Beauty of Light


Beauