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Photokina, the world’s most prominent photography trade show, will be closing its doors “until further notice.”
Photokina was first launched in 1950, before quickly becoming a biennial fair for exhibitors – including top imaging companies – to show off their latest photography equipment to the public. The event took place in Cologne, Germany, with vendors and visitors (often in the hundreds of thousands) flocking from around the world to view class-leading photography gear.
But enthusiasm for Photokina waned in recent years, with the rise of social media and smartphone photography relegating more traditional, higher-end photography equipment to the sidelines.
While the Photokina organizers sought to combat these problems by increasing the number of events (Photokina was to become a yearly trade show as of 2018) and by broadening the definition of the event so that less traditional vendors could take part, this did little to address Photokina’s fundamental problem: the overall decline of the camera market.
As the organizers explained in the press release announcing the suspension of Photokina:
In view of the further massive decline in markets for imaging products, Koelnmesse has decided to discontinue organizing Photokina at its Cologne location for the time being…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.
They go on to explain that these problems were present long before the market’s COVID-19 downturn, and that “an event held in 2022 could not have met the expectations of the entire imaging community that those efforts were intended to serve.”
Hence the decision to shut down Photokina for the foreseeable future.
While this news is sad, especially for those who attended Photokina frequently in the past, it’s far from unexpected. As indicated by the initial adjustments to Photokina – changes began back in 2014 – the organizers were struggling to maintain interest. Then the 2019 event was dropped, and the 2020 event, scheduled for this past May, was canceled due to COVID-19.
Technically, Photokina could resume at some point in the future. But barring some sudden reversal to the camera market, Photokina is likely gone for good.
Now over to you:
What do you think about this news regarding Photokina’s suspension? Do you think the trade fair will ever come back? And are you worried about what this says regarding the overall decline of the imaging market? Share your thoughts in the comments!