70 years later, the world's largest photo exhibition Photokina is closed

70 years later, the world’s largest photo exhibition Photokina is closed

Photokina has announced that the biennial photo exhibition in Cologne will be closed after 70 years. Explaining emails were sent out to exhibitors on the morning of November 27, followed by a press release. In March, we wrote that due to the quarantine measures caused by the coronavirus, Photokina will not take place this year.

The organizers argue that the total closure was not directly caused by the pandemic, although it did lead to the cancellation of Photokina 2020. It’s just that the photo market has already undergone serious shocks: it has been contracting at a rapid rate every year for some time. 2020 just amplified this effect and led to a sad decision.

“With the further slump in the imaging markets, Koelnmesse while I decided to stop organizing Photokina at its site in Cologne. “Unfortunately, current industry conditions do not provide a viable basis for a leading international exhibition of photography, video and images, – Koelnmesse President and CEO Gerald Böse said. – This sharp break after 70 years of joint history was very difficult for us. It is very painful for us to observe the trend in this industry, with which we have always maintained a close and trusting relationship. But we were faced with a situation where we made a clear and honest decision not to continue this event, a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative. “

The press release begins with the fact that the organization of events has been suspended until further notice, that is, the possibility of the return of the exhibition is not excluded. However, it is hardly worth cherishing hopes on this score. The next Photokina show was scheduled for May 18-21, 2022. Now it obviously won’t take place anymore. In fact, this makes The Photography Show in the UK the largest photography show in Europe. But how things will develop after January 1, 2021 is a big question.

“Even before the COVID pandemic began-19, the photo market has already undergone serious shocks, with the annual decline in double-digit numbers. This trend has intensified significantly in 2020, with a 50% decline recorded recently. This has had a profoundly devastating effect on Photokina lately.which has been held in Cologne since 1950 and has been a leading platform for the imaging industry for generations and has been one of the most supportive and emotionally charged brands in the world of trade shows. “

It is not surprising that Photokina has come to this life. Back in 2017, it was announced that Photokina would be downsizing its staff and moving from a two-year event cycle to an annual one – even then it was perceived as the beginning of the end and the desire of the organizers to do everything possible to stay relevant. Ultimately, they were never able to move to an annual cycle. After 2016, the show took place in 2018, and then it was no longer held.

Koelnmesse made the decision in close cooperation with the German Association of the Photo Industry. Chairman of the latter Kai Hillebrandt (Kai Hillebrandt) noted: “Our partners in Cologne have done everything in their power to ensure that Photokina remained the world’s leading exhibition. However, the event, slated for 2022, could not live up to the expectations of the entire community of professionals to which these efforts were directed. That is why we, on behalf of our association, join this, unfortunately, inevitable step. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the team in Cologne for an impressive 70 years together! “”

That’s all. Unless there is a way to relaunch Photokina in the future with great fanfare and guaranteed success, there will be no more exhibit.

It is worth mentioning that The Photography Show in the UK came about after the previous major annual UK show, Focus on Imaging, was canceled in 2014 due to downsizing (both exhibitors and visitors). However, it seems to have been upgraded and is now working fine. No doubt the cancellation of Photokina will help extend the relevance of The Photography Show in the coming years, with a virtual show taking place on March 6 and 7 in 2021, followed by a regular event on September 18-21. The September show is expected to be a much larger event than in previous years as it has been moved to the larger halls of the Birmingham National Exhibition Center.

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