The eighth season of the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) concluded on March 12 with a prize-giving ceremony at Dubai Opera House at which the winners were announced. The theme of this year’s awards was ‘Hope,’ but, as always, photographers could also enter the ‘General’ category (for either black-and-white or color images). There were two further categories this year as well: Aerial Photography (video) and Portfolio. Here, we present a selection of highlights from the winning entries.
1. Grand Prize Winner
Edwin Ong Wee Kee — Malaysia
The overall winner of this year’s HIPA awards was Kee’s image of a Vietnamese mother of two carrying her two babies. The woman has a speech disorder, Kee explained in his artist’s statement, but “stays strong for the sake of her children.”
“Holding a one-month-old baby behind her and a two-year-old baby in her arms, life must go on. When life gets tough, the tough get going. That’s how this mother overcomes her daily hardships. However, her life is full of hope when she is looking down at her children.”
2. ‘Hope.’ 1st Winner
“A Stormy Day”
Fanny Octavianus — Indonesia
In Octavianus’s picture from 2010, a young boy plays in a flooded street after heavy rains hit the island city of Sabang in Central Jakarta.
3. ‘Hope.’ 3rd Winner
“Bathtub Amongst The Rubble”
Wissam Nassar — Palestine
Taken in June 2015, Nassar’s winning entry shows 30-year-old Salem Saoody bathing his daughter Layan (left) and his niece Shaymaa in “the last remaining piece of his damaged home — his bathtub.” The family now live in a caravan near their destroyed house, Nassar reported.
4. Aerial Photography. 2nd Winner
“The Great Return March”
Sulaiman Hejji — Palestine
On March 30, 2018, Hejji explained, the Palestinians began “a new form of peaceful popular struggle demanding their right to return to the territories from which they were expelled in 1948. These were the largest peaceful marches on the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel.”
5. General: Black-and-white. 1st Winner
“The Old Man And The Cat”
Aun Raza — France
Raza visited Tashkent in Uzbekistan to capture this image of an elderly resident outside of his Soviet-era apartment block. It was, Raza said, “A moment of solitude and mystery in what was once one of the mythical regions of the Silk route.”
6. General: Color. 3rd Winner
Abdullah Alshatti — Kuwait
Alshatti’s prize-winning image captures a group of flamingos searching for food in Kuwait’s coastal area of Alsulaibekhat, which is, he explained, “rich in crustraceans and shrimp.”
7. General: Color. 2nd Winner
“An Unlikely Encounter”
Karim Iliya — USA
Iliya’s picture shows an underwater meeting between a freedriver and a baby humpback whale off the coast of Tonga. Although the baby is less than two months old, it is already bigger than a car. “This playful giant swam around us while his mother rested below,” Iliya explained. The whales were gathering strength for their long swim back to Antarctica.
8. Portfolio. 5th Winner
“The Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia”
Sarah Wouters — Netherlands
Wouters’ collection of images told the story of a group of eagle hunters living in Mongolia, who “preserve an old tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation.” Before the fall of communism, these Kazakh families were nomadic, travelling between their homeland, Russia and Mongolia, until the borders were closed. Wouters’ images were taken at the annual Eagle Hunter Festival.