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Fadi Gwanny: Photography 101 and beyond

For Fadi Gwanny, founder of the Gwannnian School of Photography, photography is both a science and a passion.

Gwanny, renowned wedding photographer in his own right and himself newly-wed, celebrated last Saturday with his students the end of their introductory courses at the school. They commemorated the event at an atelier in Heliopolis, where work was exhibited by the students relecting their experiences over the last two months.

“I initially joined the school for fun, but ended up taking two courses and just registered for a third," says student Beco Georgy. “Fadi’s the best–he teaches every class like it’s his first time.”

In the preparatory course, students were introduced to important aspects of photography, including composition, landscape, portraiture and photojournalism.

“I had just given birth to my first baby and wanted to take nice pictures of him, so I bought an expensive camera but didn’t know how to use it,” says Inji Murad, another student. "I found Fadi’s photography 101 and 102 very interesting," she adds, pointing out that she, too, has already registered for photography 103.

Murad’s collage is delightful yet thought provoking: next to a picture of her young son are two pictures of a pair of old men smiling broadly, bringing two generations–oldest and youngest–together in a single photo exhibition.

Dina Assem, for her part, a young talent in her twenties, was so inspired by the courses that she is now thinking about photographing professionally. “It began as a fun experience, but now I’m now considering becoming a professional photographer,” she said.

Assem is currently registered in Fadi’s photography 103 and has a particular interest in wedding photography. “It’s hard for a woman to make it in the field of wedding photography, but who knows? I might give it a shot.”

The works on display are both colorful and creative. That the class made a field trip is obvious from the many photographs of the entrancing waterfall in Middle Egypt’s pastoral Fayoum province.

Most photographs portray Egyptian faces, such as young bread sellers and whirling dervishes. My personal favorite, though, is Murad’s touching photograph of her three-year-old son.

Gwanny opened the school last August "because there is talent out there that needs guidance and coaching," he says. Each course lasts for four and a half weeks.

The photography guru says he welcomes competition from other schools, because this will only "encourage me to improve and excel."

“Professional photography is now booming in Egypt," he says. "But it’s not even close to where it is should be.”

According to the photographer, talent needs its chance to bloom. There is a need for more schools to be established, and the image of the social photographer who simply works for "a good buck" should be replaced by that of the professional and talented artist who creates beauty while documenting moments in people’s lives.

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