The inaugural international photo festival in Bolivia took place during the autumn of 2022, in the city of Santa Cruz. The event was orchestrated by the Manzana 1 Gallery, operating under the leadership director Ejti Štih and creative director Matjaž Krivic.
The festival managed to achieve the seemingly impossible. It drew the attention of some of the foremost figures in the world of documentary photography, welcomed thousands of enthusiastic visitors, and engaged over 100 local photographers. Despite the challenges posed by “el paro, a period marked by protests and a complete standstill of public life for 36 consecutive days” Santa Cruz became a dynamic center where, for the first time in history, international and local photographers could meet, create together, and learn from each other. The city came alive with a vibrant displays of photography exhibitions, conferences, lectures, workshops, portfolio reviews, film and photo screenings, guided tours, and networking events. Photographers from all corners of Bolivia converged upon Santa Cruz for an entire week, filling the city with creative energy. Through the personal dedication of photographers, guests and attendees, the festival’s organizers succeeded in empowering the photography community within Bolivia and forging valuable connections within the international photography scene.
James Wellford, Senior Photography Editor at National Geographic, captured the essence of the event in few words: “We had the opportunity to participate in one of the most intriguing photo- press events in the world at this moment.”