Having now reached 13 years of age, Rovinj Photodays has established itself as one of Croatia's key annual happenings for photography. As it should be, for the festival is the largest and most comprehensive event of its kind in Southeast Europe.
The festival is currently taking place. Both winners and runners-up in all categories have been announced. But, acting under advisement, the event has only made itself available to the public online. We present here some of the highlights.
The festival was founded in 2008 and entries for its competition aspect are submitted from all over the world. This year, a total of 2600 photographs by authors from 18 countries were put forward for consideration. Among the finalists were two photographers each from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Russia and Serbia. Photographers from the Netherlands, Germany and Slovenia also reached the final.
2020's competition categories were: Nudy/Body, Architecture, Fashion, Documentary, Landscape and Portrait. The work of successful finalists in some of the categories confounds expectations. For instance, that of Munich-based photographer Patrick Bienert, which won in the fashion category. Instead of the high-end, carefully modified pictures of supermodels usually brought to mind when thinking of this genre, Bienert took an unflinching look at fashion production. His winning series shows us behind-the-scenes, the manufacturing part of the industry and those who work within it. Remarkably, Bienert also took first place in the Portrait category.
One of the most moving categories is Documentary. The winner, Naples-based Alessio Paduano submitted an exhibition titled 'Contemporary slavery: the lost daughters of Nigeria'. Coming in third place was Sarajevo-based Armin Durgut. His photojournalism series, which captures the lives of migrants living in a camp, is so remarkable that it displays just how high standards in the event have reached.