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Gulf Photo Plus Photo Week: What to expect

Give your hobby or profession a boost with this six-day artistic fest at Al Serkal Avenue

Image Credit: Tasneem Alsultan
A Syrian refugee walks in a graveyard in Hashimi, Jordan. Photographer Tasneem Al Sultan is one of the experts participating in Sony PhotoFriday. There are four time slots across the day, and three different talks happening in parallel during each slot. Eachsession costs Dh45.

Lying in wait for the sun to slice through morning fog and light up the street. Capturing a drop of water falling through space for all eternity. Saving the smile of that old lady down the street.

If you are passionate about gathering precious moments and keeping them for posterity, Gulf Photo Plus (GPP Photo Week), which runs from February 7-12 at Al Serkal Avenue, is the perfect place to be.

The annual event, which is in its 14th year, is loaded with exhibitions and photo walks, workshops by professionals and product launches. Whether the term shutter speed to you is just a number or is calculated with mathematical precision, you’ll find like-minded peers and ways to help you at your hobby or profession.

Mohammad Somji, co-director of Gulf Photo Plus, tells Gulf News tabloid! in an email interview that the lure of photography lies in its layers.

“It’s honest and misleading at the same time,” Somji says. “There’s something very genuine about photography that I find incredibly empowering, and yet it has also taught me in a way no other medium has that the story you tell is all about the angle you choose to tell it from. I have the ability, through the lens of my camera, to discuss issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

The Dubai-based photographer, who specialises in architecture, interior and editorial photography, details the attractions of the festival, and why this year’s theme — shift your focus — makes for a good mantra.

What’s new? Besides the venue, called Concrete.

“This year [there are] several new photographers to GPP Photo Week 2018 including Hugh Kretschmer, Nick Fancher, Tanya Habjouqa, Toufic Araman, Shannon Ghannam, and Teru Kuwayama,” he says. “We’ll be utilising the space to host one of our GPP featured exhibitions, a range of the latest photo gear on the market, and our Spotlight programming [a series of free photography talks and activations held throughout the week].”

Must-see exhibitions

“They’re all within a five-minute walk of each other, so there’s no excuse not to see them all,” says Somji. Beyond Here is Nothing by Laura Al Tantawy, “centred on the idea of home, loneliness, and the search to belong”; Khalik Allah’s Souls Against the Concrete; first-ever outdoor exhibition in the Yard by Jalal Sepehr; and a selection of afrofuturist work by Osborne Macharia in Warehouse 61 all come recommended.



What is Sony PhotoFriday?

“It’s a single day filled with 12 different 90-minute seminars, talks, and panels led by some of the biggest regional and international photographers in the business,” explains Somji. “We’ve got Tasneem Al Sultan talking about Storytelling in Wedding Photography, RC Concepcion demonstrating how to revolutionise your work with Photoshop; Brian Smith discussing his experiences photographing celebrities, and much more.”


Here are five workshops to attend at the GPP Photo Week:

1. Conceptual Photography with a Twist with Hugh Kretschmer

This three-day session with the award-winning photographer comes recommended for the photographer who wants to take his/her hobby forward. A person will go through all the stages of creating photo, from ideation to editing the image. Bear in mind, not everyone can get into this class, so bring your A-game.
When: February 7-11
Cost: $1,125 (Dh4,131, including VAT)
Portfolio submission required

2. Walking on the Wild Side with Maggie Steber

Named National Geographic Woman of Vision, Steber asks students to delve into mystery and explore enigma through their lenses. Another one for the well-practised.
When: February 7-12
Cost: $1,100 (including VAT)

3. Anatomy of a Beauty & Fashion Shoot with Toufic Araman

How to style a fashion shot — that’s what this award-winning photographer is willing to teach you. Bring your credentials to the show, only serious photographers allowed.
When: February 8-10
Cost: $950
Portfolio submission required

4. Developing Your Personal & Long Term Projects with Tanya Habjouqa

As the name suggests — this is all on you; your goals, aspirations and the impact you want to make on the world with your work. Habjouqa will discuss visual storytelling, photography as an intellectual pursuit, political photography, and new approaches to storytelling, among other topics during this five-day workshops.
When: February 7-12
Cost: $1,200

5. Person and Persona with Sara Lando

Learn the technical intricacies of taking a self-portrait in this day-long workshop.
When: February 10
Cost: $375

Don’t miss it!

GPP Photo Week runs from February 7-12 at Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai. For more information go to