Highlights from UAE's Hamdan International Photography Awards 2022

Highlights from UAE's Hamdan International Photography Awards 2022
‘Gannet Storm,’ Henley Spiers. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 August 2022

Highlights from UAE's Hamdan International Photography Awards 2022

Highlights from UAE's Hamdan International Photography Awards 2022
  • Selected highlights from the 11th edition of the UAE-based photography prize

DUBAI: The winners of the 11th season of the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum International Photography Awards were announced earlier this month. The theme of this year’s awards was ‘Nature’ (intended to “draw the world’s attention to the seriousness of environmental issues and the need to unite efforts and enhance awareness of the importance of preserving our great home that we all share,” HIPA’s secretary general Ali bin Thalith said in a press release), but photographers could also enter the ‘General’ category (open to both black-and-white and color images), and the ‘Portfolio’ category, and the ‘Portrait’ category. Here, we present a selection of highlights from the winning entries. 

Grand Prize Winner

‘Gannet Storm’

Henley Spiers 

The British photographer picked up the $120,000 grand prize for this stunning underwater shot of a gannet in the waters off the Shetland Islands — “a cold, harsh and wild place of which I have grown extremely fond,” he tells Arab News. 

“Gannets are one of the most impressive animals I’ve ever come across, master of both air and sea. This photograph is captured underwater, surrounded by diving gannets, and I tried to display the controlled violence of the scene with a photograph which goes beyond what is seen by the naked eye. Dialing my shutter speed down, and moving my camera along with the movement of the seabirds, an artistic blurring occurred, eventually (after many attempts) leading to the frame we see here,” he continues.

Spiers’ photograph fits perfectly with the intentions of the prize, as stated by bin Thalith. Sadly, the gannets of the Shetlands are, Spiers explains, “in the midst of an avian flu pandemic which has ripped through their colonies. I recently returned from Shetland and bore witness to heart-wrenching scenes within the bird populations. One can only hope that nature will be sufficiently resilient to resist the damage caused by this disease.”

First Prize Winner, Nature

‘Jumeirah’

Ryo Minemizu

The Japanese photographer named his nighttime shot of Mollusca Gastropoda larvae “Jumeirah” because he felt it bore a resemblance to Dubai’s man-made island Palm Jumeirah. “It’s a cautious creature,” Minemizu said in his submission text. “If it feels the slightest splash of water, it will return to the oyster.” His shot was taken in the waters near Komi Island in Okinawa, Japan.

First Prize Winner, General (Color) 

‘Boats Matrix’

Cao Nguyen Vu 

This image was shot in the Quang Ngai province of Cao’s homeland, Vietnam — located on the coast of the South China Sea. The fishermen’s boats, Vu explained, were “neatly lined up when anchored to avoid Typhoon Molave (in 2020), the most-powerful typhoon to hit Quang Ngai in 30 years, completely destroying 325 homes and damaging more than 140,000.” Vu is not a professional photographer, but works in health care and volunteers for a local charity in Quang Ngai, his hometown.

First Prize Winner, Portrait

‘Relaxing in the rain’

Ali Saifaldeen 

The Qatari photographer’s captivating image of a mountain gorilla called Kibande was taken in Uganda. “In rainy weather, we encountered a family of 19 gorillas,” Saifaldeen explained in his submission. “Kibande was in an open area in the rain, and when she closed her eyes, (it was the perfect time to take) this photo of her relaxing in the rain.”

First Prize Winner, General – B&W

‘Flour War’

Muhammad Alamsyah Rauf

The Indonesian photographer describes his shot of a group of kids in Papua celebrating their graduation from school by throwing flour over each other as looking “like a funny war.” “Despite their poverty and the poor condition of their school, they create happy moments together,” he said in his submission text.

