The brainchild of Cairo-based photography school, gallery and general hub, Photopia, Cairo Photo Week is set to be quite the occasion, with some truly unique masters of the craft set to share their work and their wisdom.
In what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest arts and culture events of the year, Downtown Cairo is set to play host to the very first edition of Cairo Photo Week; a nine-day festival of all things photography that will feature exhibitions, talks, panel discussions, photography walks and one or two surprises to boot – all at the hands of some Egypt, the Middle East and the world’s most renowned photographers, artists and general visual virtuosos.
The brainchild of Cairo-based photography school, gallery and general hub, Photopia, it’s set to be quite the occasion, with some truly unique masters of the craft set to share their work and their wisdom, of whom we’ve rounded up ten that you absolutely can’t miss.
March on Mars/ Toufic Araman
At 11 years old, Toufic Araman was gifted his first camera. The Egyptian-Lebanese painter and photographer, who now lives between NYC and Dubai, has since become one of the region's most renowned fashion and lifestyle photographers, snagging a list of prestigious awards along the way. Known for bold experimentation with lighting, Araman also famously enjoys a sound judgment when it comes to building creative production teams for his projects, usually a major obstacle to success in the cut-throat industry. "Light always plays a character in my pictures. But ultimately, what makes a stunning picture is the team that puts it together," said Araman.
The Many Faces of Death/ Bassam Allam
The renowned surrealist photographer, Bassam Allam, who earlier this year snatched first spot at the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards for his Portrait of Adima, lives between Berlin, Munich and Cairo, and his creative and eye-catching fashion shoots make regular appearances in the likes of Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, Vogue Arabia and BBC.
The Man Sitting Next To You/ Ali Ali - The Good People Film
A multi-award-winning Egyptian commercials' director, having won prestigious Cannes Lions, Ali Ali stands as one of the biggest figures in the creative industry. His quite hilarious ad campaign for Panda Cheese a few years back was named by The Guardian as one of the most watched TV spots in history. The former Executive Creative Director and Founder of Elephant agency is one of the region's most acclaimed and sought after directors.
The renowned Lebanese photographer is known exploring several sociopolitical notions in her work. She witnessed the aftermath of several wars in her city Beirut and has grown to focus on stories of refugees in her country, where they amount to a quarter the population. Her work has been exhibited around the world and has made appearances on global publications such Le Monde, Wall Street Journal and BBC.
Breast Ironing/ Heba Khamis
Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree in painting a few years back, Heba Khamis decided to veer off course and pursue a career in photojournalism instead. She started off with a job in an Egyptian newspaper, before deciding to volunteer her expertise in Uganda. Humanitarian and social issue quickly became the focus of her work, with her 2016 project, Banned Beauty, winning first prize at the prestigious World Press Photo competition earlier this year.
Prince Claus Fund Awards, 2017
Bertan Selim, the Programme Coordinator Grants & Collaborations at Amsterdam's Prince Claus Fund, which awards the prestigious The Prince Claus Awards to individuals and organisations upping the standards of the arts and culture around the world, and is named after the husband of the Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
For more than 20 years, Søren Pagter has been heading the world-famous photojournalism education at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX). He’s an go-to expert in press photography, and worked as such for a decade, before he dedicated his career to teaching photojournalism, and has been selected as a jury at multiple prestigious image awards, likes the The Danish Picture of the year, The Finnish Picture of the year.
Ezzeldinn is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world, having shot editorials for Vogue, I-D, Marie Claire and for behemoth brands like Versace and Bvlgari. The young photographer and director is based in Milan and Paris, and is largely focused on avant-garde digitisation and experimentation with advanced techniques in design, arts and fashion playing a big part in his work. Having launched his career from a Bachelor in Architecture and Society in Milan's Politecnico Di Milano, later gaining a Masters in Applied Arts and Photography from the Accademia Di Belle Arti Di Brera, his name has come to grow in fashion photography for being eclectic, socially conscious and conceptually dense.
The Veil/ Laura Al Tantawy
Born in Egypt, and living between London and Cairo, El-Tantawy is an award-winning photojournalist with many publications and exhibitions around social and environmental issues. In 2015, she was able, through crowdfunding, to self-publish her first photobook, In the Shadow of the Pyramids, which is set around the January Revolution in Cairo. Her work is known for its bright colours and semi-abstract imagery, but she is conceptually grounded in a critical view of the world.
Follow up with all the happenings at Cairo Photo Week on our Calendar Section.
Main Image: Breast Ironing/ Heba Khamis