Announcing the 2018 Arab Documentary Photography Program grantees!

Heba Khamis

Heba Khamis

Alongside The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Prince Claus Fund (PCF), we are pleased to announce the 2018 Arab Documentary Photography Program grantees, nine emerging and early career photographers from across the Arab region. The Arab Documentary Photography Program offers production support for long-term creative projects within a six-month individual mentorship program with Randa Shaath, Eric Gottesman, Tanya Habjouqua, and Peter van Agtmael. Over the course of the program, the grantees come together for two intensive workshops in Beirut to aid in the development of their projects. This year’s grantees are:

  • Ebrahim Elmoly, Egypt
  • Nadine Al Koudsi, Syria
  • Heba Khamis, Egypt
  • M'hammed Kilito, Morocco
  • Roger Mokbel, Lebanon
  • Ravy Shaker, Egypt
  • Abdo Shanan, Algeria
  • Elwely Vall, Mauritania
  • Shaima Al-Tamimi, Yemen

This year’s grantees were selected from 79 applicants from 15 countries, by a three-member jury in Beirut on July 2, 2017. The jurors were Kristen Lubben, Executive Director of the Magnum Foundation; Rana El Nemr, visual artist and co-founder of Cairo Image Collective; and Mohamed Somji, photographer and co-director of Gulf Photo Plus. They issued the following statement:

We were honored to jury the fifth class of the Arab Documentary Photography Program, an initiative that has been transformative in the lives of its participants. It has also been crucial for expanding visual storytelling about the region from within, rather than as told by outsiders. Unlike a simple grant program, this mentored program allows photographers to develop their unique voice and participate in each other’s growth.

Our jury reviewed the submitted proposals and selected nine finalists and three backups. We were impressed by the range and diversity of the approaches and topics we saw in the applications. We were especially drawn to projects that relied upon a deep and thoughtful knowledge of a particular subject, and a considered approach to translating that subject photographically.

In future years, we would strongly encourage more women to apply to the program; only 39% of the applicants were women, a number that has been fairly stable over the years. There has also been a dearth of candidates from Palestine, the Gulf region, and Iraq, and we hope to see more in future years.

This year’s selection of projects covers a wide range of topics spread across different geographies and disciplines. The dominant themes are shifting away from more traditional subjects of documentary photography, and are instead turning inward, into personal questions. Selected projects are grappling with identity and belonging; change and the price to be paid for it; and the complexities of building and sustaining relationships with one’s environment.

The program was created to support and amplify creative approaches to visual storytelling that challenge conventional narratives about the region. You can see past completed projects at

Simone Salvo