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COVID-19 UPDATE: March 19

Hello and welcome to Inside Imaging‘s live Coronavirus article. Here you can find comprehensive updates on how COVID-19 is affecting the Australian and international photo industry.

Here’s an illustration of the little bastard that’s causing so much chaos around the world. Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Help us stay updated by e-mailing news to Whether its photo-related events being cancelled or postponed, staff at stores or offices are sent home, emerging disruptions in the supply chain, or any other ways the photo industry is being affected in these strange times.

– Photokina cancelled until May 2022
– Head On Photo Festival goes online

– Dakis closes office, employees to work from home
– Photo 2020 postponed until September 2020
– National Photographic Portrait Prize award ceremony closed to the public
– Celebrity physician calls for weddings to be cancelled
– Geelong Gallery, showing The Look exhibition, closes until April 13
– Maud Street Photo Gallery suspends upcoming events

Last updated March 19.

Photokina cancelled!
Organisers of Germany’s Photokina have pulled the pin on the major trade show, which was scheduled to run from May 27-30. It will skip next year and run in May, 2022.

Three weeks ago, Photokina organisers said the show must go on. However the situation is – as everyone is saying – changing daily. While COVID-19 is the big factor, Photokina has also highlighted some other truths regarding the challenging state of the photo industry.

‘Even before the appearance of the coronavirus, the imaging market was already subject to strongly dynamic movements. This trend will now gain momentum and must be factored into plans for the upcoming photokina. Added to this is the fact that our customers’ resources are already under heavy strain in 2021 – as a result of general economic trends as well as rescheduled events on the global trade fair calendar. The orientation towards 2022 gives everyone involved time enough to design the next photokina with an eye to the needs of the market, and of our exhibitors and visitors.’

It’s not exactly clear what’s going on with Photokina, but it seems something has been amiss since it chose to reschedule from its annual September dates to May. Even before the virus outbreak, there has been much speculation as to whether the event eventually fold, following numerous high profile brands pulling out of attending the event.

Head On Photo Festival goes online
Sydney Head On Photo Festival, running May 1 – 17, is ambitiously preparing to showcase the festival exhibition program online rather than in galleries, venues, and city streets.

The Head On Photo Festival Awards will go on, however the award ceremony and opening will not happen at the UNSW Art and Design campus. Instead there will be a fantastic and innovative online version of select events.

Going online is an untested new approach, however it’s clearly the only way large-scale events can be delivered in the next few months. Inside Imaging hopes for the sake of Australia’s finest annual photo festival it pays off. It’s a cherished and important event on the photography calendar, so it’s expected an online audience will amass and engage with what Head On brings to the table.

Here’s a statement from Head On founder, Moshe Rosenzveig:
We recognise the extraordinary effort photographers have put into delivering Award entries and preparing exhibitions over recent months and plan to honour and celebrate this by working to create an online Head On Photo Festival and Awards.

This online version of the event will be held as scheduled from 1-17 May and will be accompanied by an exciting program of online seminars and events throughout the Festival period. We will then work to present a scaled-back physical festival later in the year. At a time when many people will be in isolation, this digital platform will provide our audiences around the world with a variety of exciting artworks, images and activities to engage and interact with.

At this stage, some smaller galleries in Sydney still plan to present printed exhibitions in association with Head On Photo Festival as scheduled in May 2020, and we will promote these online including in a downloadable Festival catalogue. We will continue to communicate with artists and galleries about the Festival events in May and later in the year while these plans are being finalised. With the support of our wonderful sponsors, our devoted team is currently working hard to deliver the best online and physical festival we can, so keep an eye out for updates!

Dakis works from home
With the Coronavirus expanding its reach within North America, Canadian retail photography software specialist Dakis has taken the decision to close its physical offices and have employees work from home until March 27. ‘After this date we will reevaluate the situation and make decisions accordingly,’ it wrote to customers in an email. ‘This means that we are pushing forward full steam ahead! You will still be able to reach us during our normal operating hours, our developers will continue to innovate and we will be available to offer you help and assistance with your solutions during this unprecedented event.’

