photokina Visual Gallery

At the beginning of the year the organizers of photokina — Koelnmesse and the Photographic Industry Association — invited photographers from around the world to apply for an exhibition area at photokina 2010 in Cologne. Well over 60 photographers entered this competition in the hope of winning one of the coveted exhibition areas at the world's largest trade fair for the photography and imaging sector. A total of twelve exhibitions have now been selected. They will be presented to the public in the halls of the Cologne exhibition center from September 21 to 26, 2010.

"The broad spectrum of themes and the high quality of the submitted photographs confirmed that the decision to open this competition to create new photography exhibitions at photokina was absolutely right," said Oliver P. Kuhrt, Executive Vice President of Koelnmesse GmbH. Christian Müller-Rieker, Managing Director of the Photographic Imaging Association, also praised the submitted applications: "It was very difficult to select the best entries. Almost all of the applicants would have deserved to win."

In addition to the classic exhibitions such as the premiere of the National Geographic exhibition "The Dolomites — The Stone Heart of the World," the best images from the "Glanzlichter" (Highlights) competition and the UNICEF Photograph of the Year exhibition, which have proven to be very popular among the visitors to photokina over the past years, there will also be numerous works showing different approaches to the medium of photography, from traditional photo documentation right through to very personal and emotionally moving photo series.

The exhibition "Beyond the Evident" will present UNESCO's World Heritage Sites via digital infrared photography, enabling the observer to see the sites in a completely new light and from an unusual perspective. The panoramic photographs were created via large-format camera, a rotatable base, and an infrared-sensitive trilinear scanning system. The images reflect the mystical aura of some of the most beautiful sites in Guatemala, from pre-Columbian times to the colonial period.

The Finnish photographer Henrik Malmström will present a quiet and touching photographic essay called "On Borrowed Time." The photographs document the last months of his sister Maija's battle against cancer in a series of very intense images. Malmström's personal and sensitive approach concentrates on intimate moments, as well as the moods and emotions that are felt by a person who is faced with death. With "On Borrowed Time," photokina will present its visitors with a photography exhibition that gets under the skin.

The photographer Tim Mantoani has been occupied with immortalizing the photographers — the living legends — behind some of the world's most famous photographs. Over the last three and a half years, Mantoani has photographed 145 photographers in California and New York and told the "stories behind the photographs." The result is an exhibition of fascinating photographs and the intriguing stories "behind" the images. "This project turned into an extraordinary journey," says Mantoani. "The photographs I've taken are just a small part of all the positive things I've experienced and taken in during the project. I felt as if I had been transported into past times by the invariable generosity of the photographers from our sector who were willing to devote their time and make their photographs available to me. When I interviewed John Filo about his famous photographs of the Kent State University massacre, he explained to me that he sees his talent as a gift and believes it is his duty to share his gift with others. I felt exactly the same way about this project."

The exhibition "Stille sehen" (Seeing Silence) of works by the Dortmund-based photographer Ulrike Harbach takes a completely different approach. Through a camera obscura which was created especially for the storage area of a van, the large-format pinhole camera images were taken in the Mecklenburg Lake District in 2003. Atmospheric tone values, blurring, vignettes, and the absence of the depth perception that in focused photography helps to structure the central perspective — all of these features produce images with a structure of their very own. In the cycle "Stille sehen," Ulrike Harbach displays landscapes in a way that can only be captured through the medium of the image.

This year, visitors to photokina can also take part in an one-hour tour of the photography exhibitions providing in depth background information followed by discussions. Tour schedules will be available during Photokina. Groups are limited to 20 participants. Tickets are €5.00 per person and will be available at the official information desks.