Backlight Photo Festival is one of the oldest and largest international photography festivals in Northern Europe. Organised once every three years by the Photographic Centre Nykyaika in the city of Tampere, Finland, Backlight exhibits contemporary photography of social and global importance.

Now in its 16th edition, the triennial stays true to its pioneering spirit in the theme for the upcoming 2020 festival: Related Realities. The 16th Backlight Photo Festival triennial establishes a presentation space for works by creators of fine photographic art and explorers of the scientific world.

Open Call

Backlight Photo Festival welcomes submissions for exhibiting work in the form of an open call. We invite artists of all ages and nationalities to submit photography and art projects related to the theme from June 1 –  October 31, 2019. Submission is open to individuals and collectives worldwide and is free of charge.

Those interested in submitting are asked to read the outline of the Related Realities theme and to submit online. Artists will need to write as part of the application an explanation for how their work fits with the theme. The “Project description” field and its “summary” are intended for this purpose.

Backlight 2020: When and where?

Backlight opens from September – October 2020 (exact dates to be announced) in and around the city of Tampere. The main venues of the triennial are Tampere Art Museum, Gallery Himmelblau and Culture House Laikku. Supporting venues (to be confirmed) include Photographic Centre Nykyaika and other galleries, as well as public spaces e.g. the Ratina shopping centre and Tampere University campus.

Works that will be shipped to the festival must be ready for shipment by June 2020 at the latest, and works that will be printed on location must be provided to the organizer also by this deadline. Backlight takes care of expenses; either the shipping of the works or printing them in Tampere depending on the size of the works and their distance from Finland. For videos and installations Backlight takes care of equipment loans such as projectors and screens. You can also contact the organizer to get more information. Contact  

How to submit?

Projects may be submitted only through the on-line application. The images must be sent together with the completed application form no later than the deadline, October 31, 2019.


  • The application form and images must be completely filled by the deadline.
  • To submit images, please submit according to the following specifications:
    • max. 10 images/application
    • max. 5MB/each application
    • accepted formats: JPG, PNG, GIF
    • image size min. of 800px on the longest side, max. of 2000px
  • To submit videos, please note that the video cannot be sent through the on-line application, please include a link to your video instead.
  • To submit an installation, please take photos or send us a detailed sketch of the work from different angles and state the dimensions (in cm)  of the installation.

Each applicant can submit up to 3 (three) projects. For each project, please complete a separate application.

Please note that workers and/or persons holding a position of trust in the organising/partnering institutions are not eligible to apply.