Rovinj Photo Days Katarina Marković
© Katarina MarkovićSecond place in Fashion category 2020

PHOTOS: Highlights of Rovinj Photodays 2020

This year the annual exhibition has moved online

By Marc Rowlands
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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.

Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert
Rovinj Photo Days Alessio Paduano
Winner in Documentary category 2020© Alessio Paduano
Rovinj Photo Days Nik Erik Neubauer
Second place in Documentary category 2020© Nik Erik Neubauer
Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Fashion category 2020© Patrick Bienert

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.

Rovinj Photo Days Fadil Šarki
Winner in Architecture category 2020© Fadil Šarki
Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert
Rovinj Photo Days Ivana Jagušić
Second place in Architecture category 2020© Ivana Jagušić
Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert

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.

Rovinj Photo Days Sandra Lensink
Winner in Landscape category 2020© Sandra Lensink
Contemporary slavery: the lost daughters of Nigeria, Rovinj Photo Days, Alessio Paduano
Winner in Documentary category 2020© Alessio Paduano
Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Portrait category 2020 © Patrick Bienert
Rovinj Photo Days Fadil Sarki
Winner in Architecture category 2020© Fadil Sarki
Rovinj Photo Days Nik Erik Neubauer
Second place in Documentary category 2020© Nik Erik Neubauer
Rovinj Photo Days Patrick Bienert
Winner in Fashion category 2020© Patrick Bienert
Rovinj Photo Days Aida Redzepagic
Winner in Nudes category 2020© Aida Redzepagic

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.

Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut
Rovinj Photo Days Armin Durgut
Third place in Documentary category 2020© Armin Durgut

 The overall winner of this year's competition is yet to be announced. The Grand Prix wins a €2,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2021, and a weekend stay in Rovinj. The Rovinj Photodays Grand Prix 2020 will be announced on Saturday 9 May on the event's website.

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