what stands between us

For its upcoming edition, which opens in March 2025, EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography 2025 is once again inviting the city’s museums, exhibition spaces, municipal and private galleries, project spaces, and (art) universities to submit projects and get involved in the biennial photo festival. The EMOP Berlin team is open to all proposals, which will then be reviewed by a jury. It’s particularly looking forward to receiving submissions that inquire into the medium of photography with questions that tie in with this year’s EMOP Berlin leitmotif – what stands between us. The festival team is working on various programme points to guide you through the festival month, throughout which the focus will once again be on the projects of our partner institutions. With these, EMOP Berlin 2025 aims to present the city of Berlin as a hub for discourse on the medium of photography.

In response to current ongoing global conflicts, a kind of “exhaustion of change” (Steffen Mau) has been diagnosed, and not in German society alone. Yet in contradiction to this, we allow ourselves, more than ever before, to be drawn in emotionally and polarized by the images and texts accompanying these events and crises. Nationalist tendencies, conspiracy theories, disillusion with the state, right-wing violence, stricter asylum policies, and the increasing fortification of Europe’s external borders, etc. represent only one cross-section of dangerous political currents quite apart from authoritarian regimes and ongoing wars. These are evidence that democracies are in danger and that their foundations, even in Europe, are more fragile than we previously thought and need to be reinforced again and again. 
People want to use their own voices – and images – to counter the growing social divide. But what, actually, can we still learn and say with images, especially photographic ones? And isn’t it the camera that stands between us? It records incessantly and reinforces the respective certainties on countless platforms and in their bubbles. Photographic images deepen divides, express dissent, and often become a medium of polarization themselves – just think of the recent debates surrounding AI-supported or AI-generated images.

With its leitmotif what stands between us, EMOP Berlin 2025 invites museums, exhibition spaces, municipal and private galleries, project spaces, and (art) universities to submit exhibition projects as contributions to the festival month that present photography (once again) as a project capable of describing social reality. what stands between us offers space in what are mainly documentary projects to observations, experiences, expectations, hopes, and fears over various conflicts; it seeks to use photographic images to present dialogue as a means of countering the ongoing mechanisms of polarization.