Photokina has announced it will be indefinitely suspending its Cologne-based event due to ‘decreases in the imaging market’ that have ‘force[d] a hard cut.’
In a press release promoted on the Photokina homepage, Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse (the organizing company behind Photokina) says:
‘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 […] 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.’
The press release goes on to explain that even without the global COVID-19 pandemic, ‘the imaging market was already subject to strong upheaval, with annual declines in the double digits.’ Despite efforts to diversify the tradeshow with ‘new exhibitor and visitor segments,’ these changes didn’t ‘fundamentally improve the situation of the event,’ according to Koelnmesse Management Board member and Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Frese. Frese goes on to say:
’While there are more photographs taken today than ever before, the integration of smartphone photography and videography, together with image-based communication, e.g. via social media, was not able to cushion the elimination of large segments of the classic market. As a result, the overall situation is not compatible with the quality standards of photokina as a globally renowned brand representing the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market.’
Ultimately, the decision fo indefinitely suspend Photokina was made by Koelnmesse ‘in close coordination’ with the German Photo Industry Association.
While the title of the press release — ’Photokina will be suspended until further notice’ — it’s clear this is a farewell for the annual photo show, which has been taking place in Cologne, Germany since 1950.