Ten world-renowned photographers are due to take part  in GPP Photo Week 2017, the region’s first and longest-running international photography festival. Organised by Dubai’s only dedicated photography centre, Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), the festival will include a variety of workshops and talks on the latest innovations and techniques in the field.

The workshops will be led by some of the world’s leading photographers including documentary photographers Maggie Steber and Davide Monteleone; conceptual & fantastical photographer, Ben Von Wong; and street photographer Asim Rafiqui.

Now in its 13th year, the festival – the first and longest-running of its kind in the region – will run from February 10 – 17, 2017 and will take place at Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz.

About Alserkal Avenue

Located in Al Quoz, Dubai, Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost arts and culture neighbourhood. Since it was established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue has grown to become an essential platform for the development of homegrown artistic and cultural initiatives, supporting a vibrant community of contemporary art galleries and alternative art spaces, together with design, media and industrial studios. In 2015, in addition to its commitment to the community, Alserkal Avenue affirmed its position as an arts organisation with the launch of Alserkal Avenue Programming. The programming arm produces an annual homegrown programme for local, regional, and international audiences, working primarily with artists living and working in the MENASA region. An Artists’ Residency is scheduled to launch in 2017, further enhancing the organisation’s breadth and scope.

Co-Director of Gulf Photo Plus, Mohamed Somji, commented, “It is a great honour to be able to bring such an illustrious line-up of photographers who have positively contributed to the medium and are recognized worldwide. To have them here in Dubai supporting the young photography community is fantastic and echoes GPP’s aims to nurture and develop the photography community both within the UAE and the region.”

The ten photographers coming from a variety of different photography backgrounds are:

1Zack Arias – Lighting & Street

Zack Arias is an editorial portrait and music photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia in the US. Zack’s approach is simple, straightforward, bold, classic, true and straight from camera. His greatest talents are the ability to mix with people from different backgrounds and relax in front of the camera. He believes that a photographer’s true job description is to be a “problem solver”.

2Matt Armandariz – Food Photographer, Stylist, and Blogger

Los Angeles-based photographer Matt Armendariz  is a commercial photographer that explores the world through food for a variety of editorial and advertising clients such as Target, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Coca Cola, as well as various book publishers and publications. His most recent projects include a year-long food campaign for Target and a cookbook (the 30th that he has photographed) that will be released this year.

3Rafael “RC” Concepcion – Post-Processing

RC Concepcion is the author of the bestselling book How to Get Your Photography on the Web and The HDR Book – Unlocking the Pros’ Hottest Post-Processing Techniques. RC is an education and curriculum developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, and one of the Photoshop Guys. An award-winning photographer and Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom, RC has over 14 years in the tech industry, designing sites and training thousands in Adobe technologies.

4David Hobby – Lighting, Business & Social Media

David Hobby comes from a 20-year career as a newspaper photographer, working for a number of publications in the US such as The Baltimore Sun. In 2006, Hobby founded popular lighting blog, Strobist.

Hobby’s informal teaching style draws upon his experience of photographing over 10,000 assignments over 20 years to make learning how to master your small flashes not only easy, but also fun.

5Sara Lando – Fine Art, Portrait, Beauty & Commercial

Sara Lando is an Italian photographer specializing in portrait, beauty, commercial photography, and mixed media projects. Her work combines exquisite lighting, extreme creativity, and experimental techniques, blurring the lines between photography and fine art. Whether she’s crafting her conceptual images into dioramas or creating memorable portraits using a simple backdrop and classic lighting, Sara’s strength is in photographing people. She shoots for major clients and teaches photography.

6Elia Locardi – Travel & Destination

Elia Locardi is an internationally recognized professional travel photographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador and X-Photographer, writer, public speaker and educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 50 countries and flown over one million miles. Locardi is best known for his recreations of color images of renowned landscape as well as his aerial drone footage which have been praised in specialised online and book sources.

7Davide Monteleone – Documentary

Davide Monteleone is an artist and a visual journalist working on long term independent projects using photography, video, and text. He has devoted himself to the study of social issues, exploring the relationship between power and individuals. Known for his specific interest in the post-soviet countries, he published four books on this topic: Dusha, Russian Soul in 2007, La Linea Inesistente, in 2009, Red Thistle in 2012 and Spasibo in 2013. His projects have brought him numerous awards, including several World Press Photo prizes, and grants such as the Aftermath Grant, European Publishers Award and Carmignac Photojournalism Award. He regularly contributes to leading publications all over the world, and his projects have been presented as installations, exhibitions and screenings at festivals and galleries worldwide including the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Saatchi Gallery in London, MEP in Paris and Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. He regularly lectures at universities and teaches  workshops internationally.

8Asim Rafiqui – Street photography

Asim Rafiqui is an independent photojournalist who was born and raised in Pakistan. He was the recipient of an Open Society Fellowship and has since 2012 been using a variety of media to present a more nuanced and personal perspective on the issue of access to justice in Pakistan. By focusing on the plight of some of Pakistan’s most marginalized communities, he highlights the structural roots of the pervasive injustice that afflicts their lives and the failure of the current legal apparatus to resolve them. Rafiqui’s work has appeared in Newsweek, Time, Harper`s, Stern, National Geographic (France) and many other publications. Rafiqui also authors the photography blog The Spinning Head.

9Maggie Steber – Documentary

Maggie Steber is a documentary photographer known for her humanistic stories of people and cultures. She was named a National Geographic Woman of Vision and has worked in 66 countries, producing cultural stories as well as significant work on Haiti, Native Americans, and the sciences of sleep and memory loss. She has photographed for 30 years in Haiti. Her monograph, titled Dancing on Fire, is published by Aperture.

10Ben Von Wong – Conceptual & Fantastical

Motivated by the desire to be creatively challenged and overcome impossibilities, Ben Von Wong has become notorious for his epic photography. His hyper-realistic art style captures viewers in a fusion of special effects and innovative concepts. Benjamin’s background in engineering gives him a unique edge for creative problem solving, where technical challenges become friendly competition.

Every year, GPP Photo Week creates an accessible entry point into the world of photography for people from all backgrounds. The festival provides attendees 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 art scene and forging new connections with fellow photographers from around the world.

For more information on GPP Photo Week 2017, please visit the official website on: www.gulfphotoplus.com/gpp/2017


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