Reggio Emilia presents the Fotografia Europea festival

Untitled, Reggio Emilia, 2013, from the -Blues Brothers- series, Inkjet prints © Esko Männikkö

 BOLOGNA -- Change is everywhere- We see it in society, technology, politics, nature, and photography, which not only observes the changes in reality but also changes along with it. This is the theme of the 8th edition of Fotografia Europea ( The festival has become a point of reference in the panorama of national and international photography events, and this year – even more than in past seasons – its reach extends beyond the borders of Europe, with an approach that is more global and contemporary. "Reality is constantly changing and is always farther ahead,” said the mayor of Reggio Emilia Graziano Delrio. “The thing that is hard to change is the way we see the reality, our ability to interpret it and respond accordingly. Once again this year, Fotografia Europea brings us to confront a very topical issue on an artistic and philosophical level. Photography can indeed help our eyes to grasp that which we do not normally see."

Promoted by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, the festival opened a full weekend of conferences, performances, screenings, performances, and workshops (almost all free) featuring guest writers, philosophers, musicians, journalists, and art critics, and accompanying the inauguration of the exhibitions. The exhibitions will be shown through Sunday, 16th June and are divided into four thematic streams related to change designated by four key words: estrangement, faith, surprise and vision.

The estrangement of a photograph is not only the witness but also the protagonist of change, seen through the "illuminating" shots of Japanese artist Rinko Kawauchi, the challenge of time by French photographer Philippe Chancel (who returned to places like Fukushima and Kabul after they were out of the media spotlight), and the eccentric side of people revealed by British photographer David Stewart.

Faith in the change of the self, the guiding thread of the exhibitions Vita Nova (images by Evan Baden, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Louis Gariglio, Paul Graham, Lise Sarfati, Hannah Starkey, Hellen van Meene, Raimond Wouda, Tobias Zielony), Rock Stars with celebrities immortalised by Mick Rock, To Belong by Anders Petersen on places in Emilia affected by the earthquake, and the Reggio Children and Speciale diciottoventicinque projects.

Surprise in recognizing change in surreal projects like The Afronauts by Cristina De Middel, in spectres of past mistakes not to be repeated in the future (Chernobyl as depicted by Sergey Shestakov), in the enigmatic relationship between a mother and daughter (Viktoria Sorochinski), in the desire for evasion (Lucia Ganieva), and in the kitschy dreams of the nouveau riche (Tim Parchikov). Or even in the transformations of industry (GD4 PhotoArt) and in the courage of bringing a centuries-old structure back to life through modern technique (Alessandro Rizzi on the Teatro Sociale of Gualtieri), the surprise in the face of crime stories and street life (Weegee, aka Arthur Fellig).

And finally vision as a way to initiate change. From a Finnish artist who was commissioned by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia to investigate various aspects of the Emilia context (Esko Männikkö), to an Italian photographer who conducts experiments in the Nordic seas (Andrea Galvani); from a series of photographs that switch off the lights of metropolises to rediscover the light of the stars above them (Thierry Cohen), to a project that documents the work of "space" scientists  (Stefano D'Amadio). Then to return to Earth and recover the charm of oriental exoticism in the exhibition of the collection of Ambassador Alberto and Maria Pansa at the Panizzi Library, or to revisit, through the change of the photographic view, the changes in Italian society in the major tribute to Carla Cerati.

The 2013 edition offers an even richer array of exhibitions than in previous years. A total of 390 exhibitions are presented as part of the festival in the city but also in a number of municipalities in the province: 21 institutional exhibitions, 83 exhibitions included in the collateral circuit, 166 in the Off circuit, and 120 Online Portfolios that present virtual exhibitions of Italian and European photographers.

The locations are numerous as well. The institutional exhibitions are hosted in the most prestigious areas of the city, such as the Panizzi Library, the Cloisters of San Domenico, the Cloisters of St. Peter, the Galleria Parmeggiani, Palazzo Casotti, Palazzo Magnani, the Synagogue, Spazio Gerra, and the Prampolini, San Prospero and Casotti town squares will serve as backdrops for events. Other sites designated for meetings and exhibitions include the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, Cinema Al Corso, the Achille Peri Music Institute, the Officina delle Arti and the University of Modena and Reggio. There is also a new circuit that joins the others and enriches the opportunities for getting to know the city, including the Atelier Viaduegobbitre, the almoner houses in Via Fontanelli, the churches of San Filippo and San Carlo, the Cloister of the Ghiara, the Consorzio di Bonifica dell’Emilia Centrale, the Gabella in Via Emilia San Pietro, the Civic Museums, the Museum of the Capuchins, the Palazzo della Frumentaria, and the Palazzo della Prefettura.

The international dimension of the festival is also strengthened by the presence of representatives of the international VII Photo Agency, which held its Annual General Meeting in Reggio Emilia at the invitation of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and in collaboration with aBcM. The event falls within the context of HOST, a new satellite initiative of the festival featuring numerous activities involving one of the major photo agencies in the world.

By now a consolidated event, once again this year the festival is accompanied by the independent Off circuit, a parallel programme with meetings, projects, exhibitions and installations held in art galleries, cafes, restaurants, bookstores and in other sites of the city and province, culminating with X-Off, a photography contest launched to award the best projects of the city circuit.

Fotografia Europea , exhibitions till  June 16th, is organized by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia with the contribution of numerous curators. This year, participating curators Elio Grazioli, Walter Guadagnini, Laura Serani, Sandro Parmiggiani, Olga Sviblova, Studio Blanco and Laura Gasparini will be joined by Ilaria Campioli, Rossella Menegazzo, Marinella Paderni and Hiroshi Yano.