Helsinki Photography Biennial is an event organised biennially by the Photographic Artists’ Association. The biennial presents a wide range of photographic art through changing themes. Apart from exhibitions, the biennial also includes seminars, meetings with artists, workshops and portfolio meetings, to name a few.
History and Background
Helsinki Photography Biennial has its roots in the early 1980s in the Valokuvataide−Arkitaide (Photographic Art – Everyday Art) events organised in Helsinki. The engaged and spirited members of the Photographic Society in Finland gathered around the arrangements around every three to four years. The happenings were organised, in all, nine times and are the oldest photography biennial in Finland.
In the early 1980s, the events aimed at reaching out to a broader audience, in times when photography, as an art form, still was marginally positioned. In the 1990s, the events were already clearly directed towards a public that was interested in questions concerning photo-based art, and the festivals focused on, for instance, Photography and Power (1993) and German Themes (1996).
Since 2000, the event was known as Helsinki Photography Festival. In 2000 it was called Some Parts of the World, and it was then the most comprehensive and international exhibition and event of contemporary photo-based art to have been organised in Finland. The to be continued… (2005), presented a remarkable array of contemporary photography and lens-based work from Finland and the UK, and was curated by Mika Elo and Brett Rogers.
In 2012, for the first time, the events reached beyond the main partner museums into tens of galleries, museums and public spaces in the Finnish capital. In total, HPB12 included over 60 individual exhibitions having to do with photographic art, 26 galleries and museums, 25 events, out of which 4 in the public space, 2 seminars, and 3 main exhibitions. In 2012 the curators were photographic artists Ari Kakkinen, Marko Karo, Harri Pälviranta, Kari Soinio, Hanna Weselius, and researcher from Helsinki City Museum Jari Harju.