Each year the Ottoman fortress of Ghar el Melh welcomes about 30 photographers to show their exhibitions. Professionals and amateurs, Tunisians and foreigners, from different photographic disciplines gather in this small fishing town in Northern Tunisia.
Starting in 2003 the first seven editions of the “International Gathering of Photography of Ghar el Melh (Tunisia)” took place annually until 2009, thanks to the efforts of many passionate and committed Tunisian photographers, supporters and volunteers. Unfortunately, the revolution led to an interruption for 4 years. In 2014 the event managed a come-back with an excellent 8th edition.
This year, the 9th International Gathering of Photography in Ghar el-Melh will take place from Sunday, June 7th to Saturday June 13th, 2015, with a rich and innovative exhibition and programme.
You can visit the previous edition here
Goals of the event
The International Gathering of Photography of Ghar el Melh (Tunisia) aims to promote photography as a major contemporary art form, acknowledging an increasing number of disciplines and specialties within photography. Its intention's to bring together Tunisian and international photographers and lovers of photograpy, to discover and promote talented young Tunisian photographers; and to help develop the historic and welcoming village of Ghar El Melh, one hour north-west of Tunis.
Special aspects and new features in 2015
Being the only major international event around photography in Tunisia the Ghar El Melh Photograpy Gathering tries to be representative of photography in general without disciplinary restrictions and imposing a theme.
The 2015 edition introduces several new features, such as a Master Class, a photo competition for young Tunisian talents, and an auction and sale of photos to help finance this and next year's gatherings.
The internationally renowned French-Swiss photographer Michaël Zumstein generously agreed to lead this year’s Master Class which will take place from June 8-10, 2015 at the Fort Lazaret.
Also, in addition to the main exposition a competition is organized to discover and promote young and talented Tunisian photographers. This contest was open to young Tunisians between 16 and 32 years. The winners will be presented during this year’s event.
Importance of the Ghar el Melh Photography Gathering
Over the years the Ghar El Melh International Photography Gatherings have become the largest and most regular photography event in Tunisia, despite many difficulties surrounding the organisation of such an event with very limited funding opportunities. The Gatherings have contributed significantly to increase the interest and enthusiasm for photograpy by the public, the media and professionals in Tunisia. The active participation of the local community of Ghar el Melh has always been seen as key to this event's success.
Internationally the Ghar el Melh Photography Gathering has turned into one of the core pillars for photography in Africa. Its regional orientation aims to further make it a not-to-miss event in the Mediterranean, in Africa and the Arab world. At the same time photographers from around the world are invited to contribute and participate. As part of the event a catalogue is produced each year to document the expositions and the diversity of its participants.
The spirit of the gathering
This event pays as much importance to getting together around photography, meeting new people and networking as it does to the quality of the expositions themselves. Welcoming both Tunisian and foreign photographers, the Gathering encourages debates and exchanges on photography around high-level, technical workshops and informal get togethers. In addition to its traditional programmes for children, round tables and technical discussions this year’s event will be showing several interesting films and organize two concerts, one for the opening and one for the closing event.
Enhancing the quality and appreciation of photography in Tunisia and offering a platform for exchange and debate around photography - these are the main goals of the Ghar el Melh Photography Gatherings. We hope that the 2015 edition will once again help photography to excite more and more people in Tunisia and beyond and to spread the image, natural beauty and cultural heritage of the small town of Ghar El Melh.
Since 2014 the Ghar el Melh Photography Gathering has been organised by a committee of Tunisian and international photographers in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation “ADERC”. The French acronym “ADERC” stands for “Association for Ecological Development and Cultural Exchange”. Founded in 2012 the association is based in Ghar el Melh. It is dedicated to sustainable, participative and innovative development as well as intercultural dialogue and cooperation.