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Aucklanders Can Enjoy Free Anniversary Celebration Of Visual Culture During This Year’s Auckland Festival Of Photography

“We're delighted to be able to present a quality series of free exhibitions, events and Awards to celebrate AFP’s 20th anniversary,” says Festival founder and director Julia Durkin, MNZM. “This is a considerable achievement given recent climate events, and the impact of the cost of living crisis and looming budget cuts on the many venues, groups and artists we work with across the region.”

For 20 years AFP has delivered Auckland’s leading annual regional festival - and become Australasia’s largest photography festival - showcasing work by emerging and leading New Zealand and international photographers.

AFP is a pioneer in the arts sector, delivering cultural firsts, commissions and improving audiences’ accessibility to photography across the region and motu, the internet and internationally. AFP innovations include:

  • Moving beyond conventional galleries into public spaces, with work featured and projected in various regional venues and outdoor locations as part of AFP’s Fringe/Satellite programme [2009-2021].
  • ‘Talking Culture’ symposiums examining photographers’ role in broadening understandings of conflict, control and cultural memory [2010-2018].
  • Commissioning work by NZ-based curators and photographers to show here and overseas [2011-2020].
  • A hybrid response to the Covid pandemic via YouTube, Pop Up TV channels, and online community projects.
  • Creating an archive of more than 14,000 publicly submitted images for the Auckland Photo Day competition [being rested this year].
  • Highlighting photographers across the motu on the Postcards From New Zealand platform.
  • Enriching AFP offerings of international photography by co-founding the Asia Pacific Photoforum and inviting international curators/artists to take part.
  • Creating Awards such as Late Harvest (for exhibiting artists and photographers), the Music Photo Award (coinciding with NZ Music Month) and the Youth Photo Award.
  • Since 2011, AFP has invested and paid more than $155,000 to photographers/artists, and presented product/camera prizes worth $54,000.
  • By 2022, the festival’s 19th year, AFP presented and/or partnered more than 1,290 exhibitions and events attended by more than one million people.
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The Festival’s 2023 resistance/ātete theme recognises AFP funders and sponsors, past and present, and artists and photographers who have helped keep the Festival alive for 20 years.

“As it relates to visual imaging and culture, resistance/ātete speaks to innovation, initiative and challenging the status quo,” Ms Durkin says. “Artists must resist pressure to comply with an economic model and within an art establishment where, for many, making a living out of being creative is so difficult. In many ways, for 20 years the Auckland Festival of Photography’s [AFP] evolution epitomizes the idea of resistance/ātete. The Festival was founded and developed outside the institutions that currently hold establishment power and privilege.”

AFP remains agile, delivering a Festival in the current unsettled environment, with content reflecting ecological, social and political uncertainty. 

“Declines in annual public funding and commercial sponsorship mean a slightly smaller Festival in 2023 but we are still committed to making photography as accessible to as many people as possible,” Ms Durkin says. “The Festival remains an independent voice for photographic artists and practitioners and Australasia's longest running photography festival.”

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