18 January 2014


Call for submissions: An Ocean of Possibilities

Noorderlicht 2014 focuses on restless spirits. In a contemporary parallel to the vision of the Frisian author Jan Slauerhoff, the main exhibition looks at people around the world who want to think ‘outside the box’ and who, dissatisfied with the status quo, set out in search of alternatives. The exhibition will be presented simultaneously in the Fries Museum during the Noorderlicht 2014 International Photofestival and by the Singapore International Photofestival 2014. 

Alternatives: for the established politics that has taken root at all levels of the society, for a global economy that is dominated by multinational companies and short-term profits, for traditions and religions that set out limits on what is permissible, for the ubiquitous tourist industry that offers us exotic adventures choreographed down to the last detail. These well-worn paths are at the same time barriers; overcoming them on a broad scale will require a social transformation, the beginnings of which are perceptible today at many levels.

An Ocean of Possibilities turns the spotlight on people who plot their own course. They may be individuals, small communities, businesses that think in terms of sustainability, or social enterprises. Whatever their form, they set out to realize a better future, not only for themselves but also for others, even if that means an uncertain outlook. 

The subjects cited above – challenges in the fields of politics, economics, tradition, travel - are possible starting points for the photo series to be shown, although other points of departure are also welcome.

Jan Slauerhoff (1898 – 1936) is the best-known writer to come from the province of Friesland. He refused to accept the narrow minded bourgeois lifestyle, the status quo of his time, and opted for a restless, wandering life. As a ship's doctor he roamed the oceans, visiting many countries in Asia (including ‘sweltering Singapore’), South America and Africa. Was his quest for a place where he felt at home in vain? His spirit never came to rest. In the end, he wrote: 'I am at home only in my poems.' 

An Ocean of Possibilities is being jointly curated by Noorderlicht and SIPF. We are seeking to present photographers from every continent. Submissions and suggestions of photographers and curators are welcome. These can be sent to the curator Wim Melis, via ftp (see website for details) or by email to, starting from the third week of January 2014 through March 30, 2014

For Submission guidelines, click here. Please note! Due to the special collaboration with the Singapore International Photo Festival, we ask a contribution of 20 Euros per entry. Please keep an eye on our website for the procedure, it will be announced mid-January 2014.

Correspondence regarding the theme can be sent directly to the curator Wim Melis, at his email address: