The Festival

The Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo is entering its fifth year. It appeals strongly to visitors by presenting themes of a clearly humanist orientation. In 2022 its 30 exhibitions deal with a variety of aspects in the relations between humans and their environment.

The festival extends over a length of 7 kilometres – divided into a “garden route” and a “town route”, starting from the visitor center on Brusattiplatz. Integrated into the public space are about 1,500 photographs, some as large as 280m².

It is the largest outdoor photography festival in Europe, visited by 282,607 visitors in 2021. Entry is free.

DUE NORTH is an opportunity to highlight the often little-known creative power of artists from Northern Europe who, since the dawn of photography, have maintained an almost carnal connection with the ruggedness of their homeland. For the inhabitants of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, solitude and wild nature are integral to their relationship with the world. They do not exploit the fruits of nature blindly, but try to understand how everything works and observe it with a caring eye. Their knowledge and constant desire to learn more about flora and fauna lead them to be very committed to respecting nature.

It is no wonder that the countries of the North, with their outrageous economic health, are among the most pleasant nations to live. Regularly crippled by frost and cold and accustomed to the great outdoors, they have developed a centuries-old tradition of political consensus, rejection of conflict and social development based on strict conservation of natural resources. In Copenhagen, 40% of the inhabitants cycle to work, in Stockholm the buses run on bioethanol, and in Reykjavik geothermal energy is now commonplace. Some will see the legacy of Lutheranism, others the more distant traces of the Viking tradition. You can’t survive in the far north without a certain willingness to adapt. In countries where warmth and light are vital six months out of twelve, the environment is a crucial challenge. So it is understandable that Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has become the new face of climate change for the world’s youth: she knows that melting glaciers and sea ice are not far from home and that it is not a boreal illusion. If your culture is threatened by the effects of global warming, it is your duty to alert the public.

With their different photographic approaches – some exploring the harshness of their environment, others the complexity of our modern developments – the exhibiting photographers from the High North share a vision mixed with poetry, occasionally with a touch of surrealism, but always intent on raising awareness for a better understanding of tomorrow’s world. In their own way, they are the artistic guardians of a positive civilisation.

Artists who bring Scandinavia closer to us in a very special way are: Sune Jonsson, Pentti Sammallahti, Tiina Itkonen, Ragnar Axelsson, Tine Poppe, Sanna Kannisto, Erik Johansson, Helena Blomquist, Jonas Bendiksen, Jonathan Nackstrand and Olivier Morin.

In the second narrative of the festival, two exceptional photographers shed light on the state of our environment: „This empty World“ by Nick Brandt is a striking illustration of a world in which there is barely room for animals to survive, overwhelmed by rampant human development. It is a work that asks us questions about the future of our world. And Mathias Depardon shows with „The Tears of the Tigris“ that the Garden of Eden exists – and is in danger. Ancient Mesopotamia truly embodies the immense wealth of the cradle of the ancient Sumerian and Assyrian civilisations. Located at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the largest wetland ecosystem in Western Eurasia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, is now in danger of drying up.

Imane Djamil, Florence Goupil, Brieuc Weulersse, Florence Joubert and Aglaé Bory also deal with environmental issues.

The 2022 programme is rounded off by the works of world-class Austrian women photographers: Inge Morath, Christine de Grancy and Verena Andrea Prenner – as well as a photographic tribute to „100 Years of Lower Austria“ – with the work of the only 20-year-old Gregor Schörg on the wilderness area Dürrenstein-Lassingtal, which harbours one of the largest primeval forests in Central Europe and was elevated to UNESCO World Natural Heritage in July 2017.

Culture of Solidarity is the bracket for those exhibition cooperations that the festival shows outside of Baden – in Tulln, Celje and Bratislava. It fits in well that this year, for the second time, the citizens of Baden are helping to organise the festival in a CO2-neutral way.

Festival impressions from Baden bei Wien in Austria

The Future
The 2018 Festival was the start of an exclusive cooperation of La Gacilly and Baden. The photo festival will now be held every summer, first in La Gacilly and in the following year in Baden. What you see in Baden in 2022 was shown in France in 2021 and will continue in this sequence. This opens up an opportunity to admire the world’s best photographers, first in the west of our continent and then in the heart of Europe.

JACQUES ROCHER, ©Patrick Wallet

The Beginning
Once upon a time a capable young man in Brittany began to build up a small, exquisite cosmetics business. Yves Rocher succeeded in creating a global brand with his organic products and his intelligent distribution system. The company is still based near the village of La Gacilly. Jacques Rocher, one of Yves’ sons and long-term mayor of his birthplace, had a wonderful idea. In 2004 Jacques initiated a photo festival in La Gacilly dedicated to the theme of Man and the Environment. With a firm conviction that it boosts understanding if you break down global problems to the level of the village and the family. He began by providing an opportunity for people to engage with the future of the Earth and of humanity in a comprehensible manner. To this end he harnesses the possibilities of photography, the most powerful, topical, contemporary and expressive art form of the last one hundred years. And he caught the spirit of our times.

Lois Lammerhuber © Francis Giacobetti

The Connection
Contacts between Baden and La Gacilly evolved from a friendship between Jacques Rocher and Lois Lammerhuber, a major contemporary Austrian photographer. Lammerhuber has created well over 1000 photo reports, about 250 of them for GEO magazine. Add to that 79 books and hundreds of magazine covers. In 2009, jointly with his wife Silvia Lammerhuber, he founded publishing house Edition Lammerhuber, which has since received more than 200 awards and was voted best European photo book publisher in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Lammerhuber has been a member of the Art Directors Club New York since 1994. In 2014 he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class, followed in 2017 by the Golden Medal of Honour for Services to the City of Vienna and the Grand Medal of Honour for Services to the Province of Lower Austria.

Festival impressions from La Gacilly in France

Visitor Center

Tourist Information Baden
Brusattiplatz 3, 2500 Baden bei Wien

MO - FR 9.00 - 18.00hrs
SA, SU, Holidays 10.00 – 18.00hrs
Tel: +43 (0) 2252 86800 600

Festivalbüro La Gacilly-Baden Photo
Tel: +43 (0) 2252 42269