I had the pleasure of participating in the PhoS2017 Street Photography Days – Athens Street Photography Festival last weekend as a lecturer and as a member of one of the parties (Streethunters.net) that organised the event together with iFocus, BULBphotos Collective and the SCP community. Phos is the Greek word for “Light“.
PhoSAthens (#PhoSAthens), as we like calling it for short, is the first and only free street photography colloquium in Greece, made by street photographers for street photographers. You can find more information about the festival in our official PhoSAthens press release.
I had high expectations for the festival, and I’m delighted to say they were more than surpassed! I enjoyed myself immensely and from what I heard, everyone that attended and participated really liked the experience.
Here are the reasons why I think PhoSAthens was so much fun:
Free Workshops and Lectures (and quite open as well).
Unlike most Street Photography Festivals, the PhoSAthens Street Photography Festival didn’t charge for the Lectures and Workshops. So if somebody wanted to participate in any of these workshops and lectures, all they had to do was to submit their name and show up. Because we had back to back teachings, many students went from one workshop to the next, keeping them busy for up to 12 hours a day! We even had students joining workshops they hadn’t registered for at the last minute. It was up to each workshop leader to accept the last minute participants, but from what I heard, nobody was rejected. In my opinion, the way of teaching and the whole philosophy this was based on reminded me a lot of Ancient Athens and how freemen could learn by going from one lecturer to another and just accumulating knowledge.
Even though workshops and lectures were professionally presented, there was always an air of friendliness and openness as if friends met for a chat.
This is something that I felt at least. I didn’t feel like there was an invisible barrier between teacher and students. For me, it felt as if we were all friends, chatting and sharing our experiences and our knowledge. Of course the lecturers had a little more to offer since it was their job to share their knowledge, but there was no visible distinction between participants and lecturers or students and teachers.
Teachers taught in one class and were taught in another.
I really enjoyed this part of the Festival. As Lecturers we also taught each other! We all shared our knowledge between us. I would participate in someone else’s workshop as a student and another lecturer would participate in my workshop as my student. I was honoured to teach my techniques to established street photographers and to receive tips and tricks and most of all to be taught another way of thinking from the same people I taught earlier on. This was truly a lovely experience. A true eye opener.
Free participation to Contests.
Anyone that wanted to participate in the Contests of the PhoSAthens 2017 – Athens Street Photography Festival didn’t have to pay to enter. All submissions were free! How cool is that?
Free Portfolio Reviews.
Anyone that wanted their work reviewed by a Lecturer could register for a portfolio review for free and show up with their work and have it examined.
We met at the Booze Cooperativa bar/gallery every night for drinks.
Every night was a party night. After 12 hours of daily photography sessions, workshops and lectures, we would meet at the main venue of the festival and drink, have fun and just enjoy ourselves. I suppose this is something that happens in most Street Photography Festivals, but I just felt that at PhoSAthens 2017 this happened more than what I expected. The energy every night was simply amazing!
What is in store for the future of PhoSAthens?
Well certainly there will be many more Festivals to follow! On Monday morning, November the 13th, we already had our first meeting to brainstorm about PhoSAthens 2018 (#PhoSAthens2018)! New ideas have being shared and the future looks like it will be very interesting. I will not reveal anything to you right now, but we will be releasing relative news during the next few months, so make sure you stay tuned so you don’t miss any announcements. Alternatively you can also visit http://www.phosathens.info/ regularly.
Want to share your ideas?
If you are one of the lucky ones that attended the street photography festival and feel that you would like to share some ideas with the PhoSAthens organisers, please feel free to either share your ideas here in the comments or email us at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org (emails are not links to avoid them being picked up by spambots, so please copy paste into your mail app). We would love to hear all about your ideas, suggestions and complaints. If you are not following PhoSAthens on Facebook, please connect here https://www.facebook.com/PhosAthens to get notified by anything new directly in your Facebook feed.
Do you want to sponsor a future PhoSAthens Street Photography Festival?
If you would like to sponsor a future PhoSAthens Street Photography Festival in any way, then all you have to do is to email us at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you write “PhosAthens 2018 Sponsorhip” in the subject.
I would like to personally thank everyone that participated in the Festival! I would like to say a big hello to all the new friends I made and to express my gratitude for meeting up with old friends, some of which I hadn’t seen for as long as 2 years. The PhoSAthens Street Photography Festival was a great hit because of all of you amazing people that participated, each and everyone of you sharing your own Phos (light)! Until next time.
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!