22 March 2019
11:59 PM


All Submitting photographers will benefit from:

  • Submission review by Photo Industry Professionals
  • Opportunities for Immediate Exposure (e.g. across festival / partner social networks and websites)

Between 20 and 40 photographers / artists will benefit from:

  • awards and cash prizes (See Awards listed below)
  • having their work produced by the Festival for exhibition
  • exhibition exposure at the Festival's main city centre gallery
  • exhibition exposure at the 2020 Photo Schweiz (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • inclusion in the special Festival issue of Abridged Magazine
  • longer term Festival representation and promotion
  • exhibition alongside some of the biggest photographic names as part of the major photographic event
  • publication and inclusion in the Festival programme
  • inclusion in the Festivals marketing & PR campaign, which has an estimated reach of 20+ million
  • international press exposure
  • being seen by a substantial number of visual arts professionals and the media
  • dedicated feature on the Festival website and online gallery
  • opportunities offered for exhibition and publication through festival partners
  • £20 reduction off the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival International Portfolio Review fee

Applicants will have their work viewed by an international panel of influential experts in the field of photography, plus have the opportunity to win awards and a significant cash prize.

Spotlight Award - €1,127 (est $1,286 / £1,000)

One Years Free RPS Membership - Free membership for one year to the prestigious Royal Photographic Society

GUP Editorial Award - Full editorial presentation in an upcoming printed/digital issue of GUP photography magazine

Abridged Editorial Award - Presentation in a special Festival issue of Abridged Magazine

All winners will have their work produced by the Festival for exhibition in the main Festival gallery and the 2020 Photo Schwiez (Zurich, Switzerland).


Having helped to launch so many photographers careers, the Open Submission of the international Belfast Photo Festival is back with more opportunities than ever before.

Being described as "One of the best photography festivals in the world" (Capture Magazine), the biennial Belfast Photo Festival provides a perfect platform for gaining exposure to an international audience, with previous editions having welcomed over 100,000 visitors from all over the world.

Belfast Photo Festival is offering artist's/photographers the opportunity to exhibit their work in the main Festival gallery alongside some of the biggest names in the field and have their work taken on tour to be exhibited at the 2020 Photo Schweiz (Zurich, Switzerland), with a number also having the opportunity to be featured in the arts magazine Abridged. The winners will be eligible for a number of awards, including a cash prize of €1,127 (est $1,286 / £1,000).

The theme has been left open to remove any restrictions; submissions must be photographic or lens-based but can include incorporations of other art forms with the photographic medium (i.e. performance, painting, sculpture, music, literature etc).

Individuals and collectives are welcome to apply; individuals should select and enter between 1-15 photographs from a particular project/series or body of work AND/OR submit their Photo-book for exhibition by providing a link to a single PDF (stored on for example: Google Drive or Dropbox)

(NOTE: You can submit both a photo-book and photographs of the same project, but an individual fee will need to be paid for both. If submitting only a Photo-book and not photographs, it will be your photo-book that will be selected for presentation and not photographic prints for exhibition)

Collectives are also welcome to apply; as a collective, you can submit up to 15 photographs (a €22 / €29 submission fee will apply for every 15 images submitted)


Call for entries open
30 November 2018
Submission deadline
22 March 2019
Artists Contacted
12 April 2019
Public Announcement of Selected Artists
15 April 2019
2019 Belfast Photo Festival Opening Weekend Start
6 June 2019
2019 Belfast Photo Festival Portfolio Reviews
7 June 2019



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  • Sarah Allen
    Assistant Curator (TATE Modern, London, United Kingdom)
    Is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern where she curates exhibitions and displays as well as researching acquisitions for the international collection. She most recently co-curated Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art
  • Michael Famighetti
    Editor (Aperture Magazine, New York, U.S.A)
    In addition to editing Aperture magazine, Famighetti commissions and edits books for Aperture Foundation. He is a visiting critic at Yale University School of Art and works as a mentor. His writing has appeared in Frieze, Bookforum, Aperture, among other publications. He is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and has been a guest reviewer and speaker at many international festivals and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Vogue Italia among others.

  • Emily Graham
    Cultural Commissions & Partnerships Manager (Magnum Photos, London, U.K.)
    At Magnum Photo's Emily manages the UK exhibitions, cultural commissions and creative projects. She is also a freelance creative consultant and curator. Additionally she has worked as an editor and producer on projects for a variety of artists and institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and NGO WaterAid.

  • Elizabeth Renstrom
    Senior Photo Editor (VICE Media, New York, U.S.A)
    Elizabeth is currently VICE'S Senior Photo Editor who oversees all the production behind the publications striking and often provocative images for the magazine and vice.com. A curator and photographer herself, she has shot for the New Yorker, TIME and Instagram.

  • Diane Smyth
    Digital Editor (British Journal of Photography)
    Is the digital editor of the British Journal of Photography having previously worked on the print version for over a decade, interviewing image-makers such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Susan Meiselas and editing issues on everything from food to wealth. Diane has also written for titles such as Creative Review, Aperture, Foam and The Guardian, and has curated projects for festivals and galleries.
  • Alexa Becker
    Acquisitions Editor (Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany)
    Is Acquisitions Editor for photography and art books at Kehrer Verlag, which is among the world's leading publishers of photo-books and one of the few independent publishing houses in Germany. She started her career at Kehrer in 2003, where she is responsible for selecting and acquiring new photography related projects.

