Looking at the World With New Eyes

Lodi’s Ethical Photography Festival returns with over 100 photographers from all over the planet to look at the world and its stories from unprecedented points of view.

Tik Tok in Kham, 2021. Xiangyu Long

Lodi returns to look at our world and its unique, exciting and necessary stories in the 13th edition of the Festival di Fotografia Etica (the Ethical Photography Festival).

The world in continuous and rapid change is frozen by photography which captures significant moments and helps us to look around us with new eyes. The work of almost 100 photographers from all over the planet is featured in more than 20 exhibitions showcasing never-before-seen projects, also exhibited in open-air spaces and little-known palazzos of the small town near Milan.

The center of the festival is Palazzo Barni with the “World Report Award – Documenting Humanity,” an award selected by a jury composed of celebrated photography observers including Chloe Coleman, photo editor of The Washington Post, Gloria Crespo MacLennan, photo editor of El Pais, Alberto Prina and Aldo Mendichi, coordinators of the Festival.

Starting with the category “Master,” won by the Brazilian photographer Felipe Fittipaldi with his “Eustasy.” His project is a journey documenting the rising waters and disastrous interventions that have made Atafona, in Brazil, the most significant case of coastal erosion in the world. In the same section, Alessio Mamo received a special mention for his project “Uncovering Iraq,” a documentation of the work of a team of Iraqi and international experts to uncover mass graves in the country.

Norway’s Line Ørnes Søndergaard won the “Spotlight” category with her “The Split – A Brexit Love Story,” a visual investigation of the causes that led to Brexit, going beyond the headlines and presenting a complex narrative. The “Short Story,” won by Italy’s Isabella Franceschini, features “Becoming a Citizen,” an extraordinary tale of young citizens upholding democratic values and in particular of Michelle, a girl only 15 years old, the “youngest mayor in Italy” and the first to become a regional councillor in the children’s council, an advisory body, established by law, made up of children who periodically meet to develop proposals to improve the quality of life for all.

Valentin Goppel from Germany won the “Student” category with his work “Between the Years,” which depicts German youth during the pandemic.

Becoming citizen, 2019, photo by Isabella Franceschini. © Isabella Franceschini.

There are many new features this year, starting with the World Press Photo hosted at the Bipielle Arte space with almost 150 images from five continents. The world’s most famous international photojournalism and documentary photography competition, which has been held for over 50 years and is organised by the World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam, landed in the city of Lodi, the only Italian stop of the tour, which touches over 100 cities worldwide.

Great attention, as always, has been paid to the section “A Look at the World,” which can be visited at the Palazzo della Provincia, and which offers two routes realised in collaboration with Agence France-Press through the eyes of various photojournalists who recount some of the most relevant international issues such as the war in Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan one year after the Taliban seized power.

This year’s Spazio Approfondimento hosts the project by “Vital Impacts,” by a group of photographers from National Geographic magazine, invited by Ami Vitale, who team up to come to the rescue of nature and make us reflect on the many problems afflicting our planet.

It is a journey around the world to discover exotic landscapes, endangered animals, and distant and little-explored lands to get to know the men and women who work every day to preserve species and safeguard our planet. Part of this exhibition has been installed outdoors, in the public gardens of Lodi, and can be visited freely.

The non-profit space in the cloister of the former Gorini hospital this year hosts photographer Sebastian Gil Miranda with “Ballet against Bullets,” a project that aims to foster the empowerment of girls by offering opportunities for growth, learning and social transformation through dance and other artistic, cultural and sporting educational activities. Also at the Gorini hospital, the Italian Gianluca Colonnese presented “Amina – La donna che insegna a volare,” which explores the theme of violence and discrimination against women regardless of their religious faith, and the Italian Giovanni Diffidenti for Parkinson Italia Onlus with the project “Non chiamatemi morbo” (“Don’t Call Me Disease”).

Uncovering Iraq, 2021. Photo by Alessio Mamo. © Alessio Mamo.

For the section “The Lives of Others,” Palazzo Modignani’s thematic space hosts six photographic projects. Erika Pezzoli with “Artemis,” illustrates the story of young Carola who is one of the 2% of female hunters in the Aosta Valley who has chosen to consume almost exclusively the meat of the animals they hunt. Xiangyu Long with “TikTok in Kham” allows viewers to embark on a peculiar journey to discover how a seven-second video uploaded on TikTok turned a yak herder from Tibet into an online celebrity overnight, producing a profound impact on his home village. Barbara Davidson with “Valeries and Henry: Unhoused but Unbroken” follows the story of two of the 65.000 homeless people in Los Angeles, from their marriage to their removal from the park where they were residing, from their new life in a van to their return to street life. Canadian Tim Smith with “In The World But Not Of It” takes us to meet the Hutterites, a group of pacifist Anabaptists whose roots go back to the 16th century Reformation and whose culture is preserved through self-sufficiency, thanks to spontaneous isolation from society. The Russian photographer Misha Maslennikov shows us a very realistic glimpse of what life is like in the Russian steppe, in “The Don Steppe,” and Thomas Morel-Fort captures the lives of undocumented Filipino workers employed in the homes of the wealthy in Paris and on the French Riviera in “Woman, a Filipina Life of Sacrifice.”

Throughout the weeks of the festival, the exhibitions also provide the backdrop for a rich program of events, meetings with photographers, and in-depth discussions of this edition’s themes.

All stories are welcome at the Lodi Festival, and this edition is characterized by its heterogeneity of genres, chronicles and geographical origins. Citizens and enthusiasts are also invited to take part. At the same time as the Festival, the circuit of photographic exhibitions “FFE – OFF” will disseminate – without thematic or genre constraints – the works of anyone who wants to propose their creations in shops, bars, restaurants, galleries, cultural clubs and public areas of the city.

The 13th edition of the Festival della Fotografia Etica can be visited until 23 October in Lodi at various venues around the city; subscriptions to visit on all days start from €20. More information at festivaldellafotografiaetica.it

Gianmaria Biancuzzi is executive editor of Milano Art Guide.