.

  • Epos – culture and art film festival will collaborate for the first time with PHOTO IS:RAEL with an online screening of the film “Vision Portraits” by Rodney Evans featuring 4 artist dealing with blindness.

  • Canon talks - Online events with Canon experts on the festivals online content program

  • Collaboration with the Central Library for the Blind and visually impaired creating an audio guide to provide visually impaired visitors accessibility to the festivals’ exhibitions.

ONLINE EVENT REGISTRATION: Pre-registration to online events is free of charge and will take place on the festival website.

URBAN EXHIBITION: At Kikar HaMedina, Tel-Aviv.

The visit to the urban exhibition is open to the public at large and is free of charge. Accessible audio for the visually impaired will be available by scanning barcodes throughout the exhibition.

In addition, various guided tours will take place in accordance with the Ministry of Health's limitations and will require purchasing of tickets.



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