Slidefest #17 - 10th November 2015

Mahesh Shantaram - from the "Matrimania" series

Mahesh Shantaram - from the "Matrimania" series

After 15 editions of Slidefest at Knowledge Village, Gulf Photo Plus was asked to move their event to a different venue and thankfully they found one that's not too far away from Knowledge Village, the American University in Dubai's auditorium

The 17th edition of Slidefest will take place on Tuesday, 10th November at 7pm and is free to attend (no prior registration is required). 

Here's the line up of presenters: 

Jalal Abuthina

Jalal Abuthina is an Irish/Libyan self taught photographer and independent visual artist based in Dubai. His personal work varies highly in subject matter and approach, and drifts between locally focused photo documentaries, independent public intervention projects, and his own personal tangents into the curious and surreal. 

Abuthina will be sharing images from an independently produced and published collection of cultural and photographic memorabilia products from the city of Dubai entitled “Inside Dubai” (ID). The collection offers a contemporary, relevant and in-depth visual reflection of the city - set as an alternative to the limited, repetitive and standardized images and cliché associated with Dubai.

Maša Dizdar

Maša Dizdar was born in Bosnia and moved to Sweden when she was 14. She studied art at upper secondary school of fine arts for four years and has a bachelor in history of art.  She also has a masters in classical archaelogy with a focus on iconography.

Coming to Dubai three years ago gave Dizdar the time and possibility to reflect on herself and the world around her. She says “The world is filled with conflicts and contrasts that lack logic. My images are illustrating what I feel. This beautiful world is not for real. There is always something disturbing in the image, an anxiety.” 

Dizdar will be presenting a selection of her edited images from her Instagram account.

Ozge Calafato presenting for Akkasah

Özge Calafato studied Political Science in Istanbul and Journalism in London. Since 1999, she has worked as a journalist, editor and translator for several magazines focusing on photography, literature, contemporary art, film, jazz and travel. She has worked as an interpreter and reporter for several news publications and agencies, including the BBC World Service and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, she has authored five books and translated several others.  

Ozge currently works with the New York University in Abu Dhabi in the Akkasah Center for Photography which explores the histories and contemporary practices of photography in the Arab world. She will be presenting work from the late Ottoman and modern Turkey era. 

Reem Falaknaz

Reem Falaknaz is a photographer and freelance TV producer/director from the United Arab Emirates. The nature of her job allows her to travel around the Emirates, where she records and collects narratives from the city’s inhabitants. Her work stems from the realization of a scarcity of modern history documentation. Through video, photography, audio and endless conversations; Falaknaz continues to explore the makeup of her surroundings and attempt to translate the stories she collects.

“This Momentary” focuses on the merchants and craftsmen around Dubai's Al Khor (Creek) area. Many of these traders have occupied that part of the city from more that 30 years. They shared their stories and some of their personal items. Through this collection of cherished photographs, atypical religious items, worn out clothes and old radio players; the personal narratives of each contributor was emphasised and the multicultural make up of Dubai, while subjectively outlining a regional map of labour forces.

Gabriela Maj

Gabriela Maj grew up in Poland, Germany and Canada. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography from Parsons School of Design at the New School University in New York and later went on to complete an Interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Anthropology at Columbia University.
Over the course of five years, Maj travelled independently throughout Afghanistan visiting women's prison facilities where she interviewed and photographed over 100 incarcerated individuals for her new book Almond Garden (Daylight). The project's primary goal is to raise awareness about the unjust incarceration of women for moral crimes while honoring the individuals featured. 

Jeff Topping and Anna Zacharias

Jeff Topping has more than 25 years experience as a Photojournalist and Travel Photographer working in more than 20 countries on commissioned and self-generated assignments. Topping was based in Arizona in the U.S. prior to coming to the UAE in 2008 to work as a staff photographer for The National newspaper. 

Anna Zacharias is a Canadian journalist raised in Ras Al Khaimah. She reported for The National newspaper from 2008 to 2014. For three of those years she was based in Ras Al Khaimah, covering health, environment, crime, labor, road safety, politics and in-depth features. She was a senior features writer in Abu Dhabi, specializing in UAE pop heritage. She wrote The National’s camel blog, A Year at the Camel Races.

Topping and Zacharias will share their series "People of Ras al Khaimah", which contains personal stories of more than 50 long-time RAK residents, whose families have been in Ras Al Khaimah for generations. It includes geographic shorts from urban and rural areas. Witnesses to the early post-oil era are now retiring overseas, whilst Emirati elders are aging.

Mahesh Shantaram

Mahesh Shantaram is a photographer based in Bangalore, India. Wasting away in a cubicle in Washington DC in 2005, Shantaram sought a more worthy pursuit in life, and went to Paris to study photography. Upon returning to India the following year, he found an opportunity in wedding photography. 
The guise of a wedding photographer has provided Shantaram access and opportunity to further his fictional photo series, Matrimania. It's a story that runs through one dreary wedding night, shot over six years, presenting a view of Indian society seen through the prism of its wedding culture.