Look: From Everyday Life To War, How 400 Photographers Are Provoking Thought At Sharjah Show


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 28 Feb 2024, 9:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Feb 2024, 10:17 PM

More than 2,500 unique visual stories told through the lens of 400 accomplished photographers are on display at 8th the Xposure International Photography Festival (Xposure 2024) that opened on Wednesday at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Running until March 5, Xposure 2024 takes visitors to a graphic journey capturing different human perspectives and emotions – from the mundane to the philosophical; joys of everyday life to human travails, wars and epic disasters. Some photos are obscure and oblique but others are serious and straightforward with their messages of hope, fear, love, hate, sadness, happiness, joy and celebration.

From portraiture to nature and wildlife photography; documentary and photojournalism, landscape, travel, adventure and sports, the visual elements attract visitors to stop, look and peer through the images froze in a single moment in time for posterity.

Each picture is also a testament to the photographer's emotion, perspective and intention at the time he/she pressed the button to capture the moment. And these are told during the workshops, talks and small-group discussions spread throughout the weeklong photography festival.

Provoking thoughts

Some of the renowned photographers are present themselves to speak with the visitors to share their visual journey.

Hong Kong-born photojournalist Nicole Tung, who has been documenting the effects of war, humanitarian crises and natural disasters in the Middle East and other parts of the world, said:“Being here today is a necessary reminder of what images can do to provoke thought.”

“What does it take for these images to be made? These are but a few examples of the reality of the world we live in today. These are the stories that ought to make us question what our place is in this world – and what we can do collectively to protect the world,” she added.

More than sharing images

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, echoed the powerful role of photographers in championing pressing global issues. He said.“If images could speak, they would say, 'I will amplify the efforts of those striving for positive change. I will showcase injustice to pave the way for love and justice'.”

“One example is Gaza,” he added, noting:“The tragedy of more than two million people who are besieged, starved and (have been) constant targets, has pushed the entire world to reassess previously held beliefs about international values and norms, the human rights system, the role of the individual in making change, and their humanitarian duty towards others,” he added.

Xposure 2024 also paid a moving tribute to more than 85 journalists and media workers who have lost their lives trying to offer a glimpse into the lives of besieged Palestinians in a devastating war.

Stand by the truth

Al Qasimi pointed out:“The image has no impact unless it stands by the truth, and that the story it carries is resistant to falsification because it is a product of reality - the reality that photographers and the media community have showed us, risking and even losing their lives to give voice to the voiceless and hope for a better future.”

Tariq Saeed Allay, director general of Sharjah Governmen Media Bureau, added:“Xposure is a global celebration that highlights photographers' mission in protecting collective memory and expanding human understanding of life.”

“In Sharjah, we have created a global platform that brings together the finest photographers to reiterate the significance of photography and its practitioners. We're also nurturing the talent and knowledge of the next generation of photographers. In today's world, the demand for photographers who can faithfully reflect life and reality through their lenses is paramount, enabling us to witness beauty, truth, and peace again,” he added.

Meanwhile, Xposure 2024 will host various events led by 150 of the world's top photographers, in addition to 90 solo and group exhibitions, plus 65 workshops, 45 talks, and 27 film screenings. There are also portfolio review sessions, book signing, and a trade exhibition of photography equipment brands.

Alongside Xposure is an international photography competition with a prize pool of $60,000. More than over 25,000 entries were received from several countries, including China, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Egypt, USA, UK, and more for categories in street, portraiture, nature, landscape and mobile photography.

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