Face your fear to become fearless
28 March 2021
9:59 PM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.


Helsinki Photo Festival is pleased to announce their fourth open call! Everyone from all over the world is invited to submit their work(s) in the festival theme of 2021: Fearless.

We challenge photographers and artists of all ages to share with us the connections you see with our theme, in imaginative, creative expressive interpretation. Artists will need to write as part of their submission an explanation of how their work fits with the theme.

What does it take to lose your fear? Can we live without fear or will it make us numb? Are the words courageous and fearless synonyms? Is the one full of fear and still moving forward being fearless? Does being fearless make you more heroic and adventurous? What role plays fearless in society and human history? In these times when all our life is changing in expected ways what does fearless mean? Can being fearless improve your life or will it ruin it?
In fact, there are many ways to interpret and what to associate with Fearless. What is yours?

We aim to select 50 artists' works to exhibit in solo- and group exhibitions during the festival period, July 7-September 30, 2021. Entries are handled by a judging experts panel.

What winners receive

Selected artists/photographers of the FEARLESS theme will be exhibited at Helsinki Photo Festival 2021 (July 7th to September 30th). The exhibitions will take place in art centres/institutions, warehouses, libraries, pop-ups, galleries, parks and waterfront areas in Greater Helsinki. Moreover, the festival’s developed Nordic Village fosters emerging Nordic photographers. Since 2018, the talent platform Nordic Village has showcased to a broad audience over 20 artists from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Selected artists have been chosen for solo- and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. All selected photographers have the great opportunity of being promoted to a broad, dedicated audience, critics and curators at the newest photo festival in Northern Europe.

Selected artists/photographers will benefit from:

  • exhibition exposure at the Festival’s main exhibition in central Helsinki and at locations all around the capital including popup events
  • nordic photographers to be part of a Nordic Village exhibition format
  • opportunities offered for exhibition and publication through festival partners
  • inclusion in the Festivals marketing & PR campaign
  • inclusion in Festival’s printed and digital publications
  • long-term Festival representation and promotion
  • an opportunity to participate in an Instagram Residency
  • publication and inclusion in the Festival programme
  • dedicated feature on the Festival website and online gallery
  • international press exposure

Finalists will be selected to have their work produced by the Festival for exhibition indoors and/or outdoors.

The Nordic Village at Helsinki Photo Festival is a concept with the focus to support emerging Nordic photographers and their work(s) to a broad audience. Until now, the Nordic Village has nominated and showcased +20 artists from all five Nordic countries and arranged artist-talks, nordic and international exhibitions and pedagogy events with support of Nordic institutions.

About Helsinki Photo Festival

Helsinki Photo Festival ry, is a non-profit association, created to disseminate information about photography and visual media and to attract and maintain interest in them in Finland and internationally by presenting, developing and promoting these forms of art. We help artists to associate with audiences and experts in the field of photography. We give artists access to an international network to enable them to find new ways to work, get published and exhibit abroad and in Finland.

Helsinki Photo Festival connects contemporary fine art photography and street exhibition. The contest is judged by a jury of leading experts. The program includes artist-talks, workshops, seminars, photo walks, portfolio reviews and photo installations inviting residents, tourists and all photo enthusiasts of any age. All outdoor exhibitions can be enjoyed around the clock, free of charge!


Call for entries open
6 December 2020
Submission deadline
28 March 2021
Helsinki Photo Festival (July to September)
July 2021



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    Biography with up to 1500 characters

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    1 project per submission

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    3 to 15 files per project

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    Allowed file types: JPG

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Juror information

Marianne Ager (DK)
Ager (b.1971) holds an MA degree from the University of Southern Denmark. Her particular field of interest is the concept of storytelling in literature, music and art/visual culture. She has worked as culture journalist and wrote reviews of photography books for the Danish Katalog Journal. She was a member of the jury for the Young Nordic Photographer of the Year 2016 award at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Sweden, and served on the jury for Riga Photo Biennial’s 2018 talent award. Ager’s primary interests are fine art photography with a powerful narrative, portraiture with a twist, documentary work and short film projects.

Alexa Becker (DE)
Alexa Becker is a Acquisitions Editor for photography and art books for Kehrer Verlag. Becker obtained her Master's in Art History from the University of Heidelberg. She started her career at Kehrer in 2003, where she is responsible for selecting and acquiring new photography-related projects. Mrs. Becker provides artistic and marketing advice for photographers concerning the content and style of their work at several international portfolio reviews. She enjoys helping photographers and others appreciate the special qualities present in their work - in particular discovering novel, genuine visions of the world. Mrs. Becker serves at several international portfolio reviews as a reviewer and sits on a number of online juries.

Emanuela Mirabelli (IT)
Mirabelli (born in Milan) has always been intrigued by all that is expressed through the images. After high school she started to write movie reviews for magazines, while studying Art History at the University. She developed a deep interest in photography which has translated soon into a profession. She then became the Executive Director of Carla Sozzani Gallery, the leading photography gallery in Milan. Since 2003, she has been working as Photo Editor of Marie Claire Italy magazine, where she publishes a huge variety of works, from classic reportages to new languages in contemporary photography, as well fine art portfolios and a huge variety of authors, from new talents to worldwide well known photographers. Also, she writes texts and holds lectures about photography and courses about photo editing. She does portfolio reviews at many festivals and she is a jury member of international photo awards.

Rafael Rybczynski (DK)
Rybczynski has been building his professional career in the cultural and creative industries for over 20 years. He is known for fostering emerging and established talents. He provides direction, guidance and inspiration. He has worked for artists, brands and startups with new products and services, creativity and innovation, events, sourcing, creating and publishing digital and visual content. In 2017, he founded Helsinki Photo Festival and since then has been at the helm of this project. He has curated over 100 artists and developed site-specific art exhibitions. Rafael has an MSc degree in Interaction Design from Malmö University in Sweden, and a BA from KEA - Copenhagen School of Design and Technology in Denmark.

