Michael Yamashita and Xposure among HIPA’s Special Awards Recipients

Dated: 31 May 2020

 The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has announced the special award recipients for its ninth season of competition. This season again features three special awards including the ‘Photography Content Creator Award’, the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ and the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’. The special awards are presented by HIPA to photographers and institutions that have contributed positively to photography as an art-form and industry. 

The ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ was awarded to American photographer Michael Yamashita, for his distinguished works and photographic contributions in the fields of the historical documentation of Asia and his extensive studies throughout his career.
The ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ was awarded to the International Photography Festival ‘Xposure’ considered as a leading event amongst the international photography scene, attracting more than 15,000 participants from 31 countries.
The ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ was awarded to South African photographer Gulshan Khan, who was the first African woman to be hired by Agence France Presse (AFP) in 2017. She has published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Frame, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, The Financial Times, El Pais, The Wall Street Journal, among others.
In response to being awarded, American photographer Michael Yamashita said, “Thank you for honouring this award, which I consider to be a 40-year career, in which I have worked to highlight places, people and cultures that cannot be seen otherwise, and to share these images with audiences all over the world. As a teacher, my job was to motivate and inspire other photographers to tell their own stories with a unique vision and perspective. I am grateful for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award, not only for promoting the art for photography but also for their mission to encourage and support a diverse group of photographers, they have successfully embraced all talents and creative minds from all over the world”.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, stressed the importance of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award in supporting the global creative environment and consolidating the position of the United Arab Emirates as an incubator of culture and arts and creativity.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi expressed his gratitude to the patron and organisers of the Hamdan Bin Mohamed International Photography Award for choosing the International Photography Festival ‘Xposure’ as the recipient of the Photography Content Creator Award for the ninth season of the award, which inspires others in the industry to cultivate the photography sector.
The Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council also added that the International Photography Festival, which launched four seasons with the participation of famous photographers, creative photo makers, amateurs and talented people from different countries of the world, is supported by the media office of the Sharjah government that complements the cultural scene of the Emirate of Sharjah spreading awareness of the importance of the image and its role in the cultural movement. 
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi pointed out the importance of activities supporting the photography sector in exchanging experiences, encouraging creators, supporting amateurs, enhancing competition and developing photography skills, because the picture constitutes the visual memory of human societies and outperformed words in reporting events, showing facts, documenting and communicating messages.
The South African photographer Gulshan Khan, winner of the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ explained, “It was wonderfully serendipitous to receive this news. I have always found that awards which ask for entry fees, are exclusionary, and so, to me, are not a true reflection of talent and of valuable work. It is thus an honour to have my work recognised by HIPA whose patronage aims to eliminate these barriers to access. I resonate with its ethos of amplifying the medium of photography which, ’reaches out towards a wider horizon’ and ‘promotes the welfare and well-being of a nobler world, with its graceful value of the arts’. This award will assist me to continue my work and engagement, which in its essence is to bridge gaps. I am deeply grateful".
The Secretary General of HIPA, His Excellency Ali bin Thalith said, " We are delighted to announce our recipients of the special awards for this season, who have succeeded in making valuable and beneficial photographic contributions to all those who are thirsty to grow from the seas of this renewed art every day. By recognising these personalities and institutions, we seek to highlight role models that enrich the global imaging industry and support the community.
Bin Thalith added “Honoring the creators in the three categories is at the heart of the Award’s message, which is inspired by the thought of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the patron of the award, in supporting the arts and encouraging cultural and knowledge creativity, and advancing work, growth and achievement. We are delighted that there is a leading Emirati institution in educational awareness and visual education among the list of recipients. We are all proud of this photographic event that has had a significant impact on the photography community. With each of the ‘Xposure’ seasons, we discover more, and we see the dedication of the festival organisers in developing the event as a milestone on the map of the international imaging industry.”
Michael Yamashita 
With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Michael Yamashita is known as one of photography’s top influencers. He has shot for the National Geographic for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of travel and photography. An Asian Studies major at Wesleyan University and fluent in Japanese, Yamashita has followed his roots to become a Far East expert. In addition to his work throughout Asia, which has included intensive concentrations in China, Japan, Southeast Asia and India, his assignments have taken him to six continents.
Yamashita’s particular specialty has been in retracing the paths of famous travelers like Marco Polo and the Chinese explorer Admiral Zheng He, along their historic routes, and capturing the 21st century images that could easily have been seen in ancient times. His current focus has been documenting China’s new Silk Road initiative, One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which ranges across the countries along the original Silk Road of Marco Polo’s day.
Known for sharing his expertise and adventures as a teacher and lecturer, Yamashita has appeared as a TedX Speaker and is a sought-after lecturer and instructor at photography workshops, conferences and universities across the globe.
