Why I Love Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai

Dubai, 2014
Dubai, 2014

Dear streettogs,

I am excited to share that I am one of the instructors at “Gulf Photo Plus 2016” this year. If you’ve never heard about the event, long story short— it is the most epic, fun, and educational photography-related event I have ever been to.

The event “Gulf Photo Plus” is also the name of the organization (also called Gulf Photo Plus”— yeah it can be confusing)— and it is a yearly event in Dubai (the place that has the ski-lift inside a mall). It brings all the world’s best instructors (both adept photographers and great teachers), and honestly it is just a fun time to hang out with other photographers, grab drinks at the bars in the evening, and feel love and inspiration.

What I love about GPP is that it is not-pretentious. You don’t have a bunch of dudes with their cameras and treating it like a dick-measuring contest. No— these guys are here to learn, share inspiration, and they really love photography.

Also the guys who run it— they genuinely care about photography education. Mo (founder and head honcho) is a good friend of mine— he doesn’t make a ton of money off GPP; he does it because he truly loves photography (he is also a passionate documentary photographer), and is trying his best to promote photography in the Middle-East (and globally).

This series of workshops I’m doing at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai are the closest one I’m doing to Europe— so if you’re in the area, see if you can find a cheap flight to Dubai. And if not, check out the great workshops by other instructors like David Hobby, Zack Arias, or Steve Simon (all super great human beings).

Dubai, 2014
Dubai, 2014

I preach a lot about investing in travel, experiences, and education (not gear). Honestly, the trip to Dubai, the cost of the workshops, and hotels aren’t cheap— but it is honestly an experience you will never forget (I haven’t). I still have a lot of really good friends in Dubai (I would never personally want to live there, but I would because of the friends I have there).

A lot of people have misconceptions about Dubai and the middle-east. No they aren’t a bunch of backwards people wearing turbans. They are highly-educated, kind, and generous people. Especially in Dubai— it is the most cosmopolitan place in the Middle-East; apparently over 80% of the population there are ex-pats.

The structure of GPP is there are a series of workshops, talks (some free and paid), and imagine it like a really intense photography summer-camp; most guys stay at the same hotel and have meals and drinks together in the evenings.

The days are pretty packed and intense— you will be exhausted by the end. But on the flight back home, you will never forget all these new friends and memories.

Surprisingly– the food in Dubai is damn good; there are so many different restaurants, flavors, and culture there.

Also in terms of street photography, there is a ton of great street photography to be done there– my personal favorite is going to the “souks” (old markets in ‘Old Dubai’ — which looks like you’re shooting in Egypt). The people there are extremely friendly; haven’t had a single altercation or issue there.

Also fortunately in about 2 months (when GPP is) — the weather will be a lot cooler (do not go during the summer).

Dubai is also such a strange contradiction– a place with so much new money, but at the same time there is quite a bit of poverty (if you think about the workers). I do feel bad for the workers– it is almost how ancient Athens grew to prominence with slave labor. But the place endlessly fascinates me– that is what keeps me going back (oh and yeah, I am invited back to GPP as well).

Surprisingly there is also a quite vibrant street photography community here in Dubai. My really good friend Imraan leads a lot of street photography workshops there, and there is a really strong Fujifilm base there (no not everyone in Dubai are such rich and tot around with Leica’s).

Damn, I really want to go now.

For my friends in Dubai reading this– see you guys soon, so excited to catch up, have good friend, good laughs, good coffee, and have that warm presence of being like family.

So friend, if you’re interested in genuinely furthering your learning in photography, networking and making new friends, GPP is going to be perfect for you. Really looking forward to seeing you.

Check out my series of workshops, and see all the keynote speakers and talks. Trust me, this is an event you won’t want to miss out on.

Learn More About Gulf Photo Plus 2016

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