The creation of this Festival is the result of three major observations. First observation: the place of pictures in the Arab world is an uneasy one, stemming from long-held religious beliefs. Second observation: the use of screens has become incredibly widespread in just the past few years (TVs, monitors, smart phones). The spread of media devices has occurred without there being sufficient time to develop any "culture of pictures" — with all its codes, keys for reading and interpretation. The result is that "news pictures" are everywhere — images from political crises, world events, disasters — but these pictures are associated only with facts. Last observation: in Jordan, authentic photographic talents are using the medium as a means for artistic expression. But given the audience's aforementioned lack of knowledge, there is a gap. This gap proves to be an obstacle to the circulation and appreciation of artist's works.
This Festival is an attempt to begin rectifying the situation.
—Charles-Henri Gros, director of the Institut Français in Jordan
Since 2011, the Institut Français in Jordan has been organizing the Image Festival Amman. This Festival is the single major event dedicated solely to photography in the entire Middle East. By gathering both local and international professionals in one place, the hope is to aid in the understanding and circulation of artistic photography in the region as well as to expand internationally, facilitating opportunities for cultural exchange.
Every year, the Festival selects 25 photographers from both the Middle East and from around the world to present their work. Since its founding, the Festival has grown, attracting a wider and more varied audience, ranging from local amateur photographers to important international figures. The theme for the 2014 edition is "Together".
Editor's Note: The Festival will run from March 1 to March 31 in Amman, Jordan.