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19th International Photography Biennal

Often when we talk about the Salon Europa, when it started way back in 1973 or when it was revived in 2012, we talk about the changes in society, the context of which the Salon Europa and everything to do with it forms part. But these changes are certainly not as drastic and far-reaching as those that have come about since we announced this nineteenth edition in November 2019 up to now, in May 2020, as we make up the catalogue. And we still don’t know what radical changes await us in the near future.

When we announced it last autumn we were in a world of convulsions and contradictions, as we may always have been, but it was the world we were used to, with all its virtues and its many faults. Now, as we write this presentation, we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, locked down, in a totally exceptional situation we could never have imagined just three months ago, one which will certainly change our lives and the way we see and experience our world for ever.

We have suddenly realised how fragile we are as a species within the world we thought we could dominate and manipulate, often completely irresponsibly. A world in which the few lived in obscene plenty while many more lived in the most abject misery. A world of unsustainable inequalities. Now we see that we are nothing before a particle as tiny as a virus that attacks every layer of society.

Our show, which has always been a window on the world for us, also shows us this unequal reality in which we share the planet Earth. Moreover, some of the pictures we have been sent subtly show the new reality in which we are living. Photographers have not yet had time to reflect where the current health crisis and the economic one that awaits will take us, but they will certainly do so in future editions.

When the pandemic broke out we were unsure how this situation might affect our photographers and whether it might stop them taking part. But this has not been the case: surprisingly, entries are significantly up, leading us to think that perhaps photographers, like society in general, want to lead as normal a life as possible within the abnormality of current circumstances. Perhaps, in our very modest way, we have even helped to bring a little bit of normality to the people who share with us the world of photography.

So we have received 5,927 photographs by 356 authors from 62 countries around the world. A considerable entry, so we would like to thank so many photographers for their confidence in us by submitting their work to our event despite the difficult times we are going through. Thanks also to the jury, who have agreed to adapt to a new way of making up their minds through video conferencing.

We hope to meet again in spring 2021, for the current nightmare to be on the way to being resolved and that we will gradually be returning to a normality that will certainly not be like what we have been used to.

Thank you and look after yourselves!

Josep Maria Casanoves Dolcet, AFIAP, EsFIAP
Chairmen of the Salon Europa