Far North Photo Festival set to return for its second year

Showcasing the uniqueness of northern life through a camera lens, the Far North Photo Festival returns to Yellowknife with a different look this year.

After a successful inaugural year in 2019, the visual storytelling festival will be held outdoors in 2020 to comply with Covid-19 regulations. Pat Kane, its founder, says that “presents a lot of good opportunities.”

Billed as “the only festival of its kind worldwide to feature northern artists telling northern stories in a northern city,” Far North looks to elevate the voices of storytellers and photographers across the Arctic. 


“I hope people get a sense that photography is more than just pretty pictures, it is a way for people to reclaim their own stories,” Kane said.

Spectators view art at the Far North Photo Festival in 2019. Photo: Mauricio Palos

The event will be held at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza and span 10 days from September 11-21 – a little earlier than last year, to accommodate the brisk NWT fall temperatures.

There are two categories in which photographers can submit photos: the open category, which accepts works from across the three territories, and the photo essay category, where one piece will be selected from each region of the Arctic.

Workshops will combine live-streamed webinars with “in the field” tutorials such as photo walks.  Each workshop will be based on different skill levels so there is “a little bit of something for everybody,” Kane said.


Organizers say last year more than 800 people saw the exhibit and attended workshops.

“A lot of people were really surprised at the quality of work that was shown,” said Kane.

Providing a platform for photographers to share their perspectives and experiences is a big reason why the festival is important, according to Kane.

“It’s the quality and seeing photography that is more about storytelling and showing daily life in the communities around the North,” he said, adding it’s important to showcase northern talent that may be overlooked.  


Organizers are accepting submissions until July 31. Kane encourages those who may normally shy away from submitting their work to give it a try. 

“Part of the process of photography is getting over the hesitation and being confident in your work,” he said. “We really want people to send us whatever they have.”