Gulf Photo Plus Photo Week Returns To Dubai

Jalal Sepehr
Courtesy of GPP, Dubai
Jalal Sepehr. Red Zone. 2013-15
Gulf Photo Plus’s Photo Week, initiated in 2004, continues its run as the longest and most comprehensive photography platform-cum-festival in the region for its 14th edition running 7-12 February 2018

With an exciting line up of programming running at GPP – a centre for photography – in Alserkal Avenue this February, director Mohamed Somji shares how surrounding galleries are taking part this year, what special highlights are worth catching, and a few quick tips on how to take, and look at, photography.

Harper’s Bazaar Art: Could you tell us some of the highlights to look forward to at GPP Photo Week 2018, and then give us a few quick tips for taking a good photograph?
Mohamed Somji: [Laughs] Let’s start with the easy part! We are very proud to have Tanya Habjouqa [details on her role below] – she is phenomenal not only in the work she’s doing herself, but also in being a mentor and a guide to younger photographers. She has spent a lot of time mentoring students as part of the Arab Documentary Photography Programme that happens in Beirut through AFAC, and it’s great to be able to have her here imparting her skills in a workshop. She will also be giving a talk.

The other highlight is the multitude of exhibitions happening in one physical space. You can come on the weekend for a week day and take in a wide selection of photography – almost 20 exhibitions! We have a fantastic art programme. We are showcasing some of the younger photographers who will have a Q&A with visitors on Thursday night, so that should be a good back-and-forth, and there will also be a couple of people from photography organisations from Amsterdam and New York doing portfolio reviews.

HBA: What about those three tips?
MS: How to see one or take one?

HBA: Let’s go for both.
MS: Well – just off the cuff – it has to arrest you. Stop you in your tracks, but not just for the sake of it. Photographers often use provocative elements but I don’t think you have to do that, just have an arresting quality that makes you look twice. That’s one. It has to be technically competent, so the focus can be on the content as opposed to, “It’s too dark” or what have you, and it has to speak to something. With the rise of photography, we have been too easily tempted by cliché stereotypes. What’s interesting is that people are starting to switch off from that and respond to more meaningful imagery, not just for its aesthetic or superficial characteristics. So – it has to mean something, be arresting, and technically competent. There’s no excuse now, with cameras getting easier to use and with all the AI that’s built into everything were doing…!

In terms of reading a photograph, that’s a bit different. I think there is this fallacy that “an image speaks 1000 words”. Yes it can, but I think there’s no harm or reason to shy away from having text to complement the work. You’re seeing a lot of modern photographers making interesting work using text, video and sound, or using other images to help create a more encompassing and immersive experience. It’s great and very healthy for photography to take on new perspectives or talk about things in a new way. That’s what’s exciting, and all the work we’re showing this Photo Week is marked by the fact they’re not just photos. There will be text, images printed on fabric, video… People need to start getting used to the idea of seeing photographs complimented by other forms.

Full programming of photo walks, activations, exhibitions, talks, seminars and over 31 workshops for both amateurs and professionals listed below.

Portfolio Reviews 
Attendees can book a private portfolio review session and enjoy professional feedback to help them take their photography further with Magnum Photos’ Global Education Director, Shannon Ghannam; Instagram’s Community Manager, Teru Kuwayama; and documentary photographers Tanya Habjouqa and Maggie Steber.

ART PROGRAMMING
GPP is featuring a full set of art programming during the week where participants can register to attend free artist talks, panel discussions, and enjoy a film screening featuring work by one of the exhibiting artists.

In Conversation: Jalal Sepehr
Tuesday | February 6th, 2018
6:00pm - 6:40pm

In Jalal Sepehr’s remarkable series Red Zone, traditional rugs are depicted paving a runway or a road that is sometimes obstructed and sometimes, seemingly, open to travelers. The photographer and artist will be in conversation with GPP's curator, Miranda McKee, to discuss Red Zone, which will be showcased in The Yard in Alserkal Avenue from February 6 - 12.

In Conversation: Osborne Macharia
Wednesday | February 7th, 2018
7pm - 8pm

In Osborne Macharia’s series Magadi and Nyane, striking portraits of senior women portrayed in a powerful light beg the viewer to reconsider the symbolism of power and our perception of the agents who wield it. Join Macharia in conversation with GPP's curator, Miranda McKee, to discuss his work, which comprises the exhibition Black to the Future | Reimagining Now, which will be showcased in Unit 61 in Alserkal Avenue from February 6 – 12.

Round Table Talk: Dwelling and Residue
Wednesday | February 7th, 2018
7:30pm – 9pm

Moderated by Rand Abdul Jabbar, “Dwelling and Residue” will be a round table discussion at The Third Line surrounding Tarek Al-Ghoussein's latest body of work, Al Sawaber. A documentation of a government-housing complex in Kuwait slated for demolition, Al Sawaber lends itself as a starting point to examine notions of dwelling and habitation, and their vestiges, across the urban, architectural, and socio-cultural spheres specifically within the context of the Gulf.

