Tariq Saeed Allay and Alia Al Suwaidi from Sharjah Government Media Bureau at the press conference to announce details about the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah.

Sharjah: A total of 70 world-renowned photographers will showcase their vivid and compelling images at the sixth edition of Xposure International Photography Festival happening at Expo Centre Sharjah from Feb. 9 -15.

Sharjah is bringing “photography’s powerful role as a tool for change, illuminated through 28 inspirational talks while expert-led educational workshops will elevate the learning experiences of professionals and photography enthusiasts.”

Organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), Xposure 2022 will also raise awareness on marine conservation with Xposure’s first-ever International Ocean Conservation Summit that will be held on February 10, under the theme ‘Saving our Oceans’.

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Held in partnership with the International League of Conservation Photographers, the summit will bring together environmental activists, passionate explorers, and photographers, and changemakers from around the world to lead nine insightful panel discussions on lasting solutions and everyday acts to protect the environment, organisers said.

The international festival’s seven-day programming agenda also includes announcement of winners of the Independent & Freelance Photojournalist Award and Xposure Photography and Film Awards. For the 2022 edition, the Xposure awards received 14,998 entries from 126 countries.

The details of the sixth edition of the annual festival were revealed during a press conference organised by SGMB on Thursday addressed by SGMB director general Tariq Saeed Allay and SGMB director Alia Al Suwaidi.

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Tariq Saeed Allay from Sharjah Government Media Bureau talking to media about the at the press conference to announce details about the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah. Image Credit:

Allay said: “Today marks a new era for Xposure International Photography Festival as it bolsters its status as an international platform and discusses the future of humanity and the fragility of our planet through the lens of award-winning photographers, thought leaders and changemakers. Photography is a powerful tool for change, and we believe that photographers who champion humanitarian causes, are changemakers too.”

Al Suwaidi added: “Over the years, Xposure has gained a formidable reputation as comprehensive, international platform for photography experts to share their experiences and stir the consciousness of viewers. Audiences gain the opportunity to dive into the exceptional visual storytelling of renowned photographers and can stay up to date with the latest photography techniques and equipment. The festival combines theoretical and experimental education and provides an opportunity to purchase artwork with proceeds donated to charities”.

Extraordinary images

The exceptional talents and extraordinary images of photographers worldwide are celebrated in Sharjah each year through the Xposure Photography and Film Awards. This year, the award received as many as 14,998 entries from 126 countries, including Switzerland, Greece, Canada, Germany, Finland, Italy, and Chile. Representing a 58 per cent increase over five years, the highest number of submissions this year came from China, India, Iran, Russia, Egypt, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the UAE.

Entries were evaluated by 21 renowned photographers in the categories of: Portraiture, Architectural Photography, Drone Photography, Short Film and Moving Image, Junior Category, Travel Photography, Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Photojournalism, and an exclusive category for Sharjah Government Employees.

US15,000 award

On February 10, Xposure will award US$15,000 to the first winner of the Independent & Freelance Photojournalist Award, which was announced by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, to recognise and reward independent and freelance photojournalists who endeavour to take images to support news stories and to bring awareness of urgent issues from around the world.

The award received 133 entries from 51 countries comprising 1,265 pictures. Topping the list for highest number of entries are Spain, France, and the UK, followed by Syria, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, and the UAE. Prominent jurors of the award included Pollack Kira, Lars Boering, Aidan Sullivan, Ray Wells, and Muhammed Muheisen.

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Alia Al Suwaidi from Sharjah Government Media Bureau speaking at the press conference to announce the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah.

Visionary photographers

The public is invited to step into the fascinating worlds of visionary photographers who will share their unique perspectives and experiences at Xposure this year. Prominent names include Steve McCurry, best known for his iconic picture taken in 1984 of an Afghan girl; James Nachtwey, celebrated photojournalist, and war photographer; Laurent Ballesta, the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for 2021; Brian Skerry, specialising in marine wildlife and underwater environments; and Joel Sartore, founder of The Photo Ark, which documents endangered animals and species in human care.

Organisers added: “Visitors at Xposure can also step into the aesthetic and emotionally compelling stories shared through more than 1,600 visual narratives and presented via 45 solo and group exhibitions. The stories span a broad spectrum of topics ranging from conflicts, natural disasters and disease to the serene environments of picturesque landscapes and the creatures that dwell within it.”

Inspiring talks

Meanwhile, budding shutterbugs of all age groups will be inspired to take forward their photographic goals through the 28 inspirational talks hosted at Xposure by renowned international photographers who will share their understanding of the world and the influences that have shaped their extraordinary journeys.