There are a number of large photography events and festivals in the world and choosing which one to go to can sometimes be a challenge. Let me shorten your list of events you must attend at some point in your photographic career and put Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai at the top of that list. There is no other event, that I know of, that is like GPP.
Many large events, conferences, festivals, etc typically have a day or two of small hands-on workshops and are then followed by a number of days of platform talks in large conference halls. GPP turns that model around with one day of platform talks (Photo Friday) and then SIX days of hands-on workshops from a wide array of teachers teaching an equally wide array of topics. Check it out. You can lay in the grass with Joe McNally. Where else can you do that?
Fashion, portraiture, editorial on location (and at amazing locations at that), Lightroom, Photoshop, headshots, art, documentary, lighting, business, inspiration, etc, etc, etc, etc. Dude. Ed Kashi is teaching two classes. I’d tell you to sign up but his workshops are already sold out. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
You can take a class from Sara Lando. Then you can spend one, two, or three days with Joe McNally. Take off with David Nightingale for landscapes or shooting the city then learn post production from RC Concepcion. Joel Grimes is gonna be there. Lindsay Adler is back. Ryan Brenizer is teaching weddings and business. PETER F*CKING HURLEY. PETER F*CKING HURLEY. PETER F*CKING HURLEY.
If you have never taken a Peter Hurley class you have to take a Peter Hurley class. He’s a damn monster and I love him. Some loser named David Hobby will be there teaching something about lighting or something. Architecture with Mike Kelley. Drew Gurian is teaching. Some hack named Zack Arias is teaching street and editorial and OneLight. (Listen to nothing that guy says.) I should link each of these. Just go look at the list here.
But wait! There’s more! Tell ’em what else they get!
There’s the Photo Friday talks and panels. There’s usually a talk or demo given most evenings. There’s the shoot out that’s always fun and frustrating. Meg and I will be doing a live critique at some point during the week. I guarantee you will leave Dubai filled with ideas, information, techniques, and new friends. You’ll be deprived of sleep and you’ll be marking your calendar for GPP 2016.
I mean really. Watching David Burnett shoot Kushti wrestling with a 4×5 camera is something I’ve gotten to witness because of GPP. It’s these magical little moments that make GPP the most unique event for photographers I’ve seen.
The beauty of GPP is it’s still on the small side compared to other photography conferences. Everyone is accessible sometime during the week. It’s common to find instructors and students mixing and mingling as peers. There isn’t a wall separating teachers and students. There are more and more people attending GPP each year from all over the world but it is still intimate and friendly and open. It’s the best photography festival I’ve ever been a part of.
Lastly… It’s Dubai! It’s an amazing place that brings people together from all over the world. It will change your life and your world view. If you’ve never been to the Middle East you need to go to this event and experience it first hand. You need to either not buy that new lens you’re looking at or sell one and buy a plane ticket and get your tail to Dubai for GPP. They have a great page to help you plan your trip there. Sign up for my Day & Night street class and I’ll take you to my favorite place to eat in Dubai. (ETA – Sorry. It’s sold out. Get on the waiting list!)
The dates for GPP 2015 are March 6th to the 13th. Cash in some miles and I’ll see you there!