The programs section presents new exhibitions, awards and an extensive talks program, all of which showcase the diversity and latest developments of the photography and digital art world. This section brings together leading international figures from across the art world, including artists, curators and collectors.


© 2024 Insights Installation Shot

Launched in 2016, Insights, is an exhibition focusing on a particular theme or an important moment in the development of photography. Each year PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai commissions a curator to offer a new perspective on photography. 

For this year’s Insights sector, entitled Softness, three galleries from the United States are brought together by PHOTOFAIRS New York Director Helen Toomer to present innovative and multidisciplinary works united by themes of malleability and softness. Ranging from portraits focusing on the delicate forms of the human body and the tenderness of interpersonal interactions, to landscapes highlighting the gentle beauty of the fauna and flora, the exhibition evokes ‘the power of art to bring comfort and reprieve through a multi-sensory experience’.

Previous exhibitions include “Listen, Listen to the World”, curated by independent curator Yang Zi and supported by Insights lead partner The New York Times Life and Arts China(2023), “Imaging Our Futures”, curated by He Yining (2021),  “Fieldwork”, curated by Deputy Director of Para Site (Hong Kong) Claire Shea (2019), and “The Same But Also Changed”, curated by Victor Wang (2018).


© 2024 Culture Spaces Installation Shot

Since its founding in 2014, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai has firmly embedded photography and visual art within Shanghai’s cultural DNA and has been deeply involved in fostering the growing enthusiasm for contemporary photography in China. Launched in 2023, Culture Spaces sector further highlights the important role of museums, institutions, and cultural organisations in the development of photographic art. 


Conversations is a series of talks between artists, curators, gallerists and arts professionals that bring an in-depth look  at key themes and ideas shaping photography and digital art today. 

Guests for the previous edition included Isabella Tam (Associate Curator at M+ Hong Kong), Lisa Springer (Photography Curator V&A), Wang Jun (collector), Yang Fudong (artist), Wang Bing (artist), Gu Zheng (critic), among others.

ONLINE exhibitions

@Chen Wei, New Gates, 2020. Courtesy of ShangART Gallery(Shanghai, Beijing & Singapore

Curated by PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai, this new initiative invites galleries and publishers to present wonderful photography and publications related to a specific theme.

The first online show, Wanderings, featuring nearly 30 photographs and videos, and over 20 photography publications from past exhibitors. The aim of the exhibition is to take a wander, to roam, or even find exile across physical/imaginary spaces through the artists’ creative visions.

The second online exhibition, The Boundary of Drifting, and puts a spotlight on 24 photographic works and 14 photographic publications. The works not only present technologies that are both iterative and intertwined, but also pay attention to the fluid, superimposed, and multifaceted expressions behind them. 


Exposure Award 2021 both
© 2021 Exposure Award Installation Shot.

Partnering with Modern Eye, the Exposure Award aims to support galleries and their emerging artists. Set up in 2019, the Award has celebrated photo-based artists pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium and are innovators in their technique, concept, and approach. Applications are judged by an expert panel of individuals – all leading voices in their sphere of expertise within the photography industry. 

Previous winners include Cao Shu (2021), presented by Hive Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), Xu Guanyu (2020), presented by Gaotai Gallery (Urumqi), and Noémie Goudal (2019), presented by Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris). The successful galleries received a complimentary 20sqm stand at the Fair. Further details for Exposure Award 2022 will be announced soon. 

winners of Past Years

Cao Shu

Xu Guanyu



2021 Spotlight Booth
© 2021 Spotlight Installation Shot.

Spotlight’s main objective is to highlight an artist whose works are of particular importance to contemporary photography. Past exhibitions have featured Hu Jieming (2021), Marina Abramović (2019), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (2018).

Exhibited Artists

Hu Jieming


Hiroshi Sugimoto

Ren Hang