Dubai photography competition shows off breathtaking snaps

A dark room used for developing photos. (Shutterstock/File)
Updated 13 March 2019

Dubai photography competition shows off breathtaking snaps

  • The award nurtures the art of photography by supporting international and national talents
  • HIPA awards photographers a total amount of $450,000 each year

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.


A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

“Between Two Brothers” screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival. (Supplied)
Updated 20 January 2020

A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

  • Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

CHENNAI: Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature, “Between Two Brothers” — which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival — is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

Khaldoun (Mohammad al-Ahmad) and A’rif (Lujain Ismaeel) see their relationship torn apart by the strife in Syria, leading to agonizing days for their childhood sweethearts, twins Nesmeh and Najmeh.

A’rif goes to war, aligning himself with anti-government forces, while Khaldoun, who had been spending time outside his country, returns to mayhem.

The characters see their world turn upside down when A’rif kidnaps several men and women from the village. Nesmeh and Najmeh are part of the hostages and what ensues is a dilemma that sees A’rif turn  violent and vindictive.

Each brother has his own opinion on what is right and what is wrong about the war and this leads to a chasm opening up between them.

The director, who has come under heavy fire in the past for his supposedly pro-government views, is controversial to say the least.

In 2017, Syrian director Samer Ajouri withdrew his entry “The Boy and the Sea”  from the Carthage Film Festival in protest at the selection of Said’s feature, “Rain Of Homs.” Later, in 2018, Egyptian director Kamla Abu-Zikry accused Said of helming films which represented the Assad government’s viewpoint.

Despite the director defending his films in a clutch of newspaper interviews, it should be noted that “Between Two Brothers” was produced by Syria’s National Film Organization.

Said makes a pitiful attempt to teach the audience that each side has its reasons. But it is not hard to see where the tilt lies — we do not see any state security forces and violence erupts solely from the rebels’ ranks. In a way, “Between Two Brothers” airbrushes the destructiveness of war, with blatant symbolism and a couple of comedy scenes further eroding a subject as grim as this.

Yes, there are some visually arresting shots of the countryside captured with articulation and imagination by cinematographer Oukba Ezzeddine and the actors who played both brothers did a fair turn in their roles, but all in all it was far too narrow a representation of war to be effective.