The Le Pont Organization was founded and is operated by self-taught photographer Issa Touma , who has been working with photography for the past 15 years..In 1992, Touma established the first photography gallery in the Middle East, Black and White Gallery. After its closure in 1996, he opened Le Pont Gallery, which continues to be the only gallery dedicated to photography in the region.In 1997, Le Pont hosted the first contemporary international photography events in the Middle East, the International Photography Festival in Aleppo. The event has grown from 600 visitors in its first year to more than 7,000 in 2004. Since 1999, the organization has also hosted the International Woman's Art Festival in Syria, an event that features a variety of art from music, dance, and theatre to sculpture, photography, performance, and video art. In addition, the New Line Art Organization was founded in association with Le Pont in 2009. With the goal of encouraging a broader knowledge, appreciation, and practice of all modern art forms in the Middle East, they will introduce the first annual New Line Art Festival in 2009.The activities of Touma and his group, the Le Pont Organization, which include the gallery, the Photography Festival and the Woman's Art Festival, annually draw in excess of 25,000 visitors, including international students, diplomats and the general public.