Imagine visiting the town of Baden near Vienna. The sweet scent of thousands of roses, the fairy-tale like Doblhoff park, the historic little streets of the old town. And all of a sudden … the roar of a lion. The glaring stare of a white tiger. The intense look of an exotic pair of birds. The laughter and banter of a group of well-dressed African men, called “Les Sapeurs”, who for a few hours swap being poor for being glamorous, posing in front of internationally renowned street photographers.
And who have now landed themselves here, in the city of Baden, just half an hour’s drive south of Vienna.
“La Gacilly” is Europe’s largest open air photo festival. It has travelled from France to Austria, including 2.000 public photo exhibits that you may freely visit until 30 September, 2018. Do make sure you get there before it ends!
I admire the Nigerian photographer Akinleye Akintunde, who in all his modesty and open charm has won the prestigious World Press Photo Award back in 2006 for a photo he shows us in his exhibition book. Admire all of the sharpness, tragedy, dignity and uniqueness in the photographs that are exhibited here in Baden: Some of them are but one, the largest canvas print 260 square metres (!) tall! The title of La Gacilly Photo Festival is “I Love Africa”, a dedication to the entire spectrum of colours, sights & sounds of the African continent: From brutal displays of poachers, hunters and their animal trophies, to the “Swinging Sixties” and some truly remarkable, early black and white photographs from Africa, all the way to modern-day people and animal portraits, who are too unique to be described here.
You will have to go and see them for yourselves, dear readers.
My tip: Check out http://festival-lagacilly-baden.photo in terms of any news updates about Europe’s largest photo festival, hailing from the French town La Gacilly and having now moved considerably east, all the way to being exhibited here in Baden near Vienna. This, too, has impressed my friends & travel writing colleagues from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia: Check out “My Lost Hat” (Tomás Hájek from the Czech Republic), “Podrózniczo” (Marta Muszyńska from Poland), “Travellina” (Eva Kisgyory) and “Vilagutazo” (Balázs Hajabács) from Hungary, as well as “TravelPotPourri” (Ingrid Zalneva) and “Cestujemespolu” (Jozef Orgonas & Hana Organosova) from Slovakia about their impressions and insights from their trip.
Around #LaGacilly, it’s always a good idea to immerse yourself in the local vineyards, go for a bike ride, or visit the abbey of Heiligenkreuz in the Vienna Woods near Baden.
As for me, I have already been to Baden several times, recommending you for instance the famous “Genussmeile” food & wine festival, sharing my summer Casino trip here or talking to you about “the White Party Baden” (also truly worth seeing and experiencing).
What I did not experience yet, is a cycling tour through the Helenental valley, as well as some of the area’s well known vineyards at the foothills of the Vienna Woods. The local tourism manager of the city of Baden, Klaus Lorenz, himself a passionate (mountain) biker, decides to join us for the day and has us visit “Freigut Thallern”, a local wine estate which has been making wines since many many centuries, especially for the abbey of Heiligenkreuz.
Check out even more of my travel photography from our visit to Baden here:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the city of Baden on this trip to visit La Gacilly Photo Festival. All opinions are my own.