First Prize Winner, Portfolio

‘Cold Pursuit’

Paul Nicklen

Nicklen is a Canadian biologist “fascinated by changing seasons and their effect on the wildlife populations at our planet's extremes, where conditions can shift dramatically.” This shot was taken on the Fishing Branch River in Canada’s Yukon, where “dwindling resources force typically isolated, nomadic” animals such as this bear “into close proximity.” Nicklen said he hopes images like those in his portfolio “will help underscore the struggle of life in the wild and convince us to rethink actions that jeopardize the survival of our animal cousins. Our urgency in dealing with the existential threat of climate change will make all the difference for her future and those like her.”

Fourth Prize Winner, Nature

‘How Did You Get There?’

Thomas Vijayan

Vijayan took this bewildering picture of an orangutan up a huge tree in Borneo “after a grueling trip by boat and foot in shallow waters teeming with crocodiles.” Orangutans, he explained, only look up when they’re climbing, “so there’s only one way to get a picture … to stay on top of it.” The hardest part, he said, “was keeping quiet while he looked at me.”

Fourth Prize Winner, Portfolio 

‘Architectronic’

Shad Abdul Kader 

Kader’s portfolio focused on the architecture of Dubai. “Over the decades, Dubai has developed some of the most innovative modern architectural buildings across commercial, residential, and public sectors,” he wrote. “From the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, to the latest architectural brilliance at Expo 2020, the list is astounding. As an aspiring photographer, it is my vision to capture these iconic structures through my lens.” 


Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 
Updated 07 August 2022

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

DUBAI: From US Egyptian jewelry maker Jacquie Aiche to Lebanese eyewear maven Karen Wazen, celebrities from around the world are turning to Arab designers to accessorize their summer looks. 

US actress Vanessa Hudgens recently shared a picture of herself wearing a ring designed by  Aiche. The “High School Musical” star championed the brand’s double pyramid triangle ring in smoky topaz. 

Hudgens’ summery look featured a vintage Versace tie dye mini dress and a midsize Queen Nefertiti necklace in yellow gold designed by jewelry label FoundRae. 

Another one of Aiche’s loyal clients is Canadian supermodel and former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Winnie Harlow. 

The star was spotted flaunting one of the brand’s turquoise beaded necklaces. 

Earlier this week, Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio stepped out wearing Aiche’s pave diamond Small Mama necklace that retails at $5,750. 

On her Malibu stroll, the catwalk star wore a linen jumpsuit which she paired with a cotton bandeau top. Later that evening, she posed for pictures in an oversized suit by The Mannei, a brand founded by Polish-Jordanian stylist and model Sara Boruc Mannei. 

In a previous interview with Arab News, Aiche said that to her, jewelry is “everything” — it is much more than just adornment. “It speaks to the soul. It is a form of self-expression, a way of deep healing and a talisman of personal meaning,” she explained. 

Aiche, who launched her eponymous label from her garage in 2008, amassed an impressive celebrity client list that includes Hailey Bieber, Usher, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett Smith and Blake Lively. 

“I have such a strong, beautiful tribe, who have all sort of organically found and gravitated towards my designs. I love that about life, the unknown and the unexpected,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Lebanese eyewear designer Karen Wazen also had her moment in the spotlight this week with a number of international celebrities stepping out in her shades. 

Real estate broker and breakout star of Netflix’s popular “Selling Sunset” reality show Christine Quinn wore Wazen’s Pam reflective glasses in gold.

Meanwhile, US content creator Chriselle Lim, who has more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram, wore the Jen shades in brown. 


Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission
Updated 07 August 2022

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

LONDON: When details began to emerge of the daring rescue of a Thai football team from flooded caves in Tham Luang Nang Non, it seemed only a matter of time before Hollywood swooped in to buff the real-life drama with the polish of a big-budget movie adaptation. Happily, “Thirteen Lives” is more than a shameless cash in. Director Ron Howard treads carefully, telling the story of a truly monumental international rescue effort which eventually expanded to include more than 10,000 people. Rather than attempting to only superficially capture that sense of scale, however, Howard focuses in on a few crucial players — the British dive team who first located the boys, the small group who planned and orchestrated the rescue of the 12 young players and their coach, the local governor tasked with bringing everybody home, the Thai engineer working with locals to divert the floodwaters, and the Thai Navy SEALs who spearheaded the initial response.

