16 Feb, 2022

HIPA Concludes Judging for its Eleventh Season of Competition

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has concluded judging for its Eleventh Season of competition, ‘Nature’. The six judges presided over submissions in the competition’s four main categories; ‘Nature’, ‘General’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Portrait’.

The Secretary General of HIPA, Ali Bin Thalith said, “Our Board of Trustees work diligently each year to ensure the selection of the HIPA judging committee is perfectly aligned with the season categories and each judge has the expertise, experience and credibility needed to deliver the level of judging that has become synonymous with the Award. Our diverse team of judges each bring a unique perspective to the judging process and ensure we have a comprehensive and robust review of the submissions. Our judges are dedicated not only to the process but our photographers.”

John Stanmeyer from United States, said “The judging experience with HIPA gave me a unique perspective to understand more about the natural world in an area I know well but that is not completely visually covered for me! In all regions of the world there are amazing aesthetics in terms of diverse natural fauna, wildlife and landscapes. It was wonderful to see hope in so many images, the hope that a balance in understanding our role in the abuses we perpetrate and our ability to change our approach provides a fundamental opportunity for us to correct. The power of communication is what visual storytelling through photography does. It brings us back to our common denominators and reminds us of this fact, the earth does not need us, we need the earth.”


Jaime Culebras from Spain expressed, “Judging the ’Nature‘ category in a competition of this caliber and global spread, was a truly rich experience! I enjoyed evaluating the large number of photos shared, and it was a real challenge as there are so many new photos that are really superior. I have felt that the world of photography has reached such a huge development in this digital age. The natural world is becoming increasingly important due to the human impact on environmental problems, so I am pleased to see nature chosen as the theme for this year to highlight the natural beauty of our planet and the environmental toll we face.”

Sarah Marino from United States explained, “The judging experience with HIPA was enjoyable for several reasons, the most important of which was the opportunity to see picture-perfect pictures not from familiar landmarks or more famous international destinations, but from lesser known places but equally beautiful, mysterious and surreal. My experience of watching the entries in this competition is reinforced by the fact that attractive and inspiring photographs can be produced even in the smallest corner of nature! And that traveling to distant destinations is not necessary to produce a wonderful work in form and content.”


HIPA Eleventh Season Judges:

John Stanmeyer | United States

John Stanmeyer is an award-winning photographer, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and educator, dedicated to environmental, social, and humanitarian issues that define our times. For more than 15 years, John has worked nearly exclusively with National Geographic magazine, producing over 19 stories, resulting in more than 14 covers.  Between 1998 and 2008, John was a contract photographer for Time magazine. His years with Time resulted in 18 covers.

In 2001, John co-founded the prestigious VII Photo agency with six of the world’s leading photojournalists. Today VII represents more than 30 photographers from around the globe.

John is an Emeritus member of VII and is a member of Ripple Effects Images, a collective of artists and storytellers working on women, empowerment and equality. He is the recipient of numerous honours, including the prestigious Robert Capa Award, POYi Magazine Photographer of the Year, and the World Press Photo of the Year in 2014.

John lives with his dogs, Elfriede the Great Dane, and her sister, Eleanor, in the southern Berkshires of western Massachusetts.


Barbara Davidson | Canada

Barbara Davidson is a three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy award-winning photographer and filmmaker. In 2020, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

A staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times until 2017, Barbara spent much of the past decade photographing women and children trapped in a culture of poverty and guns.

Barbara was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for her 2011 project, ‘Caught in the Crossfire’. She also received the 2011 Emmy Award for the same project – an intimate story on innocent victims trapped in the crossfire of deadly gang violence in Los Angeles.  Her coverage of the San Bernardino mass shooting earned her a Staff Pulitzer Prize, in 2016, for Spot News.

While at the Dallas Morning News, her photographs were part of a team that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news photography, for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  She was twice named Newspaper Photographer of the Year by the Pictures of the Year International competition, first in 2006 and later in 2014.

Barbara's photography is a vehicle for relaying intimate stories of human suffering and resilience throughout the United States and internationally.  In Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel, Gaza, Kenya and Somalia her images capture the essence of humanitarian crisis in the wake of war, while her photographs from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Sichuan earthquake in China reveal the horrific aftermath of natural disasters.  Beyond war and natural disasters, she has travelled widely for news assignments in Yemen, Nigeria, Rwanda, Nepal and throughout the United States and Canada.

