Director: Issa Touma
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  Zuheir Dabbagh / Artist  
  Fine Art Association, Syria
  In our cities there are many forgotten structures that form a bond to antiquity that have been overlooked over the years. For the most part these places have lost their usefulness become neglected when they were deserted for more modern alternatives.

However these old and sometimes forgotten buildings retain the memory of their ancient use and reveal the essential nature and characteristics of our cities. To destroy these landmarks is to betray the community’s heritage by eliminating the beautiful old character of these cities.

In some cases the sons of the community have originated new solutions to the problem of finding ways to preserve and make use of these heritage landmarks as cultural and community centers.

On my visit to Sixth International Photography Gathering in the Old Electricity Building I was reminded of the galleries I visited in London and Zurich.. In Zurich an old tile factory had been transformed into an amazing cultural center that became an active magnet for the city’s young people and directed their creative energies. It became a appropriate place for them to explain their dreams and to exhibit their various artistic creations including theatre, literature, photography, fine arts, etc.

The Old Electricity Building in Aleppo has been transformed by sweeping away the piles worthless iron and accumulated dust. This old landmark has a new life and purpose as a cultural center presenting art exhibitions and performance art by artists from Syria and all over the world. This space has a new cultural purpose presenting a window of opportunity for the world to see our creative inventions and for us to sail toward the new artistic horizons.
  Youssef Akil / Artist  
  “Art is privately expressed but interacts with other humans and envelopes them. It evolves from the particular to the general, from the local to the international.

Le Pont Gallery under its director Issa Touma and through the Photography Gathering creates a window to the whole world”.
  Walid Ikhlasi / Author  
  “The feeling of astonishment and surprise visitors experienced when entering the Old Electricity Building to see The Sixth International Photography Gathering was created by the old, deserted and industrial environment of that building. However, this environment did not detract from, indeed it enhanced the technical beauty revealed in the photographs. The works of art exhibited there, were produced by a considerable number of artists from different regions, but it became evident that they executed work of substantial artistic merit, each one with its own feelings and own visions towards the surrounding reality. Thus, the photographs on display were rooted in and embraced modern realities while relating to a historical city like Aleppo where evolution of the human history and the timeless human and artistic search for truth is symbolized.

The time is frozen in exhibited photographs, as they are the interpretations and experiences of the participating artists but they are only brought to life, by the visitors and the audience of the exhibition who view the work and create a dynamic that motivates the imagination and gives birth to the idea of co-operation and the feeling of intimate participation.

Usually time absorbs the events and the incidents, so they recede through the circle of life. But part of it is preserved in the individual and collective memory, this is precisely the aim of the art of photography. Photography reaches its zenith when it develops into something closer to the art. Thus, the significance of this kind of photography gathering, is its crucial role in the struggle to push and pull photography into the sphere of the other plastic arts and take its place along side painting and sculpture.

During the relatively short history of photography since the invention of the lens and the camera, photographers have been constantly striving to bring this technology to the level of art. And exhibitions such as this are an essential part of this process”.
  Therese Karkajian  
  The Sixth International Photography Gathering is a unique cultural phenomenon that should be encouraged and supported by our country because of the benefits from derived the atmosphere of free and open investigation that it brings to our country. It is not as some of the weak penholders supposed. Some would like to impede the march progress and the benefits our civilization derives from these activities.

Syria is a country that is ready for the freedom that this kind of cultural exchange brings. A freedom of thought and expression, that is spreading all over the world. Of course, this new notion of liberty of thought and action must respect and not interfere with freedom of other individuals. We must be aware of our traditions and not exceed the reality of our laws.

I would like to convey my deep thanks to the organizing committee who worked with such dedication towards elevating the cultural activities in Aleppo, which is the sole purl in the history of Syria
  Toukhig Arabian / Participating Photographer  
  “Photography, in my opinion, is something that improves your perception and directs your mind towards something that has never been noticed, so that you develop your special ways of looking at things.
This is what I found in this exclusive festival. It encourages people to improve their perspective, and most of all, it gathered artists of various genres, and art viewers of diffferent tastes in one artistic atmosphere”.
  Frederic Jourda / Participating Photographer  
  “Here are my comments about the festival: The place (the Old Electric Building) is fantastic, very big and lot of space and very "trendy", in Paris we love this kind of space. I think you can do better for the lighting. Regarding the organization, it was almost perfect; it's always difficult to satisfy everyone in a festival with so many photographers. Personally I have no complaint about the organization. It was very interesting to see and to listen to the reactions of the public to my pictures, and to speak with them, speak about my work and my way of making pictures, why I take these kinds of pictures with this kind of camera and so on.... For me during a festival, it's very important to meet people and to talk and share the way I see things (!). It is also as important to show my pictures. During this festival I met some people who were puzzled about my work, so I could explain different things, and it was interesting for them, and also for me! Before this festival, I dreamed of going to Syria, and this festival gave me this opportunity to visit the country, meet people, and show my work! It's great, but one week is too short. But it was a good experience and a very good trip, all the people were very nice and curious. That's it!”.
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