Photo 2020 has partnered with Magnum Photos to bring a bunch of talent over for workshops, presentations, and more.

Photo 2020 posted until September
Melbourne’s inaugural Photo 2020, a major new festival scheduled to open April 23, has been postponed until September 10-27.


‘Given the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, coupled with the advice of government departments and health authorities, we have made the decision to postpone the inaugural PHOTO 2020 International Festival of Photography until 10 – 27 September 2020.

‘Our decision to postpone the Festival has been informed by a desire to continue to best support our community of artists, venues, partners, arts workers, and all involved in PHOTO 2020.  We would like to thank everyone who has supported our decision, including our donors, government partners and stakeholders who are working with us to deliver a world-class festival program.’ Read the full statement here.

A standing ovation!

National Photographic Portrait Prize award ceremony closed to the public
On Friday, March 13, the National Portrait Gallery held its official opening event for the National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP), however the public was not allowed to attend. The opening event for the major photo prize, won by Rob Palmer, usually crams around 500 people into the venue. Instead there were less than 10, and the gallery opted to film the announcement and broadcast it online.

‘The situation that we are in is fluid and dynamic and changing by the day,’ said National Portrait Gallery director, Karen Quinlan. ‘It’s important to note that the health of our visitors and the wider community is of utmost importance at this time.’

The National Portrait Gallery has not shut, so the exhibition of 48 finalist images is currently on show. Those interested in atteding better get in quick, as it seems like the ‘fluid and dynamic’ COVID-19 situation will soon force galleries around the country to shut.

Celebrity physician calls for weddings to be cancelled
Australian celebrity physician and broadcaster, Norman Swan, has advised couples to call off their weddings to help prevent the spread of the virus. Speaking on the ABC’s daily Coronacast podcast, the presenter and Walkley-Award winner told listeners to change behaviours now and that every day counts.

‘…We’ve all got to change our behaviour to do that and that does mean, you know, if you’re having a wedding – I’m sorry, probably not,’ he said. ‘If you are going to a wedding or these clubs coming together, we’ve just got to stop all that. This is an extraordinary moment in time which we haven’t experienced for 102 years in Australia.’

Shortly after Swan’s advice, it was revealed that six wedding guests have tested positive for COVID-19 in NSW. The guests attended a wedding at Tumbling Waters Retreat in the Illawarra region on March 6. So bad news for wedding photographers, many who we assume are currently facing numerous job losses as clients evaluate an upcoming wedding.

Bryan Brown, 2008. Photo: Adam Knott.

Geelong Gallery closes
Geelong Gallery, which is currently showing The Look – an exhibition of photo portraits showcasing extraordinary Australians – will be closed until April 13.

‘In response to the COVID–19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the Geelong Gallery Board have decided to temporarily close the Gallery from 5pm on Tuesday 17 March until Monday 13 April 2020. Geelong Gallery’s priority is to protect and safeguard our visitors, members, staff and volunteers and as such we are taking the precautionary measure to close the Gallery to support wider efforts to contain COVID–19 in our community.’

The portraits in The Look are drawn from Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery archive, with the exhibition reflecting ‘a wonderful range of Australian achievement; and it oozes style too’. ‘Whether you go for a steamy look, a sceptical look, a sardonic look, or an icy look, one look at this show, and you’ll have to look again’.

The gallery is also showing Hold On by celebrated Australian artist and photographer, Jackie Redgate.

The Look runs until May 3, and Hold On until May 17. So there may be an opportunity to view both shows after April 13, provided the temporary closure is lifted. Just… Hold on!

Brisbane’s Maud Street cancels upcoming events
Upcoming events at Brisbane’s Maud Street Photo Gallery, including Jeff Moorfoot’s Scan exhibition and masterclass, have been cancelled with hopes to postpone to a future date.

Moorfoot’s exhibition was scheduled to run from March 26 – April 1. Also cancelled is the 7.30 Street Project on April 3.

One Comment

  1. Jorge de Araujo Jorge de Araujo March 19, 2020

    Thanks for the updates.

    Do you know if there are any interest free loans freelance photographers can apply for to weather the storm?

    Kind regards

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