Photo 2024: what to expect as Australia’s largest photography festival returns

Photo 2024 International Festival of Photography will take place 1-24 March 2024 across Melbourne and Victoria

Photo 2024 preview image: woman with hat and fan
Rennie Ellis, Melbourne Out Loud
(Image credit: Rennie Ellis. Courtesy of PHOTO 2024)

Photo 2024 International Festival of Photography, Australia’s largest photography festival, will be the third edition of the event. The biennial, which will be taking place 1-24 March 2024, will unite 100 free exhibitions and outdoor art installations across Melbourne and Victoria.

Artists from around the world will consider alternative realities and parallel futures in this edition’s theme, ‘The Future Is Shaped by Those Who Can See It’. Outdoor displays of work will be held across Melbourne at locations including Parliament of Victoria, St Paul’s Cathedral and Fed Square, while a celebration of local artists is encompassed in contributions from Jemima Wyman (palawa), Angela Tiatia, Amos Gebhardt, Zoe Croggon, Elisa Carmichael (Quandamooka), Sammaneh Pourshafighi, Jo Duck and Kenton/Davey. 

What to expect at Photo 2024

woman looking in mirror, as Photo 2024 preview

Darren Sylvester, BodyBeASoul, 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy of PHOTO 2024. . Courtesy the artist, Neon Parc, and Sullivan and Strumpf)

‘An exciting new addition this year for Photo 2024 is “Queer Photo”, a new festival-within-a-festival that brings together 17 important LGBTQ+ voices,’ curator Brendan McCleary tells us. ‘Taking place across galleries, parks, and a historic mansion in Melbourne’s west, the programme brings together exclusive presentations by international artists such as Sunil Gupta, Clifford Prince King, and Aotearoa collective FAFSWAG, alongside new commissions by exciting local artists including Lilah Benetti and Ngarigo man Peter Waples-Crowe. People will be able to experience Jake Elwes’ AI-generated drag queens alongside queer Wiradjuri woman Karla Dickens’ exploration of race, gender and injustice, Daniel Jack Lyon’s documentation of queer youth in the Amazon and the world premiere of Vic Bakin’s heartfelt portraits of his queer community in Kyiv, Ukraine, taken in a time of conflict that threatens their very existence.’

They join artists including Ryan McGinley (USA), Omar Victor Diop (Senegal), Carmen Winant (USA), Edward Burtynsky (Canada), Mous Lamrabat (Morocco), Candice Breitz (South Africa), Cao Fei (China), and CAMP (India), alongside established names Nan Goldin (USA), Malick Sidibé (Mali) and Rennie Ellis (Australia), in the immersive programme, which also includes talks, film screenings and workshops.


Sara Oscar, A hyperrealistic photograph of a pregnant Thai woman, tall woman in suit, falling luggage, chaos, airport parking lot, theatrical gestures, falling, 2023-AI generated image

(Image credit: Courtesy of PHOTO 2024. Courtesy the artist)

‘Throughout March, Melbourne will become a vast open-air gallery of photography,’ adds associate curator Pippa Milne. ‘Curating the programme, we looked to artists who are envisioning various futures through fascinating and memorable lenses. Highlights include a trail of enormous lightboxes that will illuminate the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River) with striking collages of global demonstrations by Jemima Wyman, Indigenous superheroes by Tony Albert and ancestral beings by Amos Gebhardt. In the Parliament Precinct, there are a number of installations at landmark sites including “Uncanny Valley: Photography, Tech and the Hyperreal”, an exhibition outside the Old Treasury Building that features portraits of cyborgs alongside portraits by cyborgs, and an exhibition in Parliament Gardens looking at the future of water from a First Nations’ perspective. We also get to celebrate some of the biggest icons of photography at Photo 2024, with an epic 20m installation by Nan Goldin, and the first Australian exhibition of Malick Sidibé.’

Photo 2024 International Festival of Photography will return for its third edition from 1 to 24 March 2024

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.