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Sharjah's Xposure festival trains lens on critical global issues as it draws to a close

Event put spotlight on realities of vulnerable populations and victims of natural disasters and wars.



by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Wed 16 Feb 2022, 7:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Feb 2022, 11:55 PM

The sixth edition of Sharjah’s Xposure International Photogra- phy Festival saw a footfall of 18,000 visitors and a 70 per cent rise in art- work sales compared to figures last year, officials revealed.

The grand celebration of the beauty and fragility of the world — which was held at Expo Centre Sharjah from February 9 to 15 — saw 274 participants register for on-ground activities, exceeding the total number of participants in the last five editions combined.

Organised by the Sharjah Gov- ernment Media Bureau (SGMB), the festival succeeded in drawing the world’s attention to issues im- pacting our planet at the first-ever Conservation Summit, held under the theme ‘Save Our Oceans’.

About 70 world-renowned photographers showcased their vivid and compelling images through 45 solo and group exhibitions that captured pivotal moments in history and offered a window to the wider world around us.

Xposure 2022 also introduced visitors to vibrant cultures in far flung corners of the world, in addition to spotlighting the realities of vulnerable populations and victims of natural disasters and wars through 1,600 visual stories.

Xposure welcomed visitors from around the world to gain new perspectives of the current reality of our planet, its natural wealth and beauty, and the astonishing wonders of the earth’s marine and terrestrial wildlife.

Tariq Saeed Allay, director-general of SGMB, said: “Throughout our past editions, Xposure has brought to light the power of visual stories in raising awareness, altering perceptions, and changing lives.

“Every year, we step closer and become more connected to issues facing humankind - the environment, climate, marine, and wildlife. We have become more interested in what is happening around the world because every exhibition and session at Xposure shines a light on these critical issues and force us to take onus of our responsibilities.”

Ocean Conservation Summit

Xposure 2022 hosted its first-ever Conservation Summit, under the theme ‘Save Our Oceans’, on February 10, in partnership with the International League of Conservation Photographers that brought together environmental activists, passionate explorers, photographers, and changemakers from around the world to lead seven insightful panel discussions on lasting solutions and everyday acts to protect the environment. Prominent photojournalists and researchers specialising in marine wildlife and underwater environment who shared their stories at the Conservation Summit included National Geographic explorers Brian Skerry, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Jeffrey Garriock, and Laurent Ballesta,

Workshops, talks

Celebrated heroes in the world of photography including Steve McCurry, who captured the iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ portrait for National Geographic; and American war photographer James Nachtwey who documented wars and critical social issues for four decades, inspired and motivated audiences at Xposure 2022. A host of other renowned international photographers also shared their understanding of the world and the influences that have shaped their extraordinary journeys with audiences at the festival.

Xposure welcomed photography enthusiasts to advance knowledge and image-making skills at interactive workshops for beginners and professionals. As many as 25 workshops, and a series of focus sessions and portfolio reviews led by professionals with extensive experience in various photography sectors, elevated the learning experiences of visitors of all age groups and proficiencies.

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At the opening ceremony of the sixth edition of Xposure, engineer Rodrigues Mghames was honoured in recognition of his role in sharing a poignant image of Hussein, a 10-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon, that depicted him reading a book while taking a break from his daily routine of scavenging the trash can to support his family. The image, which captured international attention, led to the announcement of the sponsorship of Hussein’s education until he completes high school by Xposure in cooperation with The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF).

The festival has also enabled hobbyists and photography enthusiasts to stay up to date with the latest photography technologies and equipment on display at the retail stands of global brands.


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