Xposure International Photography Festival, Sharjah. U.A.E

Xposure International photography Festival is the official photography educational and imaging platform that combines a broad range of photography events including ; Exhibitions, workshops, seminars, presentations, competitions, photo walks and a photography product trade show.

This was the first time I have attended this exhibition and I would definitely go again next year.  Sharjah is one of the Emirates outside of Dubai. It definitely has more culture than Dubai.  His Highness Shiekh Dr.Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi was at the Festival as he advocates museums and art in all areas which is very exciting to me to find an area of the U.A.E which has more opportunities creatively.

Here are the list of seminars I attended.



David Yarrow was the first speaker of the day, He opened with a slide show of some of his expeditions and the music playing was ‘Walk of Life’ by Dire straits. I thought this was amusing and quite funny as he is a wild life photographer, as I was sat there I thought that I was glad he didn’t play Elton John’s ‘Circle of Life’.

David Yarrow has built an unrivalled reputation for capturing the beauty of the planets landscapes and cultures and endangered animals. I have no interest in becoming a wildlife photographer but I was interested in the life experience David Yarrow talked about. He quoted a lot of Ansel Adams because this seminar was titled ‘ The lens looks both ways’. A famous Ansel quote, he came out with more

Photography is not only about the camera….’

‘Photography is about your heart, eyes, brain and your soul…’

‘Photography reflects your journey in life’

He has a deep appreciation of Cinematography and a knowledge of cult films which impressed me. He suggested that photographers get inspiration from everything as well as from other photographers pictures and transgress them.

‘Be different ‘was the piece of advice he gave all of us.

We watched a five minute video of an expedition to see Polar bears in Greenland 2016. The images where amazing and beautifully composed in such harsh conditions. David Yarrow is a photographer that sacrifices comfort for context.

He recommended working hard on research with four days researching coupled with one day shooting.  He goes by the philosophy ‘Less is more’ when it comes to shooting images. He picked three of his images and described the story behind each one of them, the amount of time and effort which was put into each shot. Overall this was a very good start to my visit to the festival since I had gotten lost into the depths of Sharjah trying to find the Expo location this made it worthwhile.



David Yarrow

The Digital Tour seminar this was held by the World Press photo organization. They went through the finalists for 2016 and showed some distressing images the speaker explained the context and narrative behind each photo. I must say I enjoyed this seminar because I have been reading up on Context since the essay ‘Photography and Context’ by Terry Barrett was quoted in the course work so I understood the terminology and the concepts behind the narratives.

I stayed for the ‘Optimising Colour’ by Niels Knudsen which was a Capture One demo, this was all about photo processing software. The guy was very informative but following the world photo press seminar was a hard act to follow. Niels V. Knudsen is Phase One’s Image Quality Professor. He is responsible for breakthrough advancements in image quality both in Phase One’s medium format camera systems and in its digital imaging software. Niels is a digital pioneer whose debut in the digital photography business was more than 20 years ago specialising in image processing and digital camera technology. This presentation was just 30 mins a taster for the more in depth afternoon session, covering practical concepts in Raw workflow for todays Photographer, including ICC Color Management, Corrective Tools & Processing Via Recipes.


I managed to grab some lunch before turning up to the Street photography panel discussion. I missed the first 5 minutes because they started earlier than the advertised time. I  missed the introduction so I didn’t know who was on the panel.


I started off taking notes but then I stopped as I was enjoying listening to they stories about how they started, what they liked shooting and where was their favourite place in the world. I recognized the panelists as Stephen Wilkes and the other as Muhammed Muheisen and Im ashamed to say I didn’t get the other guys name until the very end when I realized it was Vineet Vohra.

I really enjoyed this panel discussion mainly because it was authentic. You could hear the respect Stephen Wilkes had for Muhammed Muhesien. Vineet Vohra was very passionate and philosophical about his images and the practice of photography .

Stephen Wilkes is a legend among photographers and I was so excited hearing him tell stories. He explained where the inspiration came from for his ‘Day and night ‘series and he told a story about having lunch with Gary Winnogrand which showed how Winnogrand always had a photographers eye even when eating.

Muhammed Muhesien had an instant calmness about him, he spoke softly and full of confidence which made me instantly like him. I can’t describe how laid back this guy was it was brilliant to see and feel. He admitted to seeing unimaginable things in war zones due to him being a photojournalist, so being on a panel discussion was probably a coffee break. His images of children in war zones are very striking and haunting. If you get a chance to see his work, go and see it.

Ethics were discussed mainly about whether permission should be taken before shooting the street, Muhammed and Stephen said they ‘read the situation’ as to whether to get permission or not but Vineet said he never asks for permission. If he is seen with a camera then people know he will be taking pictures.

The piece of advice that they each dished out for people beginning to learn photography

Muhammed said’ Invest time in your subject ‘ Practice

Stephen said ‘ work , put yourself out there and feel the fear, let the fear drive you ‘

Vineet said ‘ Be yourself, Identify yourself and the emotions that strike you’

The floor was opened for questions, and it really annoyed me that people were asking the same question that had already been asked which meant the panel were repeating themselves. So I didn’t really get anything out of the question session apart from the knowledge that next time I will ask a question to get the information I want.

When the discussion had finished I took time out to walk round the galleries, that is another post.

Vineet Vohra


Stephen Wilkes

Muhammed Muheisen




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s