It will be necessary to wait until Sunday, 4th, to hear the Person of the Year of the fifth edition of Exodus Aveiro Fest. Ragnar Axelsson, 64 years old, will close the international travel and adventure photography and video festival, which takes place from this Friday, 2nd, in Aveiro.
At the city’s Congress Centre, the Icelandic photographer will talk about his experience of more than 40 years photographing the most remote places in the Arctic. Author of several books, including Artic Heroesis currently working on a three-year project that documents the lives of people in all eight countries in the region.
Through his work, always in black and white, Ragnar Axelsson has shown climate change in a subtle way. “It is a documental work of awareness that closes the festival”, summarizes the director and mentor of Exodus, the travel photographer Bernardo Conde.
This year, Exodus Aveiro Fest opens a day earlier with a warm up free, which includes a lecture by the American Rick Smolan (Fri 21:30, tickets on a first-come, first-served basis), who will be one of the 14 speakers at the festival.
Among the stories that Smolan will tell the public will certainly be the one that happened to him in 1977, when, at the service of the magazine Team, was traveling around Australia reporting on the aborigines and met a woman (Alice Springs) who was preparing to travel to the Indian Ocean with four camels and a dog. The story would eventually make the cover of National Geographic in May 1978, and, years later, would give rise to the film Tracks (2013), with Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver.
“The festival’s mission has to do with valuing life as a collection of experiences”, recalls Bernardo Conde. Hence, in the panel of speakers this Saturday and Sunday, the 3rd and 4th, we will find photojournalists “who cover historical events from a social point of view”.
This is the case of Alixandra Fazzina (Sat, 4:15 pm), author of the book A Million Shillings – Escape from Somalia, in which he follows the (sometimes deadly) journey of human smuggling routes from the Horn of Africa. Or the Portuguese documentary photographer José Sarmento Matos (Sun, 3.30 pm), working between Lisbon and London, winner, among other awards, of the Estação Imagem Award in 2020 with the project Where do I belong? Abandoning the Venezuelan Dream🇧🇷
On the panel of new talents (Sat and Sun, 11.20 am), two other Portuguese photojournalists stand out: Diana Tinoco and Luís Godinho, who are part of the national participation with photographers Luísa Ferreira and Jacinto Policarpo.
Another conversation not to be missed will be that of Pippa Ehrlich (Sun, 5.30 pm), journalist specializing in the field of marine science and conservationand co-writer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Wisdom of the Octopus🇧🇷
But there are others. From the outset, big names in the magazine National Geographic: American photographers Art Wolfe (Sat, 3 pm), Michael Yamashita (Sun, 2:45 pm) or Britanny Mumma (Sun, 4:45 pm). In Aveiro, there will also be the Dutchman Pie Aerts, who documents wildlife (Sat, 7pm); Art Wolfe (Sat, 15:00), who distinguishes himself for his color and perspective photos of Nature, and the award-winning Beth Wald (Sat, 18:15), who documents cultures and environments at risk.
Exodus Fest will also feature two masterclasses with Art Wolfe and Michael Yamashita. “The mission of the festival is to inform and raise awareness”, points out Bernardo Conde, emphasizing that it is an initiative that intends to address all audiences. Although many speakers address topics such as climate change, or stories of photojournalism, Exodus wants to show that “the world continues to be a place of excellence”.
An exhibition with 110 photographs by the 14 participants of the Exodus Fest can be seen at the Centro de Congressos de Aveiro. You can also watch the festival via streaming (two-day ticket costs €40).
Exodus Aveiro Fest > Aveiro Congress Centre, Cais da Fonte Nova, Aveiro > T. 234 406 300, 91 579 6086 > Dec 2-4, Fri-Sun > €35, €70 (two days); streaming €40; masterclasses €150 > exodusaveirofest.com