  • Deirdre Robb
    Director (Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery, Belfast, U.K.)
    Deirdre Robb has 20 years experience in photography as a Creative Director and Curator. After her Masters she began her career as a practicing artist, undertaking local, national and international exhibitions, residencies and managing artist-led exchange programmes. Previous history includes Visual Arts Development Officer in Arts Council Northern Ireland specialising in photography, Arts Development Officer of Culture and Arts, Director of Trace Art Gallery, Engine Room Gallery and Arts for All.



Entry is open to all photographers, artists, curators, archives, collectives from anywhere in the world. The Jury will be looking for high quality work.

Submissions must be photographic or lens based but can include incorporations of other art forms with the photographic medium (i.e. performance, painting, sculpture, film, music, literature etc)

The Jury will consider photographs, photo-media, performance, photo-films, photo-books, new media, archives and sculptural forms. All works must be practical within the Festival guidelines and dates. If you have the information, please include install images as part of your submission (within 15 images)

Applicants must be Age 16+


Your work should consist of or relate to photography somehow, submission pieces can include proposed photography related events, exhibitions and workshops as well as works deriving from photography related audience participation, performance, video, photobooks, new media, archive, installation, sculptural forms, photomedia and photofilm. We are open to ideas!


Project description 2000 characters (including blank spaces), describe the ideas and content of your project, how many images it consists of and all other practical and conceptual information. Please include web links to additional information if relevant Installation description 2000 characters (including blank spaces) if relevant please include installation notes and practical details about how you would ideally like to present your work, including, size, medium, layout and any other information. If selected we cannot guarantee that all conditions will be met, but your information will be used for reference. Biography Please include image descriptions if relevant, including size, content and install information.


Within your application you are welcome to include practical notes such as display descriptions, production and installation methods. Where possible also include images to help explain this.


Application fee, Early Bird €22 (Until 31st December 2018) application fee, Standard €29 (after 31st December)

Payments are paid via Stripe (incl Visa, MasterCard and others)

The submission contribution charged is in aid of Belfast Photo Festival 2019 and directly contributes to the organisation and delivery of the festival for the benefit of all participants, the money received is shared directly with the selected artists. Belfast Photo Festival is a non-profit organisation. Registered charity number: NIC102819.



The public dates of the festival are 6th - 30th June 2019. (Festival launch on the 6th March 2019). Some exhibition dates may be longer depending on exhibition venue.

The OPEN SUBMISSION exhibitions will be shown in the main Festival gallery. Additional opportunities may arise and be offered for exhibition in a wide range of venues from galleries, non gallery spaces, factory buildings, empty shops and potentially public space as relevant.


The final selection of artists from the Open Submission will be made in collaboration between the Jury and the festival curators. There will be between 20 -- 40 selected artists, depending on project proposals, image sizes/numbers etc.

Successful entrants will be selected and notified by email in late-March / Early April 2019 with information regarding following steps towards the final exhibition. A list of selected applicants and awardees will be published on the Belfast Photo Festival website. The decision on successful entrants is final. Unsuccessful candidates will be notified.


From December onwards applications will be highlighted by Belfast Photo Festival Curators and shown through the @BelfastPhotoFestival Instagram and shared with our 6K+ online audience. Please note that if your work is shared on the Belfast Photo Festival Instagram platform this does not mean that your work has or has not been selected for the festival as successful applicants will be determined later (in March 2019) after the works have been seen by the Jury. Through submitting your work you give permission for the Belfast Photo Festival Team to potentially use your work in this way and to publish it online and on the Belfast Photo Festival social media platforms.


All winners will be included in the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival Exhibitions Programme. Belfast Photo Festival will produce your photographic work for exhibition in the festivals main city centre gallery at no cost to you (the photographer). A number of other awards will be made by the Jury and Belfast Photo Festival Team consisting of cash, services, special exhibitions and exposure through publications.


If additional exhibition opportunities arise and are offered and agreed with the submitting photographer and only if exhibition of existing work or the production of new work has been agreed with the photographer will the following apply.

Artists are responsible for the production, preparation, mounting/ framing/mastering, management, delivery, transportation and return of their work to and from Belfast for exhibition during the full festival period. Belfast Photo Festival Team may be able to support some artists with production or transportation as relevant, this will be decided by the festival team. Belfast Photo Festival team will install all of the exhibitions, artists may be involved with the installations as relevant.

All exhibitions will be installed between 18th May and the 5th June 2019; selected works must be available and in Belfast for installation during this period. Exact install dates will be discussed and agreed with each artist directly and will depend on the venue and support needed. All exhibitions must be installed by the end of the 5th June 2019. The festival launch takes place during the 6th June 2019


If the artist wishes to keep their work produced by the Festival or supplied to the Festival after exhibition it is the artist's responsibility to collect their work in person or organise and pay for the transportation of their work within the set deadline, failing this the work will be destroyed.

The delivery, install and return dates will be clearly stated in correspondence should you be successful. Some installation support will be available at certain festival venues. If required, installation logistics will be discussed directly with each selected artist.

All selected artists will be included in the Belfast Photo Festival publications, website and in major PR campaigns in print media and online. We care very much about the visibility and support for every photographer as the exhibitions are a core part of the Belfast Photo Festival programme. Each artist will receive a dedicated page on our website and be part of Belfast Photo Festival's international marketing and PR campaigns.

22 March 2019
11:59 PM