Capturing the Personal, the Social and the Political: the Arab Documentary Photography Program’s 2024 Photographers and Fellows Announced
16 / 4 / 2024

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC, the Prince Claus Fund and the Magnum Foundation are pleased to announce the 10th group of eight photographers selected for Mentorship under the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP), in addition to the six ADPP alumni who were selected for the first iteration of the ADPP Alumni Fellowship program, in association with For Freedoms, for the year 2024.

Now in its tenth year, the ADPP is committed to nurturing free expression, amplifying unheard narratives, and raising the level of creative documentary photography in the Arab region. The ADPP Alumni Fellowship was launched in order to offer sustained support in association with For Freedoms. 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.

For its 10th edition, the program welcomes back mentors Randa Shaath and Peter Van Agtmael who will accompany the program's participants under the ADPP mentorship track, and introduces two new mentors, Nadia Bseiso and Abdo Shanan, from the ADPP alumni. On the other hand, the recipients of the Alumni Fellowship will be accompanied by ADPP long-standing mentors Tanya Habjouqa and Eric Gottesman.

Two readers’ committees were assigned to screen the applications received. The committees gathered previous ADPP jurors Hrair Sarkissian (Syria) and Dalia Khamissy (Lebanon), previous ADPP grantee Sara Sallam (Egypt), and previous Magnum Fellow Rola Khayyat (Lebanon). The applications that passed this first evaluation were sent to an independent jury committee comprised of Egyptian photojournalist and documentary photographer Nariman El-Mofty, Lebanese cultural practitioner Heba Hage-Felder and British cultural producer Jessica Murray who, at the close of their deliberations, issued the following statement:

    As you fight your wars, think about others”, said poet 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 for the alumni community and is meant to activate on-going work. 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.

    It’s remarkable that Fellowship and Mentorship applications showcase boldness in critiquing parachuting journalism and seek novel ways to transcend traditional news media. 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 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 for the mentorship track 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.

The ADPP Alumni 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.

The projects selected by the jurors:


* The eighth photographer chose to remain anonymous

Alumni Fellowship

To know more about the ADPP and discover previous cycles’ projects, visit the program’s website.