It’s not just the fascination of the city and the desert, though there is that. It’s just a remarkable gathering. When you put Dave Burnett, David Alan Harvey, Greg Heisler, David Hobby, David Nightingale, Bobbi Lane, and Zack Arias, all in one spot, teaching what they know, and sharing the secrets of a photographic life, Gulf Photo Plus becomes much more than a workshop, of which there are plenty. It becomes a destination and an intersection, a way station, after which one just might point camera, head and heart in an entirely different direction. Or simply, see differently.
Layer over this week the exoticism of Dubai, throw in a couple of dinners at Ravi’s, and, you know, it just simply works.
Mohamed Somji and Hala Salhi have worked unbelievably hard over the last few years to extend the richness and variety of courses being offered at GPP, and have succeeded in an amazing way. This year they have also invited new faces, as they do every year. The wonderfully talented Lindsay Adler, John Keatley Scott Hargis, Eduardo Angel and Peter Hurley are also headed for the gulf this year, making this group of instructors an extraordinary bunch, indeed. The big plus of teaching at GPP is crashing the courses of your fellow instructors and learning non-stop, all week.
There are studio courses, lighting classes, walkabouts, all coupled with the smells, sights and wonder of early morning Dubai down by the river. All acted out in the shadow of the massive Burj Khalifa, which when you look at it can utterly convince you that you are now part of some version of a modern day Lord of the Rings. First time I went to Dubai, I shot it from the air, and most of the city looked and felt like a massive construction site. Now, it’s done and it dominates the cityscape.
And then of course, there’s the Sky Bar. At the end of every workshop day, food, drink and shisha smoke all mix with photo chatter and tall tales, some of which are even true.
From the studio, Cali and Drew are going this year again, to once again teach about starting out in this business, and I will go as resident geezer and chaperone to the young lads. Lynn is happy to get us all out of the studio, as she might at that point actually get some work done.