In recent years, more and more art galleries have displayed works of photojournalism, lending it more respect as an art form.
This is the case of Ayyam Gallery which is exhibiting a new series of works entitled “Follow the Leader” by Syrian born, Ammar Abd Rabbo, one of the world’s top photojournalists. A chronicler of life’s events, capturing nearly every moment from the poverty stricken on the streets to the world’s nobility and celebrated figures, Ammar Abd Rabbo focuses his lens in “Follow The Leader” on the spontaneous moments that portray the humanity of our world leaders. King Abdullah, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and the fallen leaders of Iraq and Libya among others are featured in this exhibition. Incidentally, the photograph of Queen Elizabeth was recently sold at The Young Collectors Auction in Dubai last May.
Born in Damascus in 1966, Rabbo has lived in Libya and Lebanon prior to ultimately residing in France in 1978. His photographs have been published in the world’s top magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and Asharq Al-Awsat, where he signed more than 60 magazine covers, and his virtual exhibition on the photo-sharing website Flickr (www.flickr.com/photos/byammar) has had more than two and a half million visitors. From a 20-year experience, his portfolio includes intimate portraits of heads of states, war coverage in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya, world-renowned celebrities like the late ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson, as well as high society events such as the Cannes Film Festival and Paris Fashion week.
Photojournalism which emerged in the late 1920s, is an area of photography dedicated to taking accurate shots of current events. A photojournalist’s basic mission is to take pictures to accompany a news story. A great photojournalism picture should tell the story before the text by visually communicating the pathos of the event.
These stunning portraits were taken while Abd Rabbo was on assignment. They were never staged nor digitally manipulated in any way. It is important to note that a key aspect of photojournalism is to present accurate pictures that do not compromise the integrity of the actual situation. Consequently, altering pictures with computer software is considered taboo by professional photojournalists and news organizations. This strict code of ethics is one of the core features of photojournalism that distinguishes it from other areas of photography.
According to Tom Hubbard, an emeritus professor of photojournalism, the art of photojournalism is where you find deep meaning in an instant. Rabbo’s photographs manage to incorporate surreptitiously what is outside the frame, before and after, in a way that helps people make sense of this world.
Email: [email protected]
Ammar Abd Rabbo: “Follow The Leader”
June 18 — July 12 at Ayyam Gallery, Dubai