The Hamdan International Photography Award was established by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. It seeks to provide an international platform which encourages and shares the art of photography. The Award brings together a global artistic community, whilst highlighting how Dubai is fast becoming one of the most artistically conscious cities in the world. The 2014-2015 competition theme was ‘Life in Colour’. It was the fourth series of the competition and received over 60,000 entries from all around the world. The winners were announced at a glittering ceremony earlier this month.
The primary category, Life in Colour, was based on the belief that colour brings beauty to the world. Colour can be dramatic, calming, change one’s mood and make one smile. This category asked photographers to represent what colour meant to them. The winner was Aruna Bhat, from India. Her photograph shows Ki Gompa, a monastery of Tibetan Buddhists in the Indian Himalayas. She captured the young monks during their daily time off to play. Their bright robes encapsulate their cheerfulness and optimism.
There was also a General category- the ‘Entrants’ choice’. This category is totally free from barriers, and asked photographers to choose just one piece of work which reflected their love of this art form. The winner was Harish Chavda, from the UK. His photo shows runner Dwain Chambers, a triumphant underdog at the UK Athletics Olympic trials.
The Faces (Black and White) category explores how cameras can capture peoples’ stories, attitudes and emotions. Winner Rudoi Danil, from the Russian Federation, took a portrait of Stella-Maria, a young girl with captivating innocence and intrigue. Third prize went to Chi Hung Cheun, from Hong Kong. He captured three old women laughing over hot tea during Chinese New Year.
The Night Photography category invited photographers to portray the many different faces of nightfall. Nightfall is a paradox- it can be mysterious and calm, or noisy and bustling. Peng Li, from China, captured an ancient Chinese ‘Diaojiaolou’ house in the town of Fenghuang. Countless red lanterns give a surreal view of both past and present within one photograph.
The 2015-2016 competition series has already been launched- its primary theme is ‘Happiness’, which the competition website describes as “the main pursuit of all humanity”. Other categories are ‘Wildlife’, ‘Father and Son’ and ‘General’. Entries will be accepted until December 31st 2015. For more information, head to: http://www.hipa.ae/en/ .