Not that there are not enough reasons to visit Aveiro, on the contrary. There's a beautiful lagoon - Ria de Aveiro, plenty of art nouveau buildings, stunning beaches just 10 minutes away. However, if you are a photography lover, a traveller or simply a curious mind, you should plan your visit to this city during the National Geographic Exodus Aveiro Fest. This international festival will have its 3dr edition in 2019. It has already become well known for the amazing speakers who come to share their work, passion, and knowledge, while tackling important issues of today and offering possible ideas and solutions for a better tomorrow.
The festival lasts for 2 days and besides speaking sessions, includes master classes with several well known photographers, round tables, photo exhibitions, debates and even concerts. The organisers describe the Exodus saying that: "This festival inspires people to go, to wander, to dream and to be free. Free of doubt, free of fear, free of prejudice, free of cultural and ethnic barriers. It’s a hymn to humanity and a homage to our planet. It’s a place where we make the world accessible to all, by sharing the best photography and video works on the subject." And in fact, this happens.
At this year's edition, the audience was lucky to hear first hand stories about Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari in the Brazilian Amazon from Céline Cousteau (the equally adventurous granddaughter of Jacques) or listen about how an "ordinary" day at work of some of the best National Geographic and BBC photographers and video-makers looks like. One of the speakers was Timothy Allen, whose projects have taken him from the Himalayas to the bottom of the South China Sea, as well as to the communities of the Arctic, tropical forests and other remote locations. As if it was not enough, there was Yann Arthus-Bertrand, awarded as an "Exodus personality of the year" prize. Yann shared an inspiring story of how he founded the "Altitude" (1991), the world's first press agency specialising in aerial photography much before the drones "invaded" the skies. He told the story of filming the Human, touching and eye-opening documentary film available on YouTube and exclusively showed some sequences from the Woman, his new documentary currently in production.
Even if you are not a photographer and decide not to attend any of the masterclasses available, there is so much to learn during the festival. The speakers make us rethink our way of traveling and even of living. What they all have in common, except for excellent works, is that they do not travel just for the sake of traveling. They all travel with a mission. Traveling, therefore, is just a tool to reach a specific goal, and not a goal itself, as well as photography.
The National Geographic Exodus Aveiro Fest will take place on 30/11-01/12 2019 in Aveiro. If you were planning to come to Portugal during these days, make sure you don't miss it.
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