Slidefest: Shift Your Focus Edition
Thursday | February 8th, 2018
6:30pm - 8pm

One of GPP’s most anticipated events, Slidefest brings together five photographers to present on a myriad of personal photography projects. Both inspiring and interactive, Slidefest invites the audience to actively engage with the work by asking questions and offering feedback to the presenting artists.

Panel | Saudi Seen: Art and Documentary Photography in Saudi Arabia
Sunday | February 11th, 2018
7pm - 8pm

Too often, Saudi Arabia is shrouded by outsiders in layers of myth built upon misguided assumptions. However, like any place, the Kingdom is a nation of nuance, and changes are afoot, particularly in the last year. When it comes to image-making, a practice that is ostensibly a sensitive one, Saudi photographers are navigating those changing tides and, in the process, offering the world an alternative lens through which to view their society. To shed light on the state of art and documentary photography in the Kingdom, Art Jameel and GPP are convening this panel with three Saudi photographers: Moath Alofi, Majed Angawi, and Tasneem Al-Sultan.

Sony Snap Sessions

From food photography to portraiture, attendees can develop their skills behind the camera with one of GPP’s free, 90-minute Sony Snap Sessions.

Basics of Food Photography
Wednesday | February 7th, 2018
9:40am - 11:10am

Sunday | February 11th, 2018
9:40am - 11:20am

Step up your food photography skills with leading Dubai-based food photographer Christina Leth as she guides you through the basics of the genre via a live demo at a local eatery. There will be a brief period of participant shooting, followed by a time of Q&A.

Intro to Natural Light Portraiture
Wednesday | February 7th, 2018
12pm - 1:30pm

Thursday | February 8th, 2018
9am - 10:30am

Saturday | February 10th, 2018
12pm - 1:30pm

Sunday | February 11th, 2018
12pm - 1:30pm

Monday | February 12th, 2018
10am - 11:30am

Ditch the studio gear and learn the basics of how to create a great portrait using natural light with Laura Huntley or Caleb Arias. Laura and Caleb will demonstrate the techniques discussed before opening up space for participants to shoot. The workshop will close with a brief time of Q&A.

Seeing Beyond the Grey
Thursday | February 8th, 2018
4pm - 5:30pm

Saturday | February 10th, 2018
4:30pm - 6pm

During this photo walk with Hussain Al Moosawi, learn to see beyond the grey and discover a vibrant industrial zone filled with beautiful, easily overlooked tableaus - from humorous signs to fading warehouses and stubbornly resistant trees. The walk will focus on color and branding with a peek into the many elements of design, industry, and nature in Al Quoz.

Elements of Automotive Photography
Saturday | February 10th, 2018
10am - 11:30am

Learn the essentials with Dubai-based automotive photographer Laura Huntley as she demonstrates shooting with a selection of vehicles provided by Nostalgia Classic Cars. The workshop will close with a Q&A.

Kids’ Activities

Instax Artist Loft
Wednesday | February 7th, 2018
4pm – 5:30pm

Monday | February 11th, 2018
4pm – 5:30pm

Awaken your child’s inner artist through 90 minutes of fun and photos with Instax! Your kids can take playful pictures and let their creativity flow as they craft their own photo journals with paint, stickers, and Instax film at thejamjar in Alserkal Avenue.

Suitable for children ages 6 – 12.

The ShootOut
Saturday | February 10th, 2018
6:30pm - 8pm

Participate in the most talked about event of GPP Photo Week 2018 as three visiting photographers are pitted against each other in the ShootOut. Given a top-secret subject, equipped with limited materials, and forced to compete in front of a live audience, these photographers will race against the clock and one another as they rush to shoot and process the best possible photograph in only 20 minutes. Audience choice rules the day.

Free Camera Cleaning & Special Offers
GPP Photo Week 2018 brings together the world’s leading photography brands throughout the week so attendees can take advantage of free camera cleaning services as well as browse a showcase of the newest and most popular equipment used by industry professionals.
 
During the week, visitors will also be able to attend  exhibitions, including Beyond Here is Nothing by Laura El-Tantawy at the GPP gallery; Red Zone by Jalal Sepehr in The Yard; Shift Your Focus, a community exhibition in Nadi Al Quoz; and Souls Against the Concrete by Khalik Allah in Concrete, Alserkal Avenue’s iconic multidisciplinary space.

Every year, GPP Photo Week creates an accessible entry point into the world of photography for people from all walks of life.  Shift Your Focus, this year’s theme is aimed at encouraging attendees to think about photography and the rapidly changing world around us with a new lens.


Gulfphotoplus.com


BY

Jalal Sepehr
Courtesy of GPP, Dubai
Jalal Sepehr. Red Zone. 2013-15