About the Festival

The Encuentros Abiertos-Festival de la Luz is the biggest event of its kind in Latin America, a biennial that takes place every August in even numbered years. The purpose of the Festival de la Luz is to nurture and promote the art of photography in Argentina and internationally. The Festival carries out this mandate in different ways: with exhibitions of national and foreign artists in museums, cultural centers, and art spaces across Argentina; through lectures, workshops, and discussions on photographic art and related issues; through street art, projections, film screenings, and actions in public spaces; with book presentations, and photographic calls; and by organizing portfolio reviews where photographers meet with curators, critics, collectors, editors, and directors of institutions interested in the artistic, cultural, and social relevance of photography.

By attracting distinguished artists and other important members of the photography community from all over the world, the Festival de la Luz enriches the experience of local audiences and creates new opportunities internationally for photographers in Argentina and abroad.

Through its open call, the Festival discovers emerging talents in photography and provides these artists with venues and other opportunities to make their work known to the public. The Festival is also a setting where each new generation of photographers can become intimately acquainted with the work of famous and established artists and, in many cases, engage these artists in person.

As a nucleus of intellectual and critical energy, the Festival generates new directions of discussion and thought on the current state of photography and the expanding power of the image in contemporary society.

Organized by the Luz Austral Foundation, the Festival de Luz is a critical reference point for photography in the region, as well as a vital place of contact between Latin American photographers and global events relating to photography.

Lectures and exhibitions are free and open to the general public. Based in Buenos Aires, the Festival de Luz also presents many exhibitions that run concurrently across different provinces in Argentina. The geographic and cultural range of the Festival makes it one of the most truly multicultural events of its kind, further expanding its attraction to the general public.

30 years of history

The Encuentros Abiertos were born in 1989 to celebrate the birth of photography. On August 19th 1839, the Academy of Sciences of Paris officially introduced the invention of photography to the world. One hundred and fifty years later, the global photography community celebrated this event and a group of photographic artists from Buenos Aires decided to create the first Encuentros Abiertos. After ten consecutive years, the Festival had grown so much in size and scope that it became a biennial event.

Since its tenth edition in 1998, the Encuentros Abiertos has partnered with over twenty festivals in sixteen countries across five continents, which together form the international Festival of Light. These include: Atlanta (USA), Ballarat (Australia), Braga (Portugal), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Daegu (Korea), Derby (UK), Houston (USA), Kaunas (Lithuania), Krasnodar (Russia), Lodz (Poland), Lucca (Italy), Bienne (Switzerland), Mexico City (Mexico), Montreal (Canada), Odense (Denmark), Paris (France), Portland (USA), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Tempere (Finland), Tenerife (Spain), Thessaloniki (Greece), and Toronto (Canada). This global organization (detailed information available at www.festivaloflight.net) provides an enriching exchange of exhibitions, activities and participants.

The Fundación Luz Austral was created in 1999 as a non-profit profit institution with the mandate of disseminating Argentine photography through exhibitions, seminars, and events in the country and abroad. The Foundation’s main activity is the biennial realization of the Encuentros Abiertos-Festival de la Luz in even-numbered years and the InterFestival in odd ones, as well as travelling exhibitions.

Since 1993 the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires has regularly declared the Festivals as official events of National, Provincial, and Municipal Interest, and Cultural Interest.