His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was in attendance as the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) held its annual awards ceremony for its sixth season of competition ‘The Challenge’ on Wednesday evening. A total of 24 winners were presented with accolades at the ceremony, which was held at Dubai Opera and attended by various dignitaries and photography industry mainstays.
The ceremony began with a speech by the Secretary General of HIPA, His Excellency Ali bin Thalith who thanked His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Patron of HIPA for his continued support of HIPA and the arts. Bin Thalith also revealed that HIPA’s sixth season of competition saw the competition surpass a milestone of over a quarter of a million submissions since its inception and that the ‘Portfolio’ category for the sixth season saw over 33,950 submissions alone. Bin Thalith also announced that HIPA will be launching an initiative for the next season of competition that will be named ‘For You’, under the directions of the Patron of HIPA, which will also coincide with the ‘Year of Giving’ in the United Arab Emirates.
His Excellency Saeed Al Nabouda, the acting Director General of Dubai Culture and Vice Chairman of the HIPA Board of Trustees presented winners of the ‘General – Colour’ category with their accolades with Italian Giuseppe Bonali taking first place, Croat Petar Sabol winning second place and German Daniel Reiter rounding off winners with his third place win. The ‘General – Black and White’ category saw Indian photographer Apurba Mallick take first place with German Tobias Binder winning second place and Emirati photographer Khalil Al Mansoori taking home the third place prize.
His Excellency Abdulrahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Chairman of the HIPA Board of Trustees presented winners of the ‘Portfolio’ category with their accolades with Italian Giovanni Cedronella winning first place, Frenchman Gilles Nicolet taking second place, Polish photographer Rafal Makiela won third place, with Slovenian Matajz Krivic and Chinese photographer Qiu Yan taking the fourth and fifth place awards respectively.
The ‘Digital Manipulation’ category winners meanwhile were presented with their awards by His Excellency Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the Board of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Arabic Language Awards. First place in the category was awarded to Shahrzad Akrami from Iran, with the second place going to Russian Dmitrii Rogozhkin. Third place was presented to Yemeni photographer Saeed Ba Wazir, with fourth place going to Egyptian Lubna Abdulaziz and fifth place going to Turkish photographer Leyla Emektar.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ to the son of veteran photographer Elliott Erwitt, who received the award on behalf of his father. The elder Erwitt, who is a former 3 term president of Magnum is also an acclaimed television producer and is well known for his photographs of 20th century icons such as Marilyn Munroe, Che Guevara and John F. Kennedy. To go with his varied photography career, he authored over 30 books and to to date continues to actively work in various photography related projects and initiatives.
The ‘Photography Research/Report’ award was presented to the ‘Bait Al Zubair Foundation’ which started out as a private museum in Oman in 1998. The foundation was founded by His Excellency Mohammad Al Zubair, to enrich and encourage arts and photography amongst Oman’s society. One of Bait Al Zubair’s many great accomplishments is the diversity of the art and cultural publications it has published over the years. These include numerous stunning books dedicated to photography, which is at the heart of the foundation’s vision. Overall, the foundation has published over 10 photography books, many of which concentrate on Oman’s past whilst connecting it to the present day through stunning photography.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also presented the winners of the sixth season’s main theme ‘The Challenge’. First place in the category was presented to Italian Giulio Montini, with the second place prize going to Palestinian Adel El Masri. The third and fourth place prizes were both presented to Kuwaiti photographers Mohammad Khorshid and Mohammed Yousef respectively while the fifth place prize went to Russian Anton Unitsyn. The Grand Prize winner was American Arash Yaghmaeian with his ‘Landfill Cinderella’ taking home the top prize.