Through an International Lens: Lucca’s Photolux 2016

Self portrait by Vivian Maier

Lucca is a beautiful and grand city, forged by the contributions of natives and foreigners such as rulers Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi and Maria Luisa Bourbon. Today, the partnership continues as a visit to Lucca reveals: behind the circuit of 16th and 17th century walls, one of the city’s signature attractions, events include a festival dedicated to international photography open daily through December 11.

Photographs are moments captured, memories that create a legacy. Lucca delivers an insight into this world at Photolux, which presents prestigious exhibitions, workshops, portfolio reviews, as well as talks.


Via Guidiccioni, 188, Lucca. Open 10 am – 7:30 pm. Admission: €13.

This year spotlights the winners of the three renowned photography awards: World Press Photo 16, Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016, and Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Photography Grant 2016 with an additional showcase on the work of Vivian Maier (1926-2009), who became famous worldwide after her death.

A stark photo illustrating a man handing over a child through barbed wire paints an emotionally striking image: World Press Photo 16 prizewinner, Warren Richardson from Australia, depicts solitary refugees seeking freedom in Hungary. A series of eye-catching images ranging from nature shots to current issues such as a shoot-out in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, alternate contenders for the World Press Photo 16, are featured alongside the winning piece (Palazzo Ducale – Cortile Carrara, 1).

The theme of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016 is to establish an understanding of the human being in consideration of circumstance and environment. Winner Scarlett Coten of France dissolves the boundaries of social norms in a daring personal display of Arab men. A photo depicts a man sitting in a semi seductive pose wearing nothing but a skirt and matching heels, forcing the audience to take second glance.

The winner of the Newcomer award is Clémentine Schneidermann, a Frenchwoman known for her series “The Unbearable, the Sadness and the Rest,” set in Wales. A photo of a lone girl, win a desolate and seemingly abandoned town, turns her back against the viewer, highlighting an out of date fashion sense. Schneidermann’s melancholy depictions of children and environment portray the impact of South Wales Valley’s post-industrial social and economic problems, isolating residents from the rest of the world.

Photographs capturing the souls of everyday people, the exhibition on Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny and caregiver who took up photography as a hobby, focuses on photographic works illustrating her discoveries during her time in both America and Europe.

A simple hand turns the corner of a page. A self-portrait becomes frozen on a reflective surface. Under the shadow of a great bare tree with a snowy mountain background, a moment is captured under the morning sun as a quiet town waits for its residents to wake up and fill its streets. These are only a handful of the many portraits Vivian Maier painted with her camera.

Time passes by as these photos remain, exhibited without question, hungry for some kind of recognition, a pair of eyes to glance at it in all its vulnerability and glory. Photolux awaits.

For more information, visit  (grace liu)