The student raises her hands to mimic the movement on the photograph.
The sixth Xposure International Photography Festival has expanded the learning and broadened the horizons of hundreds of school pupils in Sharjah on a broad spectrum of conservation and humanitarian issues through the compelling and vivid imagery showcased at the week-long event that concludes tomorrow (15 February) at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Exploring the 45 solo and group exhibitions at the festival, the students from various schools got the opportunity to step into the fascinating visual universes of 70 world-renowned visionary photographers and learn from their unique perspectives and experiences.
The festival also opened a window to various genres in photography and gave the young children greater insights into new technologies and trends in the visual medium through the range of products and photographic equipment on display at the festival.
Sergey Ponomarev explores Moscow’s fragility and beauty during the pandemic: “The great emptiness and beauty of my capital city, Moscow, stand out in my photographs, and everyone of us can feel this emptiness in our own stories, memories and hopes,” said Russian photojournalist Sergey Ponomarev, while discussing ‘New Opportunities During the Pandemic Lockdown’ at the sixth edition of Xposure International Photography Festival.
Ponomarev’s photographs of the Russian capital shot in the spring of 2020 and titled, ‘Moscow: The Great Empty’ are on display at Expo Centre Sharjah, where Xposure runs until February 15.
“It was strange to see the traffic lines,” said the photographer, alluding to the infamous traffic jams of the bustling megapolis of 20 million inhabitants. The monument to poet Alexander Pushkin - a prominent landmark and “the soul of Moscow”, also stood in complete emptiness. Every day he walked around 15 to 20 kilometres and clicked 2,500 shots in all to get images of buildings, parks, monuments, road junctions, and more.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning freelance photographer, who has covered wars, revolutions, and natural disasters across the globe, added that it was a miracle he was in his hometown of Moscow when the coronavirus pandemic broke out around the world.
The footballer-turned-lensman reminisced that “during the first pandemic lockdown, journalists in Moscow could move freely without restriction, and most photographers went to hospitals and other frontline areas where the fight for life was visible, but I decided to take a different path.”
For his project, Ponomarev chose to work on architectural images in black and white where one could see monuments interacting with each other. “I am a visual person, and I experienced my hometown in a new way every day, and that was a fantastic feeling,” he said.
Ponomarev transformed the images into a series of panoramas, which went against the norm of taking verticals for smartphone and social network compatibility.
“The project also helped me overcome fear – the fear of infection, fear for my loved ones and the fear that nothing will be the same. The pandemic exposed the puncture points of humanity and forced a rethink of our values,” Ponomarev stated.
American photographer Stephen Wilkes at Xposure 2022: “Time, for me, is a fabric that can be warped and stretched but I flatten it on a second plane to depict the journey of a place from the time day ends to when night begins,” said celebrated American photographer and artist Stephen Wilkes while discussing his iconic Night and Day project at the sixth Xposure International Photography Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah.
In a conversation with Whitney Johnson, Vice President of Visuals & Immersive Experiences at National Geographic, Wilkes spoke at length of his unique storytelling technique, which he calls Masterplay. “It aims to explore new ways of seeing. Everything I do is about seeing because I am addicted to looking at things,” he said, while describing how he has been parking himself atop purpose-built scaffoldings, often 40 feet high, in locations around the world including the US, Greenland, Iceland, and even in Africa’s Serengeti National Park.
“We are living through the most dynamic period of visual storytelling, and I want people to see what I see, to feel what I feel, and that is possible thanks to technology,” said Wilkes.
“Some of my final images have taken months to complete and I eventually use only around 50 of the 1,600 or more images I click during a stretch of 36 hours of non-stop filming,” he said. “I use technology as a vehicle to tell the story.”