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FotoFest opening night party draws photo-loving crowd from around the world

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Moe Boughaba, from left, Adbel Elkhadiri, Rudeina Baasiri, Steven Evans and David Klonkowski at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Moe Boughaba, from left, Abdel Elkhadiri, Rudeina Baasiri, Steven Evans and David Klonkowski. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Mario Kazaz and Laura De Leon at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Mario Kazaz and Laura De Leon. Photo by Morris Malakoff
The venue at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
The venue at the FotoFest opening party. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Khaled Hafez, left, and Shady El Noshokaty at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Khaled Hafez, left, and Shady El Noshokaty. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Simone Anna Blumenthal and Steve Sabella at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Simone Anna Blumenthal and Steve Sabella. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Shadia Alem, from left, Barbara Davis and Raja Alem at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Shadia Alem, from left, Barbara Davis and Raja Alem. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Miguel Soler-Roig, from left, Christina Girard, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Hamza Serafi at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Miguel Soler-Roig, from left, Christina Girard, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Hamza Serafi. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Mark McCray, left, and Bill Arning at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Mark McCray, left, and Bill Arning. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Leen Baasiri, from left, Annick Dekiouk, Rudeina Baasiri, Veronique Prentia and Zoe Goldman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Leen Baasiri, from left, Annick Dekiouk, Rudeina Baasiri, Veronique Prentia and Zoe Goldman. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Huda Hutfi, from left, Nazar Yahya and Sadik Alfraji at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Huda Hutfi, from left, Nazar Yahya and Sadik Alfraji. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Hamza Serafi and Zoe Goldman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Hamza Serafi and Zoe Goldman. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Jonathon Gluss, from left, Victoria and Marshal Lightman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Jonathon Gluss, from left, with Victoria and Marshal Lightman. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Bill Joor and Kath Blanco at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Bill Joor and Kath Blanco. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Anya Tish, from left, Linarejos Morno and Ana Maria Tavares at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Anya Tish, from left, Linarejos Morno and Ana Maria Tavares. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Abdel A. Elkhadiri, from left, Dania Dandashli, Wadih El Hajj, Wafa Abdin at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Abdel Elkhadiri, from left, Dania Dandashli, Wadih El Hajj and Wafa Abdin. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Aaron Courtland, left, and Nicola Parente at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Aaron Courtland, left, and Nicola Parente. Photo by Morris Malakoff
044 Karin Adrian von Roques, from left, Hamza Serafi, Raja Alem and Shadia Alem at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Karin Adrian von Roques, from left, Hamza Serafi, Raja Alem and Shadia Alem. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Karen Neimeier, left, and Diane Barber at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Karen Neimeier, left, and Diane Barber. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Moe Boughaba, from left, Adbel Elkhadiri, Rudeina Baasiri, Steven Evans and David Klonkowski at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Mario Kazaz and Laura De Leon at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
The venue at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Khaled Hafez, left, and Shady El Noshokaty at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Simone Anna Blumenthal and Steve Sabella at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Shadia Alem, from left, Barbara Davis and Raja Alem at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Miguel Soler-Roig, from left, Christina Girard, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Hamza Serafi at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Mark McCray, left, and Bill Arning at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Leen Baasiri, from left, Annick Dekiouk, Rudeina Baasiri, Veronique Prentia and Zoe Goldman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Huda Hutfi, from left, Nazar Yahya and Sadik Alfraji at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Hamza Serafi and Zoe Goldman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Jonathon Gluss, from left, Victoria and Marshal Lightman at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Bill Joor and Kath Blanco at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Anya Tish, from left, Linarejos Morno and Ana Maria Tavares at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Abdel A. Elkhadiri, from left, Dania Dandashli, Wadih El Hajj, Wafa Abdin at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Aaron Courtland, left, and Nicola Parente at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
044 Karin Adrian von Roques, from left, Hamza Serafi, Raja Alem and Shadia Alem at the FotoFest opening party March 2014
Karen Neimeier, left, and Diane Barber at the FotoFest opening party March 2014

Blame it on the camera-equipped smartphone — everyone is a photographer nowadays. But only a select few have the eye to transform the fast growing populist genre into fine art that stops viewers dead in their tracks to ponder composition, content and affect.

There's no question that Houston's affinity for photography roused a large crowd to pour into Spring Street Studios for the opening bash of the FotoFest 2014 Biennial Saturday. The collection of images by notable international talent filled the walls of the warehouse, offering artsy consumers a first look at the organizer's 15th show, themed "View From Inside: Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art," which runs through April 27.

 Surely guest curator Karin Adrian von Roques and FotoFest founders Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss would love nothing more than to relive the moment.

Remarkable photographers such as Jerusalem-born Steve Sabella traveled from London and Khaled Hafez from Cairo to mingle with the who's who of the city's art cognoscenti, which included gallerists Anya Tish, Deborah Colton, Barbara Davis and Terry Hamman. Plus Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning and partner Mark McCray, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker, Houston Arts Alliance CEO Jonathon Glus and on and on.

Case in point: It was the trending affair of the weekend. Surely guest curator Karin Adrian von Roques and FotoFest founders Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss would love nothing more than to relive the moment.

Only major players — and there were many — enjoyed access to a party tent erected for the occasion. After noshing on a buffet catered by City Kitchen that dished up plates of chicken tagine, hummus and baba ganoush and the formalities of opening remarks, it was up to the exotic grooves of the Kinan Azmeh Quartet to liven up the ambiance.

Spotted in the crowd were Simone Anna Blumenthal, Moe Boughaba, Abdel Elkhadiri, Rudeina Baasiri, Steven Evans, David Klonkowski, Dania Dandashli, Wadih El Hajj, Wafa Abdin, Diane Barber and Karen Neimeier, Victoria and Marshal Lightman and Edge of Arabia artists Hamza Serafi and sisters Raja and Shadia Alem.

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