Cairo Photo Week at Townhouse Gallery in downtown - Hanan Fayed
CAIRO - 11 March 2021: Cairo Photo Week festival kicked off Thursday with the US and French ambassadors visiting the exhibitions organized by the Egypt-based photography hub Photopia.
Five US photographers and artists are participating in the second edition of Cairo Photo Week as part of the U.S. embassy’s partnership with Photopia, a prominent organization that offers a network of resources, opportunities and contacts amongst photographers in the Middle East.
“Anyone in the world would feel a connection to this exhibition,” U.S. ambassador Jonathon R. Cohen told the event organizers and Photopia’s cofounder Marwa Abou Leila after touring the exhibition and meeting some of the exhibitors.
U.S. ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen and French ambassador Stephane Romatet touring the exhibition. Photo courtesy of the U.S. embassy in Cairo
In a statement, Cohen said “we are delighted to bring acclaimed American photographers to Egypt to share their expertise with counterparts from the Middle East and North Africa and continue the tradition of visual storytelling. Our partnership with Photopia is part of the Embassy’s annual half million-dollar contribution to arts organizations and institutions in Egypt to promote cultural and artistic initiatives,”
When the U.S. embassy saw that Cairo Photo Week is already the largest and most diverse festival tor photographers in the MENA region, it decided that “this is our time to really be able to support a festival that looks at visual storytelling in an effective way, to share history, to share stories. And we wanted to be a part of that,” Michelle Angulo, assistant cultural affairs officer at the U.S. embassy, told Egypt Today.
Angulo also praised Aboul Leila’s “vision in understanding that photographers needed a space to learn the discipline of photography, to showcase all the work.”
For his part, Romatet said the continuation of the event for the second year in a row amid the COVID-19 pandemic “confirms that [Photopia] is good news for culture and life in Cairo.”
“The location is fantastic, here in downtown, in the new premises that have been completely renovated, he added, referring to Townhouse Gallery and nearby venues in which the workshops will be held.
He also said he is happy the event will link the young generation of French photographers with you Egyptian photographers, noting that Egyptian-French photographers are in the event, as well as six French photographers.
Three of the U.S. photographers will deliver workshops in person in Cairo, and two are joining virtually to deliver workshops. Tickets for the event also come for physical entrance and virtual attendance.
Photos from Cairo Photo Week exhibition - Engy Fouad
The U.S. participants are Maggie Steber, documentary photographer and one of National Geographic Magazine’s 2013 Women of Vision; Shamayim Shacaro, fashion and beauty photographer; and Felix Kunze, portrait expert. Virtually, award-winning photography experts Peter DiCampo, photojournalist and co-founder of The Everyday Projects non-profit, and Emma Raynes, from the Magnum Foundation, will be joining in.
Photographers from France, major cinematographers, artists,and photographers of all specializations such as fashion, nature and others are also partaking in the event from March 11-20.
U.S. ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen Cairo Photo Week organizers - Photo courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo
“We see the future of image-making as anti-specialization; it is more about the skill of making an image now regardless of its genre. So we decided to focus on industry examples of such shifts and fusions that we have witnessed and bring them to you,” Photopia says on the event page.
The event, which has 20 local and international partners, offers numerous workshops & masterclasses with more than 90 Keynote speakers and instructors, as well as 11 Exhibitions of 100 Exhibitors. Attending the exhibitions is free of charge.
U.S. ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen speaks to Marwa Abou Leila of Photopia at the inauguration of Cairo Photo Week - Hanan Fayed