Stig Marlon Weston (NO)
Weston (b. 1974) is based in Oslo, Norway. He shares his time between his own practice as a photo artist, running the studio collective CYAN studio and working as a commercial photographer. Focusing on process based and philosophical photography Stig uses cameraless techniques and analog processes to make his pictures become unique proofs of a truth unseen by human eyes. He wants to connect the subject closer to image and aims to encourage the viewer to reflect on what they expect to see and understand in a photograph. His work has been exhibited in many countries. Also, Stig curates and organizes exhibitions and photography events with other photographers´ works.

Naoya Yoshikawa (JP)
Naoya Yoshikawa; Artists of Photography, Director of Daegu Photo Biennale 2016, Korea, Professor at Osaka University of Arts. Photography, B.F.A., Arts and Culture, M.A. 2000-2001, Osaka University of Arts. Guest Scholar of Long Island University, New York/Overseas Study Program for Artists of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan. Director of Daegu Photo Biennale 2016, Korea. 350 and more numerous exhibitions, festivals, workshops in many countries.

Federico Estol (UY). Uruguayan photographer Federico Estol, graduated from CITM - BarcelonaTech in Spain. Currently, he is working as artistic director of SAN JOSÉ FOTO festival, promoting the Photobook Club Montevideo and as editor of El Ministerio Ediciones publishing house. He has been selected to many influential photo festivals around the world. Estol has been included in exhibitions at Aperture Foundation (New York), Fundación Atchugarry (Punta del Este) and many more. His works and publications are in various private and public collections such as the FOLA Latin American Photo Library in Buenos Aires, Tate Modern in London, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Museu da Fotografia in Fortaleza and the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum. He has received several awards, grants and scholarships, recently honoured with the Cosmos Arles PDF Award and the Winner of the International Photography Award Encontros da Imagem Portugal 2019. Nominee for Prix PICTET and Paris Photo–Aperture Photobook Awards 2019.

Andy Adams (US)
Andy Adams is an independent curator and writer whose work explores contemporary ideas in photography and visual media. He is the Director of FlakPhoto Projects, a digital/arts lab focused on promoting photography in all of its forms. Adams is a pioneer in online art exhibitions and has collaborated with the RISD Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the James Watrous Gallery, and numerous other organizations. He hosts the FlakPhoto Network, an online community focused on conversations about photo culture.

Karoliina Korpilahti (FI)
Korpilahti is a practical arts management professional. She holds an MA in Aesthetics from the University of Helsinki. She has gained working experience as a lecturer in aesthetics, cultural producer, public relation manager and coordinator for grants at Frame Contemporary Art Finland Foundation for 5 years before getting the position of the Head of the Programme at The Finnish Institute in Estonia.

Curt Richter (US)
Curt Richter is an accomplished photographer and lecturer. His works are part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale, and many more. Born in New York City, he earned a BFA from SUNY Purchase and assisted the architectural photographer Ezra Stoller. As a teacher of photography, he has taught in the US, UK and Finland.

Moritz Neumüller (AT). Moritz Neumüller, is a Barcelona-based curator, educator and writer in the field of Photography and New Media. He has worked for institutions such as MoMA New York, La Fábrica Madrid and PhotoIreland Festival. He is the academic director of the Photo Department of IED Madrid, and a regular contributor to magazines such as European Photography, foam and Photoresearcher. Since 2010, he is running The Curator Ship, an online resource for visual artists. Recent curatorial projects for Daegu Biennial (Korea), Photobook Week Aarhus (DK), and The Birmingham Library (UK).

Stefan Bremer (FI) Stefan Bremer (b. 1953) has taught in art schools around Finland as well as at the Stockholm School of Photography and the Gothenburg University. He has led photography workshops in Europe and Africa and has exhibited around the world. Bremer was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Photography in 1988 and the Culture Prize of the City of Helsinki in 2011. He was State Art Professor in 1999-2004.


What is the entry fee to submit to the Helsinki Photo Festival?

The entry fee for the Helsinki Photo Festival is €23.

When does the call close and open?

The call opens Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 11:59 AM Eastern Standard Time. The call closes Sunday, March 23, 2021 at 23:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Where can I sign up for a Picter account?

Visit picter.com to sign up for a free account.

I would like to submit more than one project is it possible?

The open call allows submission of one (1) project only. In a project you can submit 15 images, either as 15 works or 15 works in a series. Alternatively, you can submit three (3) single images only.

Can I edit my portfolio once it has already been submitted? No, all submissions are final. in the event of uncertainties, please contact support@picter.com.

What happens to work that is selected? If your work is selected, you will be notified during Week 14-16 / April 4-23, 2021. It is up to you to produce and deliver the work (both to and from Helsinki Photo Festival in Finland) at your own expense before week 26-27 / June 27-July 8, 2021 for indoor exhibitions except the artist agrees the selected photos will be printed by the association without any cost to the participating photographer.

If I am not selected, will I receive feedback and suggestions for my work? Due to the large number of entries, it is not possible to provide personalized feedback for artists. 

Where can I get involved in discussions about the Helsinki Photo Festival? To connect with us and ask questions regarding the 2021 FEARLESS Exhibitions by the Helsinki Photo Festival, follow Helsinki Photo Festival on Facebook, @HkiFotoFestival on Twitter, and @helsinkiphotofestival on Instagram. Stay tuned for updates and answers to your questions.

28 March 2021
9:59 PM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.