Since leaving the L.A. Times, Barbara has served as lead creative and director of Volvo’s SC60 Moments, an innovative campaign that used the car’s safety camera system to create a photo exhibition. Photographs from the shoot were curated in an exhibition which premiered in London. The accompanying ‘making of’ film has attracted more than 1.5 million views.

She was also the lead photographer and curator for the Global partnership to ‘End Violence Against Children’ where she documented the plight of children across three continents.  Currently, Barbara is working on her Guggenheim Fellowship travelling across the country making portraits, using an 8x10 film camera, of gunshot survivors.

In addition to her photographic work, Barbara curated a photography column ‘reFramed’ for the Los Angeles Times. She mentors emerging photographers around the world.

She was born to Irish immigrants in Montreal, Canada, and graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and film studies. She is a dual citizen of Ireland and Canada.

Marsel van Oosten | Netherlands

Marsel van Oosten is a professional nature photographer with a background in advertising and graphic design.

Marsel is a nature lover with a deep concern for the natural world. Successful conservation starts with awareness and he hopes that his images will make people aware that Mother Earth needs our protection and inspires them to take action.  In his work he tries to simplify, to get rid of the extraneous: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

His images have won many awards around the globe, and he is the world’s only nature photographer to have won the Grand Slam: the grand titles Wildlife Photographer of the Year, International Nature Photographer of the Year (2x), and Travel Photographer of the Year.  His images are featured in galleries and museums, are used worldwide in advertising and design, and he is a regular contributor to National Geographic. He is also a Nikon brand ambassador, a death metal connoisseur, and a recovering Nutella addict.

Marsel currently lives in South Africa with his wife Daniella Sibbing running specialized nature photography tours through their company, Squiver.

Sarah Marino | United States

Sarah Marino is a full-time nature photographer, photography educator, and writer who splits her time between a home base in rural southwestern Colorado in the United States and nomadic traveling throughout North America.

Sarah’s portfolio features a diverse range of subjects including grand landscapes, intimate landscapes, abstract renditions of nature, and creative portraits of plants.  Sarah’s teaching, through speaking and in-person workshops, ebooks, and video tutorials, focuses on personal expression, seeing opportunities in any landscape, photographing nature’s small scenes, and a slow style of photography focused on exploration and connecting with nature. 

Sarah seeks to promote the responsible stewardship of natural and wild places through her photography and teaching.

Jaime Culebras | Spain

Jaime Culebras is a biologist and professional photographer who dedicates his efforts to conservation and environmental education.  He holds a masters in Environmental Education and another one in Biodiversity and Conservation in Tropical Areas. 

He has been living in Ecuador for more than 10 years, where he works as a reptile and amphibian researcher and has co-authored several papers on biogeography and descriptions of new species.  His photography work has been published in prestigious journals including National Geographic. 

Jaime has received numerous photography and conservation awards including World Press Photo, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the Montphoto WWF Conservation Award in 2017 - promoting the conservation of reptiles and amphibians of Chocó in Ecuador, Colombia and Panama.  He was awarded the Conservation Photographer Award for the Spanish Association of Nature Photographers for his work in spreading Ecuador’s biodiversity and its threats.

Jaime is co-founder of Photo Wildlife Tours, an initiative that intends to arouse the wonder and amazement of those who accompany the tour to know nature; and support various research, education, conservation and sustainable tourism programs, and research associate of Andean Condor Foundation Ecuador.

His greatest interest is to spread the existence and importance of threatened species, promote love towards reptiles and amphibians, as well as the fight against illegal trafficking of species and the human-snake conflict.

Raed Ammari | United States

A Jordanian photographer based in the USA, Raed Ammari is a dentist by profession and a photographer at heart.  His love for photography was inspired by his father’s paintings, which he has been exposed to since childhood.

For Raed, photography is a way of expressing the artist inside. He has studied many styles and is partial to photography with a twist of fine art.  His main areas of expertise, and style he is most passionate about, are portraits and macrophotography. He loves to amaze people with something they have not seen before through macrophotography and to show the beauty of humans with various artistic touches through street portraits.

His work has been published in many international magazines and he has participated in several international exhibitions including in the USA, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Russia, China, England and Malaysia. During his photography journey, he has received multiple awards for portrait, travel, and macrophotography.

Raed’s publication, ‘The Homeless Project’, portrays the human side of the homelessness; and highlights the raw and spontaneous expression of the people involved, their struggle and the emotional distress they go through living on the streets.