Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, and Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council (SMC) witnessed the commencement of the 7th edition of the Xposure International Photography Festival on Thursday, February 9th, at the Expo Center Sharjah.
The festival is organized by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), and it is hosting its biggest-ever edition this year with more than 100 leading photographers who are participating from around the world. Moreover, there will be 68 spectacular solo and group exhibitions that will comprise 1794 photos.
Tariq Saeed Allay, Director General of SGMB, delivered the welcome keynote at the opening ceremony. He spoke about the powerful role of photography and how it can be used to break stereotypes that lead to inaccurate and wrong perceptions in society about countries, events, and people. His statement was illustrated by an awe-inspiring image of an equestrian on his horse at a beach. The audience could never imagine a place like this in Palestine, which usually portrays harsh and deadly images that persist about the country across the world.
Mr. Tariq added that since its formation, this festival has been serving as a reminder that beauty exists amidst the chaos, and what makes their voyage sustainable is the unwavering vision and fidelity of Sharjah. Moreover, all the photographers join them every year to be enthusiastic global messengers of art, creativity, and entertainment. Their collective resolve to use this medium as a promoter of noble values is what brings them closer to their objectives. They support responsible creativity that is beneficial to humanity, preserve their ability to inspire, and instill a sense of security and hope in their hearts, as said by Mr. Tariq.
The Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, attended the opening ceremony, which featured eminent photographers such as Dan Winters from Southern California, self-taught American photographer Karen Zusman, and James Balog, who turned his attention towards pressing global issues throughout his 40-year career as a photojournalist.
Dan Winters said that he began photography when he was a boy and started with newspapers and magazines because he grew up with picture magazines. During the time of the Apollo 11 capsule project, he was shooting the space landing; however, it went over budget. Winter added that photography will be 200 years old in three years. Around 50 billion images are made on a yearly basis now, as phones have turned out to be image-making machines. He said that he is interested to see where this all goes and whether influences its photography’s crucial role of documenting.
While showing the audience his masterful captures of sports legend Michael B. Jordan, the US Presidents, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie, and other Hollywood actors, Mr. Winters said that he enjoyed every project but that his real passion lies in space photography. He further said that photography has taken him to places where he would have never imagined being part of the Apollo Mission starting at age 7.