Photokina on Indefinite Hiatus As 2020 and Years of Flagging Camera Sales Put the Expo’s Future Into Question


Some pretty sad news hit the photography world last week and that was the announcement that the long-running photography industry convention Photokina is “discontinued indefinitely.”

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels.

Reading between the lines, many are interpreting this as the end of Photokina though that might not necessarily be the case.

Plus, it isn’t like Photokina has had the easiest past couple of years. Photokina 2020 was already plagued by major names withdrawing from the show before it was finally canceled in March of this year because of the novel coronavirus global pandemic. In other words, the writing was somewhat on the wall for one of the industry's oldest shows.

The press release reads in part:

“After 70 years, decreases in the imaging market force a hard cut

In view of the further massive decline in markets for imaging products, Koelnmesse has decided to discontinue organising photokina at its Cologne location for the time being. “Unfortunately, at present the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging,” according to Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. ‘This hard cut after a 70-year shared history was very difficult for us. The trend in this industry, with which we have always had a close and trusting partnership, is very painful for us to witness. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision against continuing this event, a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative.’”

In an email thanking participants obtained by PetaPixel, Photokina writes, “We would like to thank you very much indeed, for your longstanding loyalty to photokina and the enthusiasm that this has involved…We can hardly put into adequate words the things we have experienced together, the history we have written together, and our appreciation for your work for and participation in photokina.”

You can read the press release here.

What do you think of Photokina’s hiatus? A sign of the times or expected given the challenges presented by COVID-19 for events such as large expos? Were large industry conventions on this scale on their way out already? Do you see some kind of online format replacing these events in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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