BEIRUT: BEIRUT: Running from September 4 to October 5, the Beirut Image Festival is a one-of-a-kind experience that gives people a glimpse of the world in photographs.
One-hundred twenty-two photographers from 25 different countries are exhibiting their work in different art galleries in Beirut. Those will continue to tour and present their work over the following months across 22 other regions in Lebanon, including Baalbak, Tripoli, Tyr, Hammana, and Saida.
“After years of going back and forth, due to lack of support and funding, my dream of gathering photographs from all around the world in Beirut finally came true,” Marwan Naamani, a photojournalist and one of the organizers of the Beirut Image Festival 2019, told Annahar.
Nearly 3,800 photographs were originally sent in hopes of being displayed in the festival. However, and after careful consideration by the committee members, approximately 600 pictures were curated. Those succeeded in making their way to the final series of exhibitions, portrayed in a plethora of locations around Beirut.
The festival links and presents diverse cultures through the chosen images. Participating photographers come from Arabic, European, and Canadian origins.
“We cannot survive and progress without diversity. We should not limit ourselves to one community or else we won’t be able to get anywhere,” noted Naamani.
This basis paved the way for creating an atmosphere of openness and heterogeneity.
“The festival allowed me to display my Iraqi origins through my work,” said AbdulRasool Al Jabiri, an Iraqi photographer and a council member of the Union of Arab Photographers. “This event, unlike many others, is an open gallery that gives people a chance to interact with the various photographs.”
Being an "open gallery," the festival opened its doors to many visitors coming from different parts of the world and made sure that they will leave with a new perspective.
“I wanted to see the world from a Middle Eastern view, so I visited the festival. I think the element of diversity makes this festival even more attractive,” Rachel, a Canadian living in Beirut and visiting the festival, said. “I’ve done a fair amount of travelling and I still saw things that I haven’t seen before.”
The diversity of the event does not only benefit the visitors, but also the photographers themselves.
“Before taking part in this festival, I had no idea that certain countries witnessed huge amounts of immigration. It made me wonder about the reason behind that,” Galal El Missary, a member in the Union of Arab Photographers and one of the photographers partaking in the festival, told Annahar.
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