The Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah in the UAE attracts some of the biggest names in the industry. The 7th edition showcased 74 photographers, 68 exhibitions and more than 50 workshops.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council is the man behind the event. An accomplished eye behind the lens he credits the success of Xposure as helping him hone his own skills.
“I actually learnt a lot from Xposure because every time I see a photographer, I keep asking him. With time you start to see things differently. You start looking at different colours, you start looking at leading lines. So, this is a place to learn,” he told Euronews adding, “I always have my camera with me. It's the beauty you see with your eyes and you're trying to transfer that into a photo.”
Celebrated Hungarian photographer Esther Horvath was there to showcase her documentation of the MOSAiC scientific expedition in the central Arctic Ocean, the largest of its kind. Since 2015 she has dedicated her photography to the polar regions working alongside science groups to bring a better understanding of climate change and environmental issues there.
“I felt like I was photographing the moon landings. For me the moon landing is absolutely my inspiration in my work. When we think about the moon landing we don't think about thousands of pages of scientific publication. We think about one thing, the picture of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin being on the moon. And that's also my goal with my photography to translate difficult scientific research into something very visual where people can understand what is happening,” she says.
A cross-pollination of ideas
Brazilian photographer Gabriel Wickbold attended the festival for the second year in a row. He says the event is an opportunity for the cross-pollination of cultures and ideas.
“I came all the way over here and see my art complete itself in a whole different culture is unbelievable for me. Like, I see the same themes that I talk about humanity, and they reflect the same way that my audience in Brazil reflects. So, for me, it's like a breathtaking experience,” he explained.
Last year's event saw public attendance more than double, making it one of the largest photography events in the world. The trade show that runs alongside it showcases the latest equipment and technology and gives valuable insight from manufacturers and retailers. Asaad Abboud is the Managing Director and Leica Camera Middle East who are the official sponsors of the festival. “It's an inspiring gathering of like-minded people. Photographers who wish to push the extremes of the boundaries of their knowledge, their creativity. And I believe this is the place where everyone can come to learn more,” he said.