DUBAI, 14th February, 2022 (WAM) — The World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) in collaboration with the UAE Government Media Office, today announced the winners.
The announcement coincided with the conclusion of the World’s Coolest Winter campaign, the largest of its kind highlighting the UAE’s entertainment, culture and natural landmarks, and raise awareness about the variety of its tourism activities during the nation’s winter season.
The competition, which ran from December 20, 2021, to January 20, 2022, featured two main categories – One Photo, which is open to the public, and Portfolio, which was exclusive to professional photographers. Within the span of just one month, the competition registered more than 2,800 submissions by 2,176 participants from 89 countries.
The winners in the One Photo category, where each of its five subcategories was awarded AED7,000, were Maurizio Casula from Italy in the Desert subcategory, Jason Balaba from Philippines in the Sea subcategory, Abdalla Mohamed Alraeesi from UAE in the Mountains subcategory, Khaled Alkindi from UAE in the Valleys subcategory, and Ajay Ghosh Ramachandran from India in the Emirates from Above subcategory.
The winners in the Portfolio category, where the award for each of its four subcategories amounted to AED50,000, were Omar Almarzouqi from UAE in UAE in Your Eyes, Rahul Bansal from India in UAE Wildlife, TITTU THOMAS from India in Faces from UAE, and Crisencio Bernabe from Philippines in UAE Street Life.
Panoramic Photos for UAE’s Landmarks in the Winter Alia Al Hammadi, Deputy Chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office, said, “The UAE’s nature, landscapes, society, and culture are a model for beautifully synchronised diversity. Its landmarks across the nation attract visitors and tourists from within and outside the UAE, and its scenery is a focal point for artists and creative geniuses.”
She highlighted that the World’s Coolest Winter campaign, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for a second consecutive year, shed light on the UAE’s unique touristic, leisure, natural and cultural offerings. The World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition, in collaboration with HIPA, sparked creative local and international engagement with the campaign and captures the beauty across places and events in the UAE.
Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith, Secretary General of HIPA, said, “The creative submissions received for the World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition presented together a comprehensive panoramic image of the UAE’s most beautiful landmarks. They reflected the nation’s true uniqueness, its nature and society, through the eyes and lenses of its residents and international tourists. The photos captured the essence of the UAE’s winter and the key tourist destinations across the various parts of the nation. We congratulate all the winners and encourage all our participants to continue to develop their skills and talent as photographers”.
Broad Participation and Inspiring Categories Majority participants were from the UAE with 428 people submitting photos to the competition, followed by 424 from India, 118 from Iran, 112 from Philippines, 74 from Russia, and 71 from Egypt.
Under the Portfolio category, the UAE in Your Eyes subcategory received the highest number of submissions at 679 photos, followed by UAE Street Life at 476 photos, and UAE Wildlife at 434 photos.
Under the One Photo category, Mountains received the highest number of submissions at 266 photos, followed by Desert at 265 photos, and Sea at 262 photos.
Expert Judging Panel Photo submissions were evaluated by a panel of expert judges with international awards for creative photography and photojournalism, including John Stanmeyer, whose photos were featured on more than 14 covers of National Geographic magazine and 18 covers of TIME magazine, cofounder of VII Photo Agency, and recipient of numerous accolades, including the prestigious Robert Capa award and POYi Magazine Photographer of the Year; Canadian Photographer Barbara Davidson, three-time Pulitzer and Emmy Award winning photographer and a Guggenheim Fellow recipient; and Shadi Nasri, a photographer specialising in night photography, natural landscapes, and fine art landscape photograph, as well as a renowned trainer in space photography with several tutorial videos online.