Night and day with Gulf Photo Plus

Community photo exhibition brings light and shade to Dubai's art scene

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Day & Night is an exciting new showcase of local and international talent. Chanelle Tourish finds out more.

As the famous American photographer Ansel Adams once said: ‘Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.’ And it is this creative art that fans of photography will be heading to the Gulf Photo Plus (GPP) gallery in Alserkal Avenue to see a unique exhibition of images under the theme, Day & Night.

On display until Saturday July 26, the exhibition offers the public the opportunity to see 47 of the finest entries whittled down from more than 250 submissions, including gifted amateurs and established professionals from across the globe and around the UAE. ‘We have a massive community of photographers at GPP who have taken workshops with us or who have attended our events and we really just want to highlight their work,’ says gallery manager, Miranda McKee.

Over the course of ten years, GPP has garnered an international reputation as a leader in photography events in the Middle East. Day & Night celebrates all those who passionately pursue the art and science of photography around the clock. The exhibition presents a variety of compelling images spanning a wide spectrum of genres including landscape, fine art, portraiture and abstract work.

‘Photography in the art world is very approachable,’ says Miranda. ‘For people, who don’t usually go to galleries, walking up to a painting is perhaps something that is really new to them and it can be a little intimidating. If you don’t have a background in art, you might wonder how it was done and what it’s trying to express.

‘Almost everyone has access to a camera so it’s easier for people to approach an image and understand it. It’s not quite as mysterious but they can connect with it. The exhibition gives us an opportunity to share photography with the public as a language that crosses different barriers and allows people to tell their own story.’

GPP chose the theme Day & Night to encourage a variety of submissions from landscape photography to fine art images and portraits. Swiss photographer Hakim Boulouiz will return to GPP for a second time with his street photography at the entrance of the exhibition.

‘Hakim’s image is the very first image you see when you enter the exhibition, titled ‘Urbania’. It’s a beautiful quiet moment of a woman standing in the street near a street sign and she’s looking up. It’s one of those really common moments. We’ve all been that person – maybe waiting for a bus or contemplating where to go next. It’s a street photography image and even though she looks like she’s probably in a busy city at midday, there’s no one around her. The shadow below and the dark overhang that are purposefully included in this image work well to frame the subject. It’s visually beautiful and a great example of how street photography can really stand out when it’s done right,’ explains Miranda.

Other artists such as Amani Al Shaali use the camera to create new worlds through dreamlike photographs. The young Emirati’s image ‘The Redeemed Soul’ is similar in style to US-based photographer and GPP instructor Brooke Shaden’s work.

‘Amani took a workshop with Brooke a few years ago and she found her as a great inspiration. The idea behind both Brooke’s work and Amnai’s is that they are quite dreamlike, almost whimsical and it’s sort of about breaking free. Even in this image it’s quite clear that there is a sense of freedom as it shows a woman seated next to water and that open space is beautiful. Amani is a passionate and creative spirit and that shines through her work – she is an artist to watch,’ says Miranda.

The Lowdown

Exhibition: ‘Day & Night’ until July 26, Gulf Photo Plus, Al Quoz (04 380 8545)
Artists: Various

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