Exposure for your photography is always great, it’s important to get the work out there and get it seen. So it was wonderful this past week to be in Sharjah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, exhibiting my photography and talking at Xposure 2023 International Photography Festival.
As photography festivals go, and places to exhibit and collaborate with, this seemed quite hard to beat. With photographers from around the globe being invited to exhibit, from the living legends of photography through to youth photography competition winners flying in from China, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia and more, there was an abundance of opportunities to be chatting, making new friends, new connections and being inspired.
It was an enjoyable few days attending focus groups on topics from operating in world danger zones (led by Giles Clarke of UN photography and Getty Images), through to Lightroom software workshops, and with I think 68 exhibitions to see there was a plethora of great photography on show, from luminaries such as Dan Winters, James Balog, Steve McCurry, Jodi Cobb, Neil Leifer, Greg Gorman, through to fellow photographers from UK Simon Roberts and John Angerson, and talk and social events with picture editors Aidan Sullivan, Ray Wells, Maria Mann, Cathy Moran, and Whitney Johnston, Director of Visual and Immersive Experiences at National Geographic, to name but a few.
I’ve been exhibiting my photography from Scotland, from my Unsullied & Untarnished project documenting the Common Riding festivals of the Scottish Borders area. The show was beautifully printed in UAE, and as with all the shows, the presentation was immaculate. I was delighted on day one of the festival to give a private personal tour of the work to to His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, co-ruler of the Emirate, who as a photographer himself and with a passion for promoting photography through this festival has been attending many of the events.
It was also hugely enjoyable to be chatting with visitors to the festival who had travelled from far and wide in the region, from Oman, from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, introducing my work and telling them the back story to the project.
I also presented my 30-year Roma work from Romania in the auditorium, a talk which I later found out would be broadcast on TV.
With the recent process of having my photographic archive acquired by the University of St Andrews I took the opportunity in Sharjah to lead a focus group on archiving your work, sharing and exchanging information with other photographers from around the world.
It was a busy few days, all great exposure for the creators involved, and inspiring for those in attendance. As Xposure’s tag line goes, the festival is a celebration of imagery… I look forward to next year.
Thanks for reading,
Buy the book of the project, ‘Unsullied & Untarnished, the Common Ridings of Scotland’.