The 2017 Arab Documentary Photography Programme (ADPP) held its first workshop in Beirut between September 15th and 18th. During four intensive days, nine young documentary photographers exchanged with mentors of the program and fellow participants on their respective projects.
The nine photographers from six countries covering two continents enriched discussions with their diverse projects, approaches and backgrounds. All came with a common goal and aspiration: to realize a visual story that can reflect, in the best possible way, the concerns and aspirations of the people and communities involved in those stories
All dimensions - personal, social, cultural, economic - including the discourse on belongingness - melted during the discussions, allowing for a space to explore the intersection between themes and boundaries. From topics on sexual orientation (Sima Ajlyakin) to suicide (Hesham El-Sherif), the “personal” as a theme was showcased. With trance sessions and djins (Btihel Remli) and rural celebrations and festivals (Fethi Sahraoui), the two grantees from Al-Maghreb recreated a photo narration of local communities and their idiosyncrasies, using popular culture as a source of inspiration. Social and economic struggles were also widely tackled with emphasis on specific topics such as the impact of pollution on urban communities (Mohamed Mahdy), the water shortage (Ahmed Gaber) and child crime (Tarek Al Haddad). The aftermath of war (Rawan Mazeh) and the identity and civilization crisis of the Nubia people (Mohamed Altoum) as projects with a socio-political dimension opened up an in-depth discussion about ways of approaching multilateral subjects.
Together with the contributions of the mentors, project coordinator and ADPP partners (AFAC, magnum Foundation and Prince Claus Fund), the first workshop was a discovery into the work of photographers (including those of the mentors). It was also a window into editing possibilities and questions related to audiences, copyrights and exhibitions. At the end of the workshop, each mentor was assigned 2 to 3 photographers that s/he will be following up on during the following 6 months. Mentors will be discussing with the grantees ways of developing and enriching the actual projects, and exploring new tracks. The group will gather again in Beirut in April 2018, weeks before sharing the final projects with the public, mainly on the Arab Documentary Photography Platform.
AFAC launched the ADPP in 2014 with the Prince Claus Fund (PCF) in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and in partnership with the Magnum Foundation in New York (USA). The program is jointly funded by AFAC and PCF and is targeting creative documentary photographers in the Arab region. The grantees receive financial and professional support to complete their proposed photography projects.
The focus of the Arab Documentary Photography Program is compelling non-stereotypical and unconventional visual documentation of important social issues and narratives relevant to the Arab region. In recognition of the image’s power to document, educate and advocate, the ADPP aims to stimulate social engagement through strategic and targeted presentations and distribution of the grantees’ work.
2017 ADPP Grantees
Btihal Remli: Marabout
Tarek Al Haddad: Tabula Rasa
Mohamed Altoum: Nubian People
Rawan Mazeh: Persistent Aftermath
Sima Ajlyakin: Live With It
Mohamed Mahdy: The Suffering of Wadi El Qamar
Hesham Elsherif: The Way to Hell
Fethi Sahraoui: The Circus of Life
Ahmed Gaber: The Water Shortage in Egypt Delta
The ADPP mentors are Randa Shaath, Tanya Habjouqa, Peter Van Agtmael and Eric Gottesman.
For information about the 2017 Projects, click here
For pictures from the workshop, click here
About the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC)
AFAC is the Arab region’s preferred resource for independent artists and cultural practitioners. Founded in 2007, AFAC is a unique grant-making institution that is accessible, transparent and professional. AFAC supports as broad and diversified a scope of critical thinkers, artists and cultural entrepreneurs of the Arab region as possible, with an emphasis on quality, creativity and relevance.
About the Prince Claus Fund (PCF)
The Prince Claus Fund supports artists, critical thinkers and cultural organizations in spaces where freedom of cultural expression is restricted by conflict, poverty, repression, marginalization or taboos. Based on the principle that culture is a basic need, the mission of the Fund is to actively seek cultural collaborations and foster ground-breaking networks, based on equality and trust. The Fund also boasts excellent local networks in regions where it is active. The Fund with partners of excellence, in spaces where resources and opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and research are limited and cultural heritage is threatened. These regions include Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and (non-EU) Eastern Europe.
About the Magnum Foundation (MF)
Magnum Foundation sustains the practice of in-depth, independent documentary photography as a critical tool that serves society by fostering empathy, engagement, and positive social change. MF seeks to develop new strategies for increased exposure and impact of documentary photographers in an ever-changing media landscape. The photographers of Magnum Photos founded the independent, non-profit Magnum Foundation in 2007 to carry forward Magnum’s high standards for long-form documentary storytelling in the 21st century.