A week after the opening of its 15th edition, the popular Photo Festival from Brittany’s, La Gacilly, launched its Austrian counterpart. The aim? To exhibit, in the thermal town, thirty photographers introduced in Brittany in 2017.

One year ago, Lois Lammerhuber fell under the spell of the town from Brittany, as he discovered the Festival La Gacilly in France. When he returned home, he managed to convince Baden’s municipal team to create an Austrian version of the event. A daring gamble, made public in the midst of a a majestic inauguration evening. On June, 8th, diplomates, photographers, inhabitants, journalists and staff members of La Gacilly gathered at Doblhoffpark’s rose garden to celebrate the event. A cosmopolitan dinner, brightened up by speeches and African choirs. As in France the year before, visitors will be able to question environmental outcomes and to discover the pictures, displayed outside and following the themes “Africa”, and “Men and animals: a face to face”.

© Aida Muluneh

A revisited stroll

Walking around Baden, we rediscovered several photographers introduced in Brittany a year before from another angle. Thanks to Florence Drouet, the festival’s artistic director, who transformed the scenography. “We could not reuse all the tarpaulins. Some of them were torn, others did not fit Baden’s dimensions” Florence explains. Although some difficulties were technical, the main challenge was to adapt to the larger Austrian city.

Among the Austrian novelties, we noticed Baudouin Mouanda’s images, located at a crossing point. Not far from the market place, the large format pictures are striking and support the photographer’s point of view. The dandies of Brazzaville, members of the SAPE (Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People) are more charismatic than ever.

Another novelty: the pictures of British photographer Tim Flach float on Doblhoffpark’s pond. A convenient display, underlining the artist’s vision: to question humanity. A means to “connect the dots with nature”, as the artist said during the visit.

© Tim Flach

Phil Hatcher-Moore Kazahksran’s exhibition Les fantômes du nucléaire (Ghosts from the nuclear power, ed.) is particularly striking in this Austrian edition. The photographer displays his work in long abandoned space. His images on the consequences of nuclear tests become there an immersive experience. By wandering in damaged rooms, we enter the victims’ homes : a moving portrait standing on a sink, or landscapes hung on a faded wallpaper take us on a journey to Kazakhstan.

Another change from this foreign edition is the apparition of a new photographer in the programme, Pascal Maitre. A tribute to this friend of Lois (the director of La Gacilly Baden), who was the one who introduced him to the Festival from Brittany.

The stroll Lois, Florence and their teams created in Baden is a success. Far from a mere copy, the Festival was truly rewritten, and managed to subtly arrange the images within nature. An event which – hopefully – will launch many more in this conservative country.

© Phil Hatcher Moore

© Baudoin Mouanda

© Brent Stirton

© Paras Chandria

© Eric Pillot

© Hélène Jayet

© Girma Berta

© Aida Muluneh

Image d’ouverture © Jean Depara