Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Colours of Saudi Photography Forum

We went to the recent Colors of Saudi Photography Forum.

The Colors of Saudi Forum, held at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center on King Adbullah Road, had three purposes.  It was a chance for Saudi photographers to showcase their talents via a photographic exhibition, professional and amateur photographers could learn about various aspects of photography via workshops held each day and it was a medium for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) to promote Saudi tourism through photography.

There were numerous photographs to view and enjoy. My only regret is that I didn't take my own camera to get some shots of the show.

The environmental sector had this display. You could take a seat or just wander through with qahwah in hand. I had no idea there were so many animals in the Saudi desert.  One photo in particular caught my attention as it captured the many different aspects of the desert beautifully - capturing the deserts beauty on film is something I find very difficult with my point and shoot camera.  I think it may be time to upgrade to a beginner professional model.

The black and white heritage photographs by Ilo Battigeli revealing Saudi of yesteryear were beautiful. The Arab News wrote a short piece on this Italian photographer and his relationship to Saudi titled Lensman of Arabia when reporting on an exhibition of his work at the National Saudi museum, an exhibition I missed and hope they do again.

The photo that spoke to me most and stirred many emotions was one at the 9orti stand and you can find more of this groups work at www.9orti.net. So captured was I by the photograph of an old bedu man lying on the cold, hard ground that I didn't take a picture of it. A photo that can stir emotions is an excellent piece of work. Hubster's emotions weren't quite so stirred but beauty is in the eye of the beholder isn't it?

I particularly enjoyed talking to the young Saudi women whose photography was on display.  They are absolutely wonderful ladies who are passionate about their art.  The women undertaking graphic design through Princess Noura University, a course that is relatively new to Saudi women, were very enthusiastic when discussing their work.

Most engaging were the young ladies I met from Light Drawers. This small group provides occasional workshops and other activities to encourage and support women in the art of photography whether they be ardent amateurs or on the path to photography as a profession.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTA, organised the Colurs of Saudi Forum.  He is a keen photographer himself and displayed some of his own photographic handiwork.  With access to air transportation - he is an Air Force pilot and was the first Arab to head off into outer space (you can read more about Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud in Wikipedia)  - his collection includes photo's of sites in Saudi that most of us will not get to see.

Feedback from the expats I encouraged along  to the exhibition (a grand total of 4 if you exclude the Hubster) was generally positive.  Photography is still relatively new to Saudi and expats still wonder if they are allowed to be seen out and about with cameras.  As I mentioned in my post Capture Saudi on Film taking photo's in public places has been allowed in Saudi Arabia since 2006, though taking photo's of Saudi women and military hotspots is still a sensitive issue.

The Colours of Saudi Forum was quite a success and any future event promises to be bigger and better.

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