Arab Documentary Photography Program 2024 Photographers Announced

Capturing the personal, the social, and the political – The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC, the Prince Claus Fund and the Magnum Foundation are pleased to announce the 10th group of photographers selected for the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP), in addition to the six alumni selected for the first iteration of the ADPP Fellowship, in association with For Freedoms.

The programme is part of the Prince Claus Fund Mentorship Awards.

18 Ali Zaraay

© Ali Zaraay

Looking back at nine years of the program, we are convinced that it remains essential for nurturing free expression, amplifying unheard narratives, and raising the level of creative documentary photography in the Arab region. However, we recognize that one-time support can only go so far; which is why, on the occasion of the ADPP’s 10th cycle anniversary, we launched the ADPP Fellowship program

While the Mentorship track of the ADPP caters to emerging photographers of the Arab region, the Fellowship is dedicated to ADPP alumni who are in need of further mentorship and consultancy. Fellows will benefit from guidance by mentors and from the opportunity to consult with experts — photographers, artists, academics, and practitioners of other artistic disciplines — depending on their assessed needs. 

The jury committee convened in March to review the pool of applicants for both tracks. The committee comprised Egyptian photojournalist and documentary photographer Nariman El-Mofty, and Lebanese cultural manager Heba Hage-Felder, as well as British cultural producer Jessica Murray. At the close of their deliberations, the jurors issued the following jury statement which encapsulates their impressions:

“As you fight your wars, think about others”, said Mahmoud Darwish. As we grieve and condemn the genocide of Palestinians, the ethnic cleansing in Sudan and the lingering tragedies in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, and Lebanon and so many suffering communities across the Arab world, it is our collective narratives that remind us of what is worth living for. The 10th cycle of ADPP coincides with the first Fellowship component for the alumni community and is meant to activate on-going practices with further iterations. There are beautiful propositions for collaborations, and innovative ways of including the community of documentary photographers, as well as experimenting with diverse outputs. What is particularly compelling is how artists evolve with topics they hold close to their heart.

What is noticeable overall in the Fellowship and the Mentorship components of applications is the boldness in critiquing parachuting journalism and seeking ways to transcend news. We see this in how works dissect language, revisit narratives, and complement stories with personal and archival substance. Some of the applications look inwards, focusing on mental health, body image, and invisible scars related to personal, social and political tragedies. We were hoping in some cases that the discourse would challenge us to transcend wounds. We appreciate the maturity in some projects narrating dispossession and diaspora in the aftermath of scarcity, deliberate negligence and wars. There are also creative attempts at juxtaposing generations and events through the use of archives, diaries and multiple art forms to extend the image. Having the courage to explore multimedia is commendable but sometimes, this seemed to curtail the coherence of the storytelling. We appreciate the efforts to engage diverse audiences and expose in dignified ways, what is intimate or taboo. We are thrilled by the freshness of themes, the poetic visual language, and going beyond trendy topics.

It is painful to select final candidates given the incredible array of projects that are well-rounded in addition to first-time projects with huge potential. We thank all applicants for sharing a part of themselves, their trials and passions and encourage their quest to keep on disclosing through visual storytelling what inflicts our region and our dispersed selves.”

The selected photographers hail from Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen. These emerging photographers’ projects address conflicts and war times, social and collective memory, loss and grief as well as exile and migration.

On their part, the ADPP Fellows, hailing from Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Yemen, dive into notions of space and liberation, exile and displacement, as well as into inner selves tackling intimate topics such as motherhood and traumas. Some plan to release photo books, while others propose workshops and exhibitions.

To learn more about the Arab Documentary Photography Program and discover previous cycles’ projects, visit the program’s website.

ADPP Website

Meet the ADPP Awardees

Meet the ADPP Fellows