DUBAI: The eighth Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) awarded Edwin Ong Wee Kee with the grand prize in a ceremony held at the Dubai Opera on Tuesday.
The annual competition celebrates the art of photography and aims to encourage international and national photographers to keep exploring the field by awarding a total of $450,000 to winners.
Every year, photographers are given a theme which they must interpret when shooting their submitted snaps. This year, the theme is hope, which was described by organizers as “an infinite fuel for life.” The winning image in this category will secure the photographer a prize of $25,000.
There are three other categories this year — portfolio or storytelling, the general submissions section and aerial photography. The general category is divided into two sub-categories; color and black and white.
Last year, HIPA introduced a set of awards to recognize the efforts of professionals whose work contributed to the field of photography; the photography appreciation award, the photography content creator award and the emerging person in photography award.
HIPA announced the winners via its Instagram page last week.
The panel awarded Tim Flach with the photography appreciation award. Flach is a London-based photographer, whose work focuses on the way humans affect animals.
“At this point in history, we are growing further away from the world of nature while we are increasingly in need of it, in terms of food, climate and other important issues. Many in our world still do not realize the gravity of the challenges that require us to protect nature more,” he said in response to winning the award, according to the HIPA website.
Meanwhile, Tom Ang received the content creator award. Ang was one of the founding members of an organization which grew into Photofusion, one of the largest independent photography resources in London.
HIPA awarded Emirati photographer Yousef Al-Habshi the emerging person in photography award for his work in the world of macro and micro photography, which has been featured in National Geographic magazine.