The art of HIPA

S$400,000 of prizes to be snapped up at the 2015 Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award

Since it was established in March 2011 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has attracted photographers from across the globe. With a grand prize of US$120,000 (Dhs440,652) and an overall prize pool of US$400,000 (Dhs1.46m), the competition has drawn submissions from 173 countries over the past three years.

Drawing on the inspirations of its founder, the award set out to develop and hone skills and push ambitions. ‘This year’s theme, Life in Colour, is an open brief that allows the creative mind to explore an array of exciting avenues, such as where this journey will take you. Colour speaks of the people, places, animals, plants and consumables that play a starring role in our everyday lives. We encourage photographers to unleash their lenses, to express themselves freely and to let their imagination lead them to gain the recognition they deserve,’ says Ali Bin Thalith, secretary general of HIPA.

Submissions for the competition will be accepted until December 31 and winners will be announced at a public ceremony in March.

Within this season’s theme there are four categories in which entrants can showcase their eye for detail – Life in Colour, General, Faces (black and white only) and Night Photography.

‘Life in Colour was chosen as the theme to encourage photographers to submit images that tell a story or create inspiration through colour. The category itself is quite versatile. It’s open to all kinds of photography with no restrictions. Photographers should just be themselves and be natural in expressing this. There is no need to exaggerate. It should be simple and believable,’ says Bin Thalith.

The general category is completely open and embraces all subject matters, removing boundaries and offering participants the chance to choose work that reflects their style – as long as they adhere to the criteria and regulations of the award.

‘It’s a chance for all photographers from various backgrounds to shine on an international stage and be rewarded for their skills. We want to give photographers a platform to become a big name in the industry in the future,’ Bin Thalith says.

Entrants are encouraged to use black and white photography in the Faces category to maintain the authenticity of the beauty of life and portray the finer details that make people special and unique. The use of black and white demands accomplished compositions and expert use of light. Meanwhile, the Night Photography category gives entrants the chance to play with creativity. ‘Night time can bring still, starry calmness, the hustle and bustle of people leaving work and heading home or provide a blank canvas for celebratory fireworks, roaring campfires and the shining lights of traffic. It offers mysterious shadows to hide in,’ says Bin Thalith.

Two additional prizes will be awarded for the Photography Appreciation Award – a special category for a person or group demonstrating long-standing commitment to enhancing the art of photography. HIPA also aims to enhance the research field within photography through the Photographic Research/Report Award.

‘Winning images are usually included in our annual book, which is given to international photography associations and prominent members in the industry. We take all of the images and shortlisted photographers to our roadshow around the world, giving them international exposure. We also invite some of the biggest names in the business to share their expert knowledge with entrants through free workshops,’ Bin Thalith adds.

Entrants can also take part in Seize the Sky at the fifth Dubai International Parachuting Championships. The photography contest will take place at SkyDive Dubai and run from Wednesday November 26 until Saturday December 6. Five winners will be announced with the first place photographer winning US$7,000 (Dhs25,711), second place winning US$6,000 (Dhs22,038), third place receiving US$5,000 (Dhs18,365), fourth receiving US$4,000 (Dhs14,692) and finally fifth place winning US$3,000 (Dhs11,019).

Submissions for the Seize the Sky competition will be accepted through the official HIPA website.
Free entry. Life in Colour, HIPA. Until December 31. For details on how to enter see

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