The international jury selected the best entries out of more than 100 submissions and presented Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards at the gala at Nordlicht in Vienna. Festival director Lois Lammerhuber was overjoyed to win this award – his third in a row for the photo festival, after Maecenas Niederösterreich and Maecenas Austria: “A wonderful recognition for a cultural event that presented the biggest European photo festival for four months in a vast open-air gallery in Baden bei Wien.” Silvia Lammerhuber, managing director of partner agency Edition Lammerhuber, was enthusiastic about the opportunity “the photo festival offers to acquaint the wider public with hot topics of social and political relevance through the medium of photography.”
The 11-strong jury looked especially for creativity, realization of concepts and aims, and overall impression – criteria perfectly represented by the concept of the festival:
- Public staging: 36 exhibitions, 2 000 photographs, up to 300 sqm in size, on a stretch of 4.5 kms. Public space is turned into a total work of art that unites photographic art with garden design.
- Theme: Relations between humans and the environment. The energy of the festival draws on two main aspects: geography and environment. First, the pictures highlight one country – in 2018, the photographs, mainly from African portrait studios, talk about the dreams of people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Second, longer-term reports tell us about moving relationships between humans and animals. By conveying in photographs urgent environmental issues as well as the beauty of our planet, the festival stands for the human desire for peace and the good life.
- High quality of the exhibitions: The world’s best photographers present fascinating imagery and invite the visitors to engage with all their senses with challenging themes of our times.
- Free entry: This allows a wider public barrier-free access to photographic art and themes of social relevance.
- Schools programme: Schools in Lower Austria become part of the festival by producing pictures for one of the exhibitions.
- Ancillary programme: Events throughout the four months of the festival take the form of conversations with artists, workshops, theatre productions and guided tours through the exhibitions. These events enhance the approach of visitors to photography and to the festival themes.
- EU-political dimension: From the cooperation between the city of Baden, situated on the eastern rim of Central Europe, and the photo festival in La Gacilly, situated on the western rim of Brittany, a pan-European spirit and joint effort emerges.
The festival will be held annually, in cooperation with the Festival La Gacilly Photo. with a different theme each year and currently envisaged for five years.