He has won a host of industry awards, including those from the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition, Photo District News, the New York Art Directors Club, and the Asian American Journalists Association. His most recent exhibits include installations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo, as well as in Pisa, Italy, Frankfurt, Germany, The Carter Center in Atlanta, Los Angeles County Museum and the National Gallery in Washington DC.
Along with two documentary feature films, both inspired by his extensive coverage of Marco Polo and Zheng He, Yamashita has produced 16 books, on topics as diverse as Japanese gardens, the Mekong River, the Great Wall and Tibet.
When not traveling, he can be found with his family at his home and studio in rural New Jersey, where he is an active volunteer fireman.
Xposure, International Photography Festival
Xposure is a platform of art, the art of photography, and the art of observation; where the image represents a reality we may sometimes overlook. It is an open invitation for us to take a moment and rethink the life we are living and the way we are living it. It takes cases from around the globe and brings it to us in a form of a visual narrative.
The concept of Xposure was established in 2015, and the first international festival took place in October 2016. The multi-module festival concept was developed to provide a visual learning platform for all age groups, incorporating multiple genres and disciplines of the art-form.
Presenting projects from not only the world’s leading photographers but also emerging talents and individuals, Xposure delivers powerful content to bring awareness of worldwide issues. Photojournalism, environmental issues, humanitarian and wildlife conservation are key subjects that Xposure highlight. The festival is organised by Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB).
Integrated Platform
Xposure is an official imagery and educational platform that combines a range of photography events. Since 2016, Xposure has been developing and combining arts, culture and education. Through visual storytelling, it has developed much of the exhibition content, talks and panel discussions, and goes beyond the images, listening to the story behind them.
The education programme relies heavily on the theoretical and practical aspects of learning and provides workshops for all levels of expertise and combines it with a series of gatherings; including focus groups that allow attendees to get closer to better understand the mentor while getting to know, the what, when and how. In addition, Portfolio Reviews by leading industry experts take them to the next level of their work.
Xposure believes in promoting talent from around the world. In 2019, the annual Internarial Photography and Short Film competition gained around 15,000 participants from 31 countries. Not forgetting the technical aspects, it also hosted a dedicated photographic and video production trade show that provides the latest products in the field.
Pictures and International Cases
The curation at Xposure is not done based on the best picture, rather based on compelling stories, achievements and tales about cultures and life.
During the past four years, Xposure has presented storytelling from the four corners of the globe. From Greenland to Chile, America to Russia. The exhibitions you find on display at Xposure are not just pretty pictures. Sometimes they are a reality and other times a harsh wake-up call to bring awareness to a wider audience. In photojournalism, Xposure has covered topics such as the Vietnam War by Sir Don McCullin, the atrocious activities of ISIS by Afshin Ismaeli, the Iranian Revolution (44 days) by David Burnett, and the Immigration crisis in the US (Undocumented) by John Moore.
Environmental issues such as deforestation and forestation, ‘Art & Propaganda’ by J Henry fair highlights how major companies are producing readily available products that poison the earth as well as the human race. ‘Save the Salt’ highlighted the legislation that was past allowing industry to remove salt from the Bonneville Salt Flats in order to extract Potash and Potassium Hydroxide.
Xposure will continue to expose emerging talents and educate through imagery by bringing projects of conservation, environmental and humanitarian issues of public interest to the exhibition walls and the stage during the annual festival, ‘EDUCATION THROUGH IMAGERY’.
Gulshan Khan 
Gulshan Khan is an independent South African photographer based in Johannesburg.
Her work is focused on stories related to social justice, identity, human rights, transition and belonging and the dignity of people; the multi-layered effects of everything from
access to water and sanitation, safe housing, equal education and healthcare, gender based violence to plastic pollution, climate change and migration. These are themes which continue to direct her visual reflections of the human condition and the world around her.
A stringer for Agence France Presse (AFP), she was the first African woman to be hired by the agency in 2017. She has published in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Frame, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, The Financial Times, El Pais, The Wall Street Journal, among others. Gulshan has worked with various NGO’s including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the African Women's Development Fund.
In 2018, she was one of six photographers selected for the World Press Photo 6x6 Talent Program, Africa Edition, and was a 2019 Joop Swart Nominee. In 2016, Gulshan completed the Market Photo Workshop Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a member of the World Press Photo's African Photojournalism Database (APJD), Native and Women Photograph and is an Everyday Africa contributor.
Gulshan’s work has been exhibited around the world and she has had the honour of speaking at a host of institutions and events including the World Press Photo Festival 2019 and the National Geographic Storytellers Summit 2020. She sometimes teaches at her alumnus, the Market Photo Workshop.
While working on multiple projects, Gulshan has slowly been developing a long term project about her community of contemporary Muslims in South Africa. This personal documentation aims to engage with the theme of how faith is something that we carry with us even when we cannot carry anything else. It speaks to ideas of re-establishment of communities around acts and spaces of worship and prayer, and the transformations of physical and social landscapes through faith, with a special interest in the perspective of women. The project also aims at remedying the historical lack of visual representation that such communities suffered, due to the dislocation and erasure cause by colonisation and apartheid in Africa and aims to be something that generations to come can look upon as a source of history and memory.
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