Martin Mulik


International Portrait Photography Competition

Dresden, famous pioneer city of photography. And nearby: Hellerau, Germany’s first garden city. The Festspielhaus Hellerau has been perched on Dresden’s “Green Hill” for over 100 years. Since 2015, it has been hosting the PORTRAITS – Hellerau Photography Award.

Here, photographers from all over the world apply, translating the themes of our time into portraits. Their works are shown in the Festspielhaus and, since 2017, at other extraordinary locations across the Saxon capital: in small galleries, abandoned industrial buildings, in studios and museums. Over the past four years, we have presented more than two hundred photographers from more than 35 countries in 25 different exhibitions.

Two jurors of the first PORTRAITS competition, photographer Matthias Creutziger and art historian Dr Katja Schumann in 2015 summed up what the Hellerau jury is looking for:

  1. At best, photos should emphasize the character of the model, being true ‘psychograms’…
  2. We expect a new visual language that tries to disrupt any former paradigm.
  3. We want to feel what kind of photographer is behind the camera, too.
  4. We don’t understand fashion photography, neither old nor new.
  5. Sheer professionalism is too little.
  6. Mere beauty is not enough.
  7. We expect true passion – through the medium of photography.



The current competition features photography dealing with COUNTERPARTS. The deadline is November 29, 2021.

With the current theme COUNTERPARTS, after one and a half pandemic years, many current photographic series are about self-images, introspective self-portraits, counter-designs – but also about ‘the opposite’, about the other, the opposing part… Here we are looking forward to submissions in their entire aesthetic variety. At the PORTRAITS Awards, the term ‘portrait’ is interpreted very broadly: it ranges from group photography to artistic experiments that generally deal with the human image, to powerful documentary series and classic nude photography…

The jury will meet in early December and select the finalists whose works will be exhibited in April 2022 in the Grand Annual Exhibition. A generous sponsorship allows us to offer finalists the production of their works for free – the prints are produced in a Dresden specialist laboratory. Of course, you can also exhibit works you have produced and finalised yourself. On April 7, 2022, the winners of the PORTRAITS – Hellerau Photography Award will be announced.



1st Prize
5,000 EUR

2nd Prize
2,000 EUR

3rd Prize
1,000 EUR

4th Prize

Invitations to various solo exhibitions in Dresden



In 2022, we will again organise individual satellite shows in addition to the »Big Annual Exhibition« in the Dresden city center. Starting in April 2022, the Festspielhaus Hellerau will be showing the works of the current residency prize-winner Natalia Kepesz (PL) side by side with the series submitted by the new residency prize-winner.