Sharjah will be abuzz with the photographic experiences of five of the most innovative global photographic artists as they join a group of top photography talents from around the globe at the fifth edition of Xposure International Photography Festival, to be held from February 10 – 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Brent Stirton, a multi-award-winning South African photographer recognised by the United Nations for his work on the environment and in the field of HIV/AIDS; Giles Duley, a documentary photographer focusing on the long-term humanitarian impact of conflict; Tran Tuan Viet, an award-winning Vietnamese photographer specialising in travel, fine art, and cultural photography; and Paula Bronstein, an American photojournalist renowned for documenting humanity; will be joined by Sharjah’s Abdulla Albuqaish, a specialist in cityscape photography; at Sharjah’s annual festival of photography that celebrates the vision of extraordinary photographers.
Through their powerful visuals, these master storytellers have both challenged the medium and documented the lesser-known stories that matter to raise our awareness of compelling issues throughout the world.
Organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), Xposure 2021 will feature the world’s best photographers under one roof in Sharjah, as it seeks to foster the next generation of artists through its unique, engaging, and highly accessible programming comprising of a diverse range of educational programmes alongside the traditional gallery exhibitions.
Brent Stirton: Raising the profile of conservation issues
"It is not about you”, says Brent Stirton of his work that often tells a whole story in one image. With a reputation for compelling imagery, Stirton’s photographs depict a cross-section of the human condition as he remains committed to issues relating to wildlife and conservation, global health, diminishing cultures, sustainability, and the environment.
Stirton was the winner of the 2020 Sony World Photography awards in the natural world and wildlife category for his series ‘Pangolins in Crisis’ that drew attention to the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals. Previously, his harrowing images of the carnage left behind by illegal hunting of rhinos and gorilla poaching, amongst others, have helped raise the profile of conservation issues among audiences worldwide.
Giles Duley: Highlighting the long-term humanitarian impact of conflict
Formerly a music photographer, British documentary photographer and writer Giles Duley, changed his focus to documentary work in 2004, partnering with well-respected charities to highlight lesser known stories deserving of public attention and action.
Through his work which focuses on the long-term humanitarian impact of conflict, Giles captures the strength of those who fight adversity rather than succumb. His photographs establish a deep connection between the viewer and subject, creating empathy for lives different from theirs.
On being asked whether he can change the world with his photographs, Giles replied: “No, but maybe my work can inspire the person that can.”
Tran Tuan Viet: Bringing Vietnam closer to the world
The 2017 Vietnam Excellence Photographer of the Year takes a humanist approach when capturing his images and photo stories to offer a positive, beautiful, and benevolent gaze of his motherland. From an amateur, Viet has grown to become an award-winning visual storyteller as he captures candid shots of life in Vietnam, contrasting its imposing landscape with its unassuming people.
The profound simplicity of Vietnamese daily life can be witnessed through moments of innocence, intimacy and freshness that mark his photo stories of Vietnam. Today, his work featuring Vietnam’s people, landscape, and traditional culture, is commissioned by international clients, and has also been published widely by renowned worldwide media.
His advice to aspiring visual story tellers: “Cherish every moment of photography. Today’s photos will be tomorrow’s legacies.”
Paula Bronstein: Documenting humanity through silent victims of war
“Many of my signature images bear witness to extremely harrowing and historical events showing deeply personal moments in the lives of my subjects. As photojournalists, we give our hearts and souls to the profession. It is certainly my mantra,” says Bangkok-based American photojournalist, Paula Bronstein, whose decades-long experience in chronicling some of the world’s most troubled areas has brought awareness to compelling issues in many conflict regions.
In her internationally acclaimed photo book, Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear, Bronstein documents heartbreaking stories of Afghans living against a backdrop of war for more than 16 years.
Paula Bronstein’s many nominations and awards span decades and represent only a small space in what is simply a lifetime of phenomenal frontline news and documentary photography across the globe.
Abdulla Albuqaish: Carving out creative visions of Sharjah
“Photography is a discipline steeped in beauty,” says Emirati photographer Abdulla Albuqaish, whose journey in photography is directly connected to his love of architecture and the buildings in his native Sharjah. “The more knowledge, imagination and ingenuity a photographer has, the more sparkling and inspiring their work will be,” believes the photographer who has won several awards at the national level for capturing the splendour of the urban environment’s distinctiveness and beauty.
Exploring cityscape photography also paved the way for him to learn about time lapse, which led to an opportunity to exhibit in China. Abdulla Albuqaish entered the Guinness Book of World Records when a photography workshop he led for UAE students recorded an attendance of 399 in just 30:19 minutes.
Hosted by the SGMB, Xposure International Photography Festival is attended by the world’s most acclaimed photographers, leading media and film professionals, photography enthusiasts, students, and educators.