Festival of Political Photography 2019: Potentiality

The 2019 Festival of Political Photography explores the capacity for collective imagination and the potential for action. It opposes the notion that things cannot be influenced, even though with information about climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the rise of racism, misogyny and the extreme right, it is easy to dismiss talk about imagination, hope and alternative possibilities as escapism.

The festival highlights photography projects that deal with smaller and larger changes, as well as alternative mindsets and lifestyles. Changes can be personal lifestyle choices, or they may aim for a more comprehensive reform of the structures of society or economic power. The projects suggest an ethical imagination, which enables us to question existing structures. Hope is a state of mind that enables us to imagine the world as it should be, and not as we are made to believe it is.

Photographs never simply represent things or people, but the information they convey is a complex combination of possibilities, circumstances, viewing and showing conventions, power, subordination and empathy. Viewers are also required to have an ethical understanding that they are not outside the circumstances that made the photography and the photograph possible. Viewers are required to interpret, combine facts and – above all – imagine.

The photographers, artists and other creators of the 2019 Festival of Political Photography: Laia Abril, Darya Apakhonchich, Airin Bahmani, Aslan Gaisumov, Pekka Elomaa and the Lyhty team, Touko Hujanen, Ella Kiviniemi & Linda Manner, Patrik Rastenberger & Sergio Prudant, Sanni Seppo & Ritva Kovalainen & Ville Tanttu, Kurt Tong, and the curators of The Winds of exhibition, Nayab Ikram and Ramina Habibollah, and the artists Baran Caginli, Jeannette Ehlers, Mi Tjio and Uwa Iduozee.

Extending beyond the Finnish Museum of Photography, the 2019 Festival of Political Photography will feature exhibitions and other events at Stoa cultural centre and Pertti's Choice Outsider Art Gallery.

The festival would like to thank its sponsors and partners: the City of Helsinki, Co-operative Tradeka, the Patricia Seppälä Foundation, Pertin Valinta - Sekotavarakauppa & Galleria, Stoa, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Finnish Museum of Photography, the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki


About us

Festival of Political Photography is a multidisciplinary event dedicated to politically conscious photography that encourages photographers, artists, researchers, and the general public to engage actively in social debate and make their voices heard on key issues facing our society. The Greek concept of politikos proceeds from the people – the word means 'for, of, or related to citizens' – and the festival echoes this. It issues a call to pay attention to the various networks of influence at individual-level, national, and global scale. The festival asks: How is our understanding of the world shaped by photographs? How can we use photographs to challenge the way we look at the world and how we see both things and the structures connecting them?

The festival programme features both the visual component, with exhibitions of photographic and multi-art-form projects, and a discussion programme. Long-term commitment and dedicated research, in particular, is emphasised in the individual projects. From 2019 onward, Festival of Political Photography will actively develop its role as a producer of multidisciplinary research in which photography is employed as a tool for visual research.

Festival of Political Photography is committed to promoting goals of sustainable social and cultural development. The festival expresses a particularly strong wish to draw attention to those photographers for whose work active social participation is central and to images that challenge the viewer's moral compass, ways of thinking, and values. All photographers and researchers participating in the festival, whatever their place of residence, take an international approach and together represent numerous cultural backgrounds. Special attention has been paid also to gender equality in development of the festival activities.

Festival of Political Photography is organised by the association Poliittisen valokuvan festivaali ry. The working group responsible for the festival consists of photographic artist Sanni Seppo; Professor Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, of the Academy of Fine Arts; Tiina Rauhala, who is a curator for the Finnish Museum of Photography; producer Ulla Kallakivi and producer and educational curator Laura Porola.

Supporters and partners

Festival of Political Photography is supported by: The Finnish Museum of Photography, Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki, Co-operative Tradeka, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Stoa, Patricia Seppälä Foundation, City of Helsinki, Svenska kulturfonden and Ikahu Media Art.


Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger

anna-kaisa.rastenberger (a) uniarts.fi 
+358 41 5141991

Artistic Director, Professor / Exhibition Studies and Spatiality, University of the Arts Helsinki

Sanni Seppo

sanni (a) pvf.fi 
+358 50 0185609

Artistic Director, Photographer

Tiina Rauhala

tiinara (a) fmp.fi
+358 50 5187619

Acting Chief Curator / The Finnish Museum of Photography

Ulla Kallakivi

ulla (a) pvf.fi
+358 50 3670801


Laura Porola

laura (a) pvf.fi  
+358 40 0795400

Educational Curator / The Finnish Museum of Photography


Please direct all media and press inquiries to

Reetta Haarajoki

reetta.haarajoki (a) fmp.fi

+35850 4009 041

Acting Curator / The Finnish Museum of Photography

Jaakko Laasanen

jaakko.laasanen (a) fmp.fi

+35840 6800 307

Communications Specialist / The Finnish Museum of Photography