 

 

For the most part, this focused approach works well. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell (questionable English accents aside) are excellent as divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, as are co-stars Joel Edgerton (as Australian Richard Harris) and Sahajak Boonthanakit as Governor Narongsak. Though the famous faces inevitably get the lion’s share of the screentime, Howard does his best to tell more than just the tale of the Western saviors – taking a few beats to flesh out characters such as the parents of the boys, local farmers and the frustrated SEALs. 

In order to do so, Howard also had to be a little ruthless with his 150 minutes — so there is no mention of Elon Musk’s contentious contributions to the rescue effort, and no time to find out much about any of the innumerous supporting volunteers. Instead, “Thirteen Lives” is a tense, taut drama, claustrophobically shot and scored. It’s perhaps impossible to accurately recreate the sheer terror that must have gripped the rescuers and rescued alike, but Howard goes some way towards acknowledging their magnificence.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 
Updated 07 August 2022

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

DUBAI: Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe this week presented a Yemeni play titled “Saber Came to Tea” to give visitors a taste of the Middle East. 

The short play, based on a true story, follows a young couple who stand against the constraining social norms of their families and risk their lives to be together. 

The play, which features musical and multimedia elements, is by award-winning Yemeni artist Shatha Altowai and her composer husband Saber Bamatraf. 

The couple worked with Palestinian poet Ghazi Hussein and writer and director Robert Rae on the narrative.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe kicked off on Aug. 5 and will run until Aug. 29. 

This year’s event returned in full capacity after it was canceled in 2020 and was reduced in size in 2021. 


Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity
Updated 06 August 2022

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity
  • The critically acclaimed “Super Hijabi,” which stars a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, will be screened in five British cities

LONDON: A film dubbed the “Muslim version of ‘Home Alone’” is set to appear in UK cinemas in aid of international charity Penny Appeal’s campaign on behalf of orphans.

The critically acclaimed “Super Hijabi,” which stars a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, will be screened in five British cities — London, Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow — from Aug. 19-29.

“Super Hijabi” is based around a 10-year-old girl tech genius whose parents who are on the brink of divorce. After thieves steal the family safe, she uses her skills to track down the bad guys and reclaim the family’s belongings before financial stress forces her parents to call it quits, Penny Appeal said in a statement.

The charity described the film as a “Muslim version of ‘Home Alone’,” and said the production “is revolutionary to the world of Muslim-inspired movies.”

Poet and performer Boonaa Mohammed and stand-up comedian and actor Omar Regan head the film’s cast.

Penny Appeal founder Adeem Younis said: “We are very proud to present a film made by Muslims and distributed by Muslims.”

Younis said that the screenings will raise money for the charity’s OrphanKind projects, which provide vulnerable orphans around the world with basic necessities, including school uniforms, clothing and books.


Dubai to host a new film festival in October

Dubai to host a new film festival in October
Updated 06 August 2022

Dubai to host a new film festival in October

Dubai to host a new film festival in October

DUBAI: The Dubai-based Great Minds Events Management company has announced the launch of Meta Film Festival, which will be held Oct. 27-29 at Vox Cinema in Dubai’s Nakheel Mall.

The festival is billed as the first private-sector- and industry-stakeholder-led film festival in the Middle East and Africa and promises red-carpet premieres and an awards ceremony. It comes five years after the last edition of the not-for-profit, state-run Dubai International Film Festival, which ran annually from 2004 to 2017.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @meta.filmfest

“Due to its location, the festival guarantees one of the most diversified audiences present at any festival, with the legendary glitz and glamour of Dubai to accompany,” the official website states.

The festival will conclude with an awards ceremony that will honor films across seven categories: Best Arabic Feature Film, Best International Feature Film, Best Animation Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Short Film, Best Student/Youth Film and the Film Development Fund award.

Meta Film Festival is accepting submissions on its website, with a selection committee that includes the managing director of Vox Cinemas and the head of OSN Studios deciding which titles make the final cut.