Director: Issa Touma
Feed Back  
  Boulos Megarbane / Lawyer  
  Aleppo is a city, which has opened its doors to modern developments and progress, is also known as a historic birthplace of ancient civilization.
Aleppo has always been a cultural crossroad and so it is fitting that the
Photography Gathering should maintain this mission and tradition.

Today Aleppo embraces and welcomes the meeting of artists from all over the world who bring with them their aims and dreams. The photographs, which were
exhibited in the 6th International Annual Photography Gathering, were a wonderful collection covering a multiplicity subject matter and profound personal emotion. The smile of a child, the effect of the passing years on the face of an aging man, catastrophe, the profound silence of
nature, the capturing of a special moment, shocking sadness, great

Congratulations Aleppo! Your sons worked faithfully to keep their city as
their fathers left it, a shining beacon for art and science.

Leading the way is the Engineer Munib Sa'm Al-Daher, the Minister of Power and Energy Resources who made the Old Electricity Buildings available to the Organizing Committee of the Sixth International Photography Gathering and its wide ranging activities.

A special tribute to the energetic and visionary Issa Touma, who has worked
unceasingly to make the International Photography Gathering a serious
contributor to the cultural life of Syria.

Finally, I would like to convey my deep and warm greetings to all the
participants, and to everyone who took part in this successful cultural
phenomenon. They worked very hard to introduce themselves and to recognize
others. We need more of these kinds of cultural exchanges at this time.
  Doctor Bassam Hussein  
  ”There are still there are mysteries that raise interesting questions about that old, dark and deserted building known as The Old Electricity Building. That floor has one floor and has huge black metal windows up to the roof. There is a huge metal drum in the middle the floor, that reminds one of the smoke stack of a huge steamship. Over the years this old drum became encrusted with a vile plants green mold.

Issa touma and his team were the main reason for the departure of this metaphorical steamship. They arranged to have the lights the turned on and moved the disgarded engines and tons of scrap metal from the fiftees and sixties. Suddenly it was a forum for photography exhibitions, songs, discussions, performances and workshops.

You will be astonished should you venture in and explore the secrets inside this old building as, we did. Artists give their song and dance performances beside the exhibited photos, which gathered together from all over the world, were oblighed to move on the basis and in the tunnels of that machines. Therefore, the place imposed its presence.

Year after year, the Photography Gathering in Aleppo has become a opportunity to reinvent these old structures like the Old Electricity Building and the Shibani Building. In these spaces, the photographers reveal through their photographic images, life as movable objects in a motionless universe, a chance to see the life from many different perspectives.

Until very recently The Art of Photography had no presence in the cultural life of Aleppo. However, with each annual Photography Gathering the crowds grow bigger every year. No one could realize the international significance of the language of photography which the International Photography Gathering introduces every year.
Simply, we can say that the general characteristics of the exhibited photos did not direct to professionalism nor complexity. However, it would like to convey the fact that each paerson could have his/her own camera. Therefore, he can introduce the universe from his own point of view and present photos from different angles.

This action is simple but very sensitive at the same time. The line which distinguishes the simple from the effective is the line of opinion, which one can fix it by simple pressure on the camera.This will enable everybody to capture photos”.
  Yaccoub Ibrahim / Artist  
  “I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to all the people who organized the Photography Gathering and have done their best to enhance the cultural life of their country, Syria. Personally, I would like to thank Issa Touma, the Director of the International Photography Gathering, who spared no effort in establishing this unique and outstanding cultural event. During this process he renewed two important buildings in Aleppo and thereby ensured and emphasized their architectural importance. The Shibani Building and the Old Electricity Building will serve as important cultural and tourist venues for a long time to come”.
  Nouh-Ammar Hammami / Participating Photographer  
  “The Sixth International Photogarphy Gathering in Aleppo has established itself and created a presence and proven effectiveness on both local and international levels. Of course, it is the most important photography gathering in the Middle East. However, we hope that in the coming years the international and the local mass media will cover the activities of the festival on a larger scale, to expand international awareness of this very valuable cultural event. Promotion of The Photography Gathering should be maximized to raise awareness of this annual event and introduce all of the artists especially the Syrian artists to the whole world”.
  Veronika Zapletalova / Participating Photographer  
  Czech Republic
  “Between 11th of September and 30th of September I had a wonderful opportunity to participate The 6th International Photography Gathering in Aleppo, 2002. This festival took a place in an unusual place, The Old Electricity Building in Aleppo. It is one of the most important cultural events in Syria.

Organizers of this event, (my special thanks to Mr. Issa Touma), chose this old and very interesting industrial place for the meeting of artists from different countries and different cultures. The main part of the exhibition was photography, but also very important was the series of activities, for example, workshops by artists, who discussed their work with the public, concerts of all the kinds (modern and classic), dance and the other performances.

The artists were given the opportunity to show their work in the Old Electricity Building, but also everyone was supplied with the any equipment they needed for installations. The organizers printed, in English and Arabic, a catalogue with a profile of each artist, a package made up of a collection of colourful picture postcards with a copy of a sample of each artists work, invitations, posters of two sizes and the other assorted materials. All the artists stayed for five days in the fine Amir Hotel.

There was also a great deal of information about this festival running in newspapers, television and other media. Many performances and lectures were also shown on television.

For my personal development all this was very important. I was well informed beforehand on how the festival was planned. The Photo Gathering was a great opportunity for me to discover the differences in thinking between two (or several) cultures and the similarities. In my opinion this was an important aspect for the all people participating this festival, artists and public alike.
As everyone works on his or her own subject, which can be very different from the ideas of other artists, there is a certain line of human ideas and feelings, which are finally similar for all. This is good to discover again and again especially when the world is becoming so complicated and sometimes difficult place. Culture is one of the strongest languages which helps people to understand one another.

I am very happy I have met all the interesting and creative people and be able to share with them my ideas and opinions. I would like to thank again the organizers of this big cultural event, for myself and for the other people who were able to participate.”
  Ziad Al-Haj / Participating Photographer  
  “The International Photography Gathering is the only one of its kind in the Middle East. It fills a huge gap in visual arts activities currently available in this region, especially photography. This type of activity is badly needed, in order to provide photographic experiences and opportunities to our modern generation and to connect with the rest of the world artistically as distinct from normal commercial photography.

This gathering with its regional and international significance introduced us to many varied experiences and increases the possibility of bringing creative artists together especially in the absence of experts who specialize in this medium.

The Photo Gathering reinforces our desire to see this event continue in the future and we sincerely support the efforts of its organizers”.
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