Water Category



Essence of Life

"A mother humpback whale is seen resting with her newly born calf in the Kingdom of Tonga. The rain fell rhythmically in a soothing pitter-patter on the water’s surface, gently lulling them.

As we floated and watched them, the sound of the rhythm faded just a little and the ocean calmed just enough for the tranquil pair to rise up, meeting the light rays just starting to break through the surface."

The Downpour

This photo was taken in Iceland. The waterfall is called 'Dynjandifoss' and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland (also known as the Fjallfoss or mountain waterfall).

With this image, I wanted to capture the beauty of nature and portray how small and insignificant we are compared to this wild nature. By using a slower shutter speed (half a second), the water of the waterfall is shown as a beautiful bridal veil.

What a problem!

People climb onto buses and cars submerged in flood waters to save themselves during the monsoons in Mumbai, India. Water has always been known as the essence of life, however in the recent past, due to climate change, water or the lack of it has become a destructive force. Droughts, floods, tsunamis have become more common now than ever.

Octopus Hunter

A portrait of a child looking for an octopus around the coast of a fishing village in Ambon, the Maluku islands.

The lives of children here rely on the sea, where they are used to doing everything themselves from a very young age.

Save Me

At one point, a few children were playing and suddenly the sky collapsed and the rain came pouring down. There was no shelter in the area, until their father ran to save them from the rain.

Water - The Secret of Life

This picture was taken near Bayan Olghi in Northeast Mongolia where there is a lake. This lake is a source of life, bringing fresh water for the village people. This spontaneous image of a father and his son was taken when they were drinking water from the lake after a painstaking walk from their home.

Mobile Photography Category

A Journey Outside our World

In winter, when the flow of water is very low due to ‘Photochemical Reactions’, a moss like structure is formed and causes water pollution. It refers to the blend of such substances in water that invalidates it for use by humans, flora and fauna. Water pollution affects the whole world as water is the basis of life. A fisherman appears on his boat as if he belongs on the upper deck of the earth and is on a journey beyond our world.


A crimson sunbird is hovering and quenches its thirst from the flower. This picture was taken approximately 50cm from the bird using artificial light and a reflector.

Spirituality of Colors

The Day of Sacrifice, is the tenth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, during which pilgrims perform certain rituals, including the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, where with their movement a wonderful color palette is created.

Under the Rain

On a trip with my wife to the Sharjah Rain Room, I opted to avoid all professional photography gear and focus on enjoying our time together. But this moment had to be captured.

A reflection of the reality of my married life. Two loving partners relying on each other, as a basis for a happy family.

Sunset Tranparency

The golden aromas of sunset combines perfectly with the power of thought. It is a story that was captured on the balcony of a mosque while celebrating a local festival, when suddenly a gust of wind blew and the 'Dupatta', which is a traditional female dress, fluttered into view.

General - Colour Category

Snow Monalisa

An Arctic fox retrieves its food from an ice hole in Canada. In times of abundance, the fox stores food in separate pits 10cm underground and returns to it when needed to avoid losing its entire supply if another fox finds it.

The Portrait of Sapa

Sapa is a Vietnamese girl living in Nha Trang. She suffers from 'Heterochromia', a condition caused by the increase or decrease in melanin and may be hereditary or the result of a genetic defect. She has unique expressive eyes - one brown and one blue. She is a descendant of the Chams tribe.

One Soul Opposite Direction

In the Alaskan wilderness, two bear cubs scavenge for food on a beach. In the perfect moment, they were captured heading in opposite directions but in search of the same thing.

General - Black & White Category

King of the North

In the northern corner of the globe, on the Norwegian Svalbard Archipelago, a polar bear was walking on an iceberg with the early morning sunlight touching him from behind creating an extraordinary silhouette.

The Silent Witness

Over two-hundred-year-old trees in the center of Szczecin (Poland); silent witnesses of many human stories. An old man strolls through these old trees in the quiet of Autumn, like seasons reflecting a passage of time.

The Young Dreamers

Children are a symbol of unity and unity can make a positive change. Here the children in their playful mood are delivering this message to the world. They have the power to eradicate many of the curses of this world. The curses of poverty, illiteracy, hunger, pollution, diseases, etc.

They have the power to make a better world. Children don't want to protect the environment, they want to create a world where the environment doesn't need to be protected.

Portfolio Category

Kingdom of Beauty and Danger

The attraction to the sea makes this photographer a captive of what he can see under the waves. Wandering through the ocean and observing the beauty of the creatures in it, he is communicating with nature directly, always surprised by what he sees. Most people only see these creatures as a source of food but they have voices we can hear and rights we must preserve in the face of danger. Dangers of human destruction of this beautiful environment in several ways - overfishing, pollution, plastic, radiation, climate change and so on.

Rafting People on Yalu River

The Yalu River, now the border between China and North Korea, has had a history of transporting wooden rafts for thousands of years. Every year between Spring and Fall, North Korean loggers cut logs in the Changbai mountains and release them along the Yalu River. The raft travels down the river to Zhongjiangjun, North Korea. With the development of the modern transportation industry, this will gradually fade out of history and become a valuable part of the world's cultural heritage.

The Predator's Fins

Sharks are known to be a killing machine at the top of the marine food chain. But since the 1990s, the number of Black-Fin Sharks (Carcharhinus Melanopterus) has been declining. Based on research, millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins. The cost of shark fin soup ranges from US $ 70-150, which is rumored to be a cure for some illnesses even though it contains Methylmercury which is dangerous to our health. Efforts to regulate fishing in Indonesia are not yet effective enough. Lack of awareness of the role sharks play in the marine eco-system poses a major threat to marine life. Pictures from one of the fishing ports in Indonesia.

October Anger

Peaceful protests are considered human rights around the world and are included in the Iraqi constitution, but the Iraqi government has reacted severely with the Rafidain youth who demonstrated in Tahrir Square in Baghdad in October 2019 demanding their rights. But the Iraqi lens remain witness to these events.

Ethiopian Rituals

A representation of black Christianity in northern Ethiopia. This is an anthropological portfolio that wants to give back the country's identity that has been subjected to irreversible change caused by investments from both Europeans and Chinese. The daily lives of these believers are based on liturgical times. The rituality of religious festivities is melded into their everday activities. Young and old, men and women, all hold on to their beliefs and identity, by preserving their religion. They achieve this by resisting outside influence and not changing for any reason.


Photography Appreciation Award

Michael Yamashita | United States

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.

The Photography Content Creator Award

Xposure | United Arab Emirates

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 bring 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 we 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. Though visual storytelling, it has developed much of the exhibition content, talks and panel discussions, and go 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 combining it with a series of gatherings; including focus groups that allow attendees to get closer to better understand the mentor while getting to the know, what, when and how. In addition to the Portfolio Reviews by leading industry experts to take them to the next level of their work. Xposure believes in promoting talent from the 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 and 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’.

Emerging Person in Photography Award

Gulshan Khan | South Africa

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.


Water 2019-2020

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