Kranj Foto Fest 2023: Open Call Winners Announced

by Maya Hristova


The highly anticipated third edition of the Kranj Foto Fest in Slovenia is set to captivate audiences from 23 August to 23 September 2023. The festival's Open Call, centered around the theme of Human – Nature, garnered an astonishing response, attracting 656 submissions from 90 countries across six continents. A prestigious jury, comprised of Bertan Selim, Dominique Hildebrand, Michael Famighetti, Michaela Bosáková, Barbara Čeferin, Ciril Jazbec, and Fernanda Prado Verčič, diligently evaluated the entries. After careful consideration, they selected 20 outstanding projects, including one winner, one special mention, and 18 shortlisted participants. The coveted winner title was awarded to Amina Kadous, a talented photographer from Egypt (born in 1991), for her remarkable series titled "White Gold." Additionally, Kaya & Blank, the collaborative duo consisting of Işık Kaya from Turkey (born in 1990) and Thomas Georg Blank from Germany (born in 1990), received a well-deserved special mention for their captivating series called Second Nature.

The festival promises to be a celebration of exceptional photography and an exploration of the complex relationship between humanity and the natural world. Other shortlisted artists who garnered recognition for their outstanding work include Andrej Polukord from Lithuania with her series Woodstatues, Tilyen Mucik from Slovenia with Seeds, Mustafa Bilge Satkin from Turkey with Drowned History, and Mitar Simikić from Bosnia and Herzegovina with Janja. These talented photographers made a significant impact with their thought-provoking projects, further enhancing the diverse and exceptional lineup of artists showcased at Kranj Foto Fest.

Additionally, Kranj Foto Fest has just come back home from another exciting collaboration in São Paulo, Brazil. The guest group exhibition Lar, um espaço de transição, curated by Prado Fernanda at Espaço Alto, featured a selection of nine works from the more than 40 works exhibited in the 2022 edition of the festival. Among the artists represented were Allan Salas (CR), Ana Šuligoj (SI), Camilla Marrese (IT), Gabriele Chiapparini (IT), Gleeson Paulino (BR), Katerina Kouzmitcheva (PL), Ludwig Nikulski (DE), M'hammed Kilito (UA/CA/MA), Mathias Benguigui (FR/CH), Agathe Kalfas (FR) and Matjaž Tančič (SI). The works on display explored the idea of ‘home’ as a transitional space, emphasizing the ways in which our lives and identities are shaped by the places we call home. It delved into demanding issues such as trauma caused by forced relocation, displacement due to climate change and armed conflicts, as well as intimate stories of photographers' experiences in the geographical and social spaces where they feel temporary, memories connected to home and family lands, and how childhood dreams and aspirations collide with reality in adulthood.



Kranj Foto Fest was established by curator and journalist Fernanda Prado Verčič during the pandemic in 2021, a time when people were redefining their notions of home, freedom and boundaries. Verčič, a highly experienced professional with over two decades of involvement in photography, plays a pivotal role in the industry. Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, Fernanda has been based in Kranj since 2011, where she has become a vital connector, bridging photographers with significant venues both locally and internationally. She possesses a particular affinity for documentary storytelling, seeking opportunities to showcase these narratives both in Latin American and Eastern European venues. Verčič's mission is to transform Kranj into a hub of photography, utilizing her expertise and passion to cultivate a vibrant and thriving photography scene in the city.  The festival converts the old town of Kranj into an outdoor gallery, with vacant windows serving as new frames and receiving new meanings. Kranj is a remarkable location to hold a photography festival, where medieval history intermingles with present and future innovation and creativity. Remarkably, it was also in Kranj that Janez Puhar, the first Slovenian photographer, invented a distinct procedure for reproducing photographs on glass back in 1842.


With the aim of showcasing, supporting, and advancing the works of Slovenian and international artists, the festival endeavors to create a robust and long-lasting platform for contemporary photography. In this corner of Europe, it transforms Kranj into a thrilling hub for modern photography by gathering emerging and established photographers from all around the world, while its international outlook and diverse pool of artists make this an event not to be missed. 


Espaço Alto Opened in 2022, Espaço Alto is located in the Armando Lara building (1916), a heritage-listed building in the heart of São Paulo. The architectural design is credited to Ramos de Azevedo, who also designed other iconic buildings, including the Municipal Theater. The building has made its mark in the history of the arts, as it hosted the controversial Week of Modern Art in 1922 and the Modern Painting Exhibition by Anita Malfatti in 1917.
Image: Amina Kadous, White Gold 


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