Tuesday February 27th, 2024
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Your Guide to Alexandria Photo Week

Here’s the breakdown of our top picks for the approaching inaugural Alexandria Photo Week.

Patrick Davies

📸 : Fares El Sayed

Taking over the coastal city of Alexandria, the inaugural edition of Alexandria Photo Week will feature a stacked schedule of events between February 1st and the 10th, showcasing the artistic talents of photographers and film buffs from across Egypt and the region. Organised by Photopia, a photography school based in Cairo, the festival will be free to enter for all those who register in advance, and will include exhibitions, lectures and educational workshops featuring a variety of local and international photographers and image-makers.

The festival will play host to the World Press Photo Foundation’s ‘Resilience’ exhibition, as well as a new take on Farouk Ibrahim’s archival photography in ‘The Legend’s Lightbox’. 

“Local and international photographers, image-makers, and filmmakers have been carefully selected”, Marwa Abou Leila, founder and managing director of Photopia, tells CairoScene. Her goal is “to promote the interaction between experienced photographers and young people who are passionate about photography.”

The event has also been sponsored by the US Embassy in Cairo. “This event unambiguously showcases the depth of talent in Egypt’s photographic community”, Ruben Harutia, Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, says. “It conveys clearly the prominence of Alexandria in Egypt’s cultural landscape.”

With so many strong options to choose from, and given that all parts of the festival will be free to attend for those who have registered, you’d be forgiven for coming over all indecisive. That in mind, and with Alex Photo Week fast approaching, we thought we’d give you our top picks of all of the must-sees across exhibitions, lectures, panel talks and workshops.

For more information on all the events taking place, visit this link, and to find out how to register in time for the festival, visit @alexphotoweek on Instagram.

‘Farouk Ibrahim: The Legend’s Lightbox’ Exhibition

February 2nd, 7 PM - February 10th

Amideast

Over 30,000 people came to visit the first exhibition of Farouk Ibrahim’s work, eponymously titled ‘The Legend’, when it was displayed at Cairo Photo Week in February 2023, with organisers extending the run of the exhibit, such was the demand for the collection of iconic photos spanning a 60-year career. Amongst these portraits of some of Egypt’s more famous faces - Umm Kulthum, Gamal Abdel Nassed and Anwar Sadat, to name a few - were many never-before-seen images captured by Ibrahim.

This latest exhibition, compiled by his son Karim and displayed by exhibition coordinator Ramzi Makram Ebeid, comprises 90 photos selected to highlight the aforementioned diversity of Farouk Ibrahim’s work, and chosen specifically for this new exhibition in a city he loved.

Photo Walk with Ahmed Flex

February 6th, 10 AM

Meeting Point: Ali Al Hindi Cafe

📸 : Ahmed Flex

Ahmed Flex is a born-and-raised Alexandrian, so who better to lead a photo walk of the city, beginning at the Ali Al Hindi Cafe in Munshia and meandering through Farahda to Koum El-Dekka and the surrounding area? Flex is an award-winning street photographer, having been awarded third place in Egypt’s Best Press Photo competition in 2023. He will lead participants through a program designed to show them the beauty in the simplicity of street photography, walking with eyes wide open and waiting for a subject or scene to appear.

World Press Photo Special Exhibition: Resilience

February 1st, 5 PM - February 21st

The French Institute

📸 : Heba Khamis

Alexandria Photo Week will play host to the World Press Photo Foundation’s ‘Resilience: Stories of Women Inspiring Change’, hosted at the French Institute. This special exhibition features prize-winning photos from 2000 to 2021 that highlight the resilience and challenges of women, girls and communities around the world. 

Multiple voices, documented by 17 photographers of 13 different nationalities, offer insights into issues including sexism, gender-based violence, reproductive rights, and access to equal opportunities. The selection of stories explores how women and gender issues have evolved in the 21st century and how photojournalism has developed in the ways of portraying them.

Women in Photojournalism Panel Discussion, with Raphael Dias e Silva, Heba Khamis and Sara Younes

February 8th, 3 PM

The French Institute

📸 : Emma Sejersen

This panel discussion will be chaired by Raphael Dias e Silva, World Press Photo Exhibition Manager and Curator, during which speakers Heba Khamis, Egyptian storyteller and award-winning photographer, and Sara Younes, freelance photo and video journalist, will provide their personal insight on the world of women in photojournalism.

Heba Khamis is an independent photojournalist with a formidable, prize-winning portfolio. Her photography has often concentrated on very intimate and difficult topics, namely the realities faced by women and marginalised groups across the world. These include breast ironing in Cameroon, gay prostitution among refugees in Germany and transgender people in Egypt.

Sara Younes is an Egyptian visual storyteller who chooses to use photography to examine mental and spatial boundaries, her own existential questions and the surroundings of her city, Alexandria. Her avant-garde style is hard to put into any one category, and has attracted awards as a result, having seen her work published in the British Journal of Photography’s book ‘Portrait of Humanity’ with Magnum Photos in 2019.

‘Sard (Alexandria & Delta)’ Exhibition

February 1st, 5 PM - February 10th

B’sarya for Arts, 6 Bab Sharq & The French Institute

📸 : Fares El Sayed

‘Sard’ is the word for ‘Narrative’. In this case, it is the title for an exhibition displaying a  renowned series of documentary photography exhibitions curated by Photopia. ‘Sard (Alexandria & Delta)’ showcases a powerful visual and written narrative of diverse photo stories about Alexandria and the Delta, as photographed and narrated by 47 different photographers from across Egypt.

Workshop with Marouan Omara

Photos in Motion; A Photo-based Film

February 4th, 5th & 8th, 12-3 PM

The French Institute

This workshop is designed to be accessible for all levels, whether you’re a seasoned filmmaker or exploring new phone techniques. Led by award-winning filmmaker Marouan Omara, participants will take part in the process of fusing multiple still images into lively, compelling films, all with the goal of elevating their storytelling capabilities. 

Omara has spent as much of his time educating as he has in pure pursuit of his art, though this has not come at the expense of recognition for his work. His latest feature-length film, ‘Dreamaway’ (2018), was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination in the Egyptian national selection and selected as the best Egyptian film of 2019 by the Egyptian Critics Association. His films have also been awarded and screened internationally at several major film festivals, and his love of collaborative filmmaking and the sharing of authorship puts all participants of this workshop in very safe hands.

‘Badawy Archive’ Exhibition

February 1st, 5 PM - February 10th

Graeco-Roman Museum

The Badawy Archive Exhibition is the first exhibition of Alexandrian photographer Ahmed Badawy’s archive, curated by Ahmed Nagy Draz, Abdelaziz Badawy, and Hazem Gouda. Born in the 1920s, Badawy continued to practise photography right up until the beginning of the millennium. The exhibition features original pieces from the archive’s collection, depicting different aspects of life in the city of Alexandria in the 1950s, alongside the traditional studio archive of family and social events of the Alexandrian photographer.

Cinematography: More Than Just Light

Ahmed Beshary

February 4th, 8 PM

The French Institute

📸 : Hashom Dashti

Ahmed Beshary is a cinematographer and director of photography (DP), best known for his work as DP for the 2020 Netflix original horror series ‘Paranormal’, as well as a considerable portfolio of advertising credits. His expertise within his two specialist fields will provide the audience with a wealth of knowledge and information to apply to both still photography as well as motion pictures.

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