Innova Art and Atlas of Humanity in partnership at Photokina 2018

In partnership with Martin Vegas’s hugely ambitious enterprise, Atlas of Humanity, Innova Art will present two stunning exhibitions at Photokina 2018, Koelmesse, Cologne, Germany, 26-29 September 2018. 

Atlas of Humanity presents more than 100 images by 52 photographers from around the world, both professional and amateur, that span the globe, from Armenia to Yemen and Australia to Zimbabwe. Photokina visitors will be able see the images, flawlessly printed on Innova Art media, on the Innova Art stand (A006, Hall 3.1), and also in a stand-alone exhibition on stand A002, between Halls 4 and 5. The Photokina displays are the first opportunity anywhere to see the Atlas of Humanity collection in print, rather than online.

The Atlas of Humanity project is the brainchild of the international photographer and curator Martin Vegas. We asked Martin to tell us how the project began and how it has grown. 

Innova Art: What inspired the idea for the Atlas of Humanity project?

Martin Vegas: It’s an ongoing, never-ending project that I first set up in 2015. My inspiration was the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, to help preserve and promote cultural diversity worldwide. Now, thanks to the amazing work of some hundred photographers from all over the world, the project extends to more than 400 ethnic groups, though some of the images have still to be published on the Atlas of Humanity website.

Innova Art: Once you’d had the idea, how did you begin collecting the images?

Martin Vegas: I started out by inviting photo journalists, travellers and amateur photographers whose work I knew – but in fact amassing images turned out to be much easier than the first job of deciding on the format of the project. I really didn’t expect to have so much positive feedback from the photographers who have sent me their images!

Innova Art: Is Atlas of Humanity your first experience of curating a large collection of images? Do you prefer to work with photographers you know?

Martin Vegas: Atlas of Humanity is the biggest project I’ve worked on but it’s not the first. Some years ago, I set up the photographic exhibition ImageNation in my hometown of Desenzano del Garda, in Italy. The idea was to show the work of national and internationally-known photographers in the city in which I lived, but it just grew and grew. I took ImageNation to Paris, where it drew an international audience. Paris is now the home of the project – I first met Innova Art at Paris Photo – but ImageNation also extends to Arles and Venice.

Some of the contributing photographers I know well. Having organised so many exhibitions over the years has meant I travel a lot and meet photographers in a great many places and variety of contexts. With others I exchange tons of emails so I guess I could say I know them all!

Innova Art: Are there any particular photographers of note who have contributed to the project?

Martin Vegas: The aim of the Atlas of Humanity project is to present a ‘choral’ idea of humanity. There are many established photographers, but also some amateurs. The project focuses on the images rather than the photographers – the diversity of the subjects rather than the photographers’ particular, individual approaches.

Innova Art: How comprehensive would you like the project to be and are you encouraging other photographers to contribute to help expand it?

Martin Vegas: We’re hugely ambitious! We all have the right to dream and my dream is to encompass the entire diversity of humanity. Anyone willing to share their interest in our common humanity can contribute.

Innova Art: This project has big aims but is it political?

Martin Vegas: In an age when nearly all armed conflicts are taking place within, and not between, states, and politicians are talking about strictly policing borders, even building walls, Atlas of Humanity is proudly non-political. The same can be said in respect of the 100-plus contributors from around the world who participate in the project.

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To view Atlas of Humanity, visit the Innova Art stand A006, Hall 3.1, and the exhibition on Stand A002, between Halls 4 and 5. Both Martin Vegas and the Innova Art team will be on hand to offer insights into the making of the exhibition; Martin welcomes approaches from photographers who may be interested in adding their work to the collection.

Innova Art celebrates 15 years in the digital media industry in 2018. To find out more about the Innova Art range at Photokina, contact Kirsty-Anne Ward, Marketing Manager;