Photography enthusiasts in the region can look forward to meeting and learning from renowned international photographers at the 13th edition of GPP Photo Week, to be held at Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, from February 10 to February 17. The event, which is the oldest international photography festival in the region, is organised by Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), Dubai’s only dedicated photography centre.
The theme for GPP Photo Week 2017 is Take the Shot. The week will kick off with Sony PhotoFriday, featuring 12 unique 90-minute seminars, technical and inspirational talks and creative panels. Participants will also get the opportunity to view the latest photography gear and avail of free camera cleaning services and special offers by the world’s leading photography brands. The day will conclude with an open-air screening at The Yard, of acclaimed contemporary artist Hassan Hajjaj’s first film, “Karima: A day in the life of a Henna Girl”, presented in collaboration with Cinema Akil.
Throughout the week GPP will host a variety of workshops, seminars, talks and panel discussions on the latest innovations and techniques in the field, conducted by leading international photographers such as conceptual and fantastical photography expert Ben Von Wong, documentary photographers Maggie Steber and Davide Monteleone, street photographers Asim Rafiq and Zack Arias, portrait and lifestyle photographer Victoria Will, lighting expert David Hobby, travel photographer Elia Locardi, fine art, portrait and beauty photographer Sara Lando, food photographer Matt Armendariz and Adobe and Photoshop expert Rafael Concepcion.
The programme also includes photography walks, the opening of major photography exhibitions, a special edition of GPP’s popular SlideFest in which participants will have the opportunity to present their projects to a wide audience, social mixers, product launches, artists’ talks, and portfolio reviews by top photographers. This will be complimented by photography related activities in the creative spaces across Alserkal Avenue throughout the week.
The event will close with the exciting ShootOut, where three well-known photographers will race against the clock in a competition to create the best possible photograph in front of a live audience. The competitors this year are Concepcion, Hobby and Wong. The secret subject will be revealed to each photographer once they are on the stage, and they will have limited equipment and just 20 minutes to shoot and process their photograph. The winner will be decided by the live audience.
“GPP aims to nurture and develop the young photography community in the UAE and the region. The annual GPP Photo Week plays an important role in this by creating an accessible entry point into the world of photography for people from all backgrounds. The festival provides participants with a holistic photography experience, giving photographers — professionals, amateurs, and enthusiasts alike — an opportunity to engage with photography as an art form while immersing themselves in Dubai’s burgeoning arts scene and forging new connections with fellow photographers from around the world. We are happy that this year we are bringing to Dubai 11 renowned photographers who are internationally recognised for their contributions to the medium. We hope to deliver an immersive experience that will challenge people’s perceptions of photography, and that will hopefully inspire them to produce thought-provoking work,” Mohamed Somji, co-director of GPP, says.
Sony PhotoFriday seminars and talks:
The seminars and creative talks on Sony PhotoFriday include inspirational and technical subjects. The schedule is divided into four 90-minute time slots from 10am to 6pm, giving participants the opportunity to attend four different sessions during the day. Each session costs $15 (Dh55), but one free session will be offered to those who register for three sessions.
The sessions include a panel discussion with three women photographers from different parts of the world on Taking Measure | Women in Photography; a talk by Wong on Leveraging Your Art to Change the World; a talk by Elia Locardi on Pushing the Boundaries of Travel Photography and Post-processing in which he will discuss the combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, drone technology and advanced post-processing methods he uses to create his unique style of travel and aerial photography.
In other sessions famous photographers will share their experiences and offer valuable tips on subjects such as post-processing, finding inspiration for new projects, exploring food, street and portrait photography, marketing and social media strategies for photographers and ways to make a living from independent projects.
GPP Photo Week Workshops:
The workshops cover a variety of subjects and there is something for photography enthusiasts of all skill levels. The topics for advanced levels include Creating the Extraordinary out of the Ordinary, and Daring to See the World in a New Way. The workshops for beginners, confident beginners and intermediate levels include Capturing the Epic — One Step at a Time, Speedlite Bootcamp, Introduction to Off-Camera Flash, Desert Nightscapes and Post-processing, Urban Landscapes at Sunrise and Sunset, Working the Streets: A Street Photography Primer, Person and Persona: The Creative Side of Self Portrait, Adventures in Expressive Portraiture, Lightroom for Pros, 10 Portrait Retouching Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know, and Post Processing and Special Effects. Also included is a special off-site trip to the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque at Blue Hour with lighting expert David Hobby.
GPP will also host three major photography exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue during GPP Photo Week. The main exhibition, “Take the Shot”, explores the possibilities of photography through various genres, and through the perspectives of artists from the region and across the world. The works range from mobile photography and augmented reality to Instagram and web documentaries. Participants include Natalie Nacacche, who will exhibit a project that combines photography, writing and film to express the longing of Syrian refugee women for their homeland; Stacey Baker, who has transformed her Instagram documentation of New York into a photo book; and war photographer Franco Pagetti, who will present a campaign he has shot for a well-known fashion brand. Other artists featured in the show include Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Thomas Dworzack, Ammar Al Attar and Davide Monteleone.
The second exhibition will showcase the winning, shortlisted and commended images from the 2017 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition.
Madrid-based Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass will also exhibit images from her acclaimed, ongoing project, “Humanæ”, which celebrates the beauty of human skin colour. The idea behind this project is to deploy a chromatic range of skin colours by photographing volunteers of various nationalities, genders, age, race, social class and religion, and matching the background of each portrait to the skin colour of the subject.
For more information on GPP Photo Week and to register for workshops, visit www.gulfphotoplus.com/gpp
Jyoti Kalsi is an arts-enthusiast based in Dubai.