Photofestival 18th: “Opening up to the world: photography as a civil commitment”

18th edition

Milan and Lombardy | 15.09 – 31.10.2023

Dedicated to photography as a civil commitment, the 18th edition of Photofestival, the major annual showcase of authorial photography, returns to its now-established autumnal setting. 

For a month and a half, museums, libraries, art galleries, historic buildings, and shops will host exhibitions featuring renowned photographers and newcomers alike in an exhibition circuit that extends from Milan and its hinterland to other provinces and beyond regional borders.


From September 15th to October 31st, 2023, Photofestival, the grand showcase of authorial photography now in its 18th edition, returns with the goal of spreading photographic culture and providing new insights and opportunities to delve into the contemporary artistic language that can capture moments of history and daily life in a single frame, presenting them to the public with immediacy and disruptive force.

While Milan remains the epicenter, the event has progressively expanded to other provinces over the years, becoming an increasingly significant reference point for authorial photography, thanks to the passion of all those involved – photographers, gallery owners, cultural organizers, and commercial entities – who have contributed to its success. In 17 editions, Photofestival has organized 1,800 photographic exhibitions, involving 1,760 different Italian and foreign authors and 742 different exhibition spaces.

The customary formula of Photofestival, under the artistic direction of Roberto Mutti, includes the promotion and production of projects as well as the inclusion of independently proposed initiatives, the alternation between established photographers and emerging talents, the comparison of different languages, and holding exhibitions in art galleries, museums, libraries, shops, and public and private spaces not only in the city center but also in peripheral areas.


The theme

“Opening up to the world: Photography as a civil commitment”, which is the title chosen for this edition of the festival, aims to invite reflection on the fact that the act of photographing, when practiced with care and rigor, is not just a legitimate expression of personal creativity. It is primarily the way we observe reality, capturing its beauty and contradictions and interpreting it according to our values. A photographer knows that each of their shots is destined to be observed, analyzed, and discussed, thus contributing to a broader dialogue. For this reason, photography is inherently a way of representing one’s civil commitment, which can be expressed in various ways: from reportage to research, from portraiture to landscaping.


The coordinated image

Maurizio Galimberti, one of the most famous figures in Italian photography on the international stage, is the author of the coordinated image of Photofestival 2023 with the unique work “Piercing Gothic Duomo“, 2009, composed of 400 polaroids assembled in a mosaic with a size of 163×193 cm. Although the Milan Cathedral often appears in Galimberti’s photographs, this large mosaic emphasizes the peculiarity of a Gothic style far removed from that of the cathedrals of Northern Europe.


The “Bound Images” Award for the best book of the year 2023

The “Bound Images” Award returns, dedicated to the best photographic book of the year, organized by Photofestival to compare the different types of editorial products that publishers and authors offer to the public. The Award, now in its fourth edition and having become a significant moment of the event, provides for the assignment of two recognitions: one for classic and artist’s works and one for self-published books by authors. The competition announcement is available on the Photofestival website.

A calendar of side events accompanying the photographic exhibitions will, as always, complete Photofestival’s program, with workshops, meetings, presentations, portfolio reviews, and other initiatives.

Organized and promoted by AIF – Associazione Italiana Foto & Digital Imaging in collaboration with Impresa Cultura Confcommercio Milano and with the Main Partner PhotoSHOWall®, sponsored by the Municipality of Milan, Lombardy Region, and Metropolitan City of Milan, Photofestival is supported by individual AIFoto Partners and Sponsors, including Gruppo Cimbali with MUMAC, Coffee Machine Museum, and Fondazione 3M.



Photofestival Organizational Secretariat


Photofestival Press Office 

Up2C PR & Communication Agency

Cristina Comelli – M +39 348 5150210



Cover image: ©Maurizio Galimberti for Photofestival 2023