Starting next week, San Francisco will add another event to its outstanding repertoire of annual festivals and fairs supporting artistic media. It’s the World Photography Festival (18-21 November), part of a new global series being launched by the World Photography Organization (WPO). I caught up with Creative Director Astrid Merget who was in Boston for the week to get the background on WPO and its growing network of yearly festivals celebrating the photographic industry.
The WPO was founded in 2007 in tandem with the Sony World Photography Awards, supporting and showcasing the many and diverse categories of Photojournalism, Fine Art and Commercial Photography. The very first World Photography Festival was held in Cannes that same year, and since that time the festivals have continued to expand around the world.
This year the festival has grown to include the City by the Bay, along with London, Shanghai and Sao Paolo. “Where the festivals are concerned, we’re looking for cities that exhibit a high demand in the market,” said Merget. “San Francisco’s photography community was especially welcoming and supportive,” she adds. “Once we started considering the possibilities, one contact would suggest another and the network just grew and expanded.” Left Space Studios in the Mission District—San Francisco’s largest studio, welcoming many photography events, workshops and shoots—will be hosting the San Francisco festival. Other special events and talks will be held in the Yerba Buena Neighborhood at SF Camerwork, a non-profit organization that encourages emerging and mid-career artists to explore new directions in photography and related media and that has partnered with WPO for the World Photography Festival.
Participants will have the chance to partake in talks, workshops, studio sessions and portfolio reviews with international and local experts, including Elliot Erwitt of Magnum Photos, founder of Fotovision Melanie Light, and San Francisco’s own Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice.
The World Photography Festival will commence Thursday evening 18 November with an opening event and an exciting showcase of the winning images from the 2010 Sony World Photography Awards, work from the World Photography Student Focus program, images from A Photo Pledge for Children’s Rights Award that will benefit UNICEF, the Lifetime Achievement exhibition awarded to Magnum photographer Eve Arnold, and a special selection of past U.S. winning and commended Sony World Photography Awards images. Tickets for the four-day event range from $30-105.00 and should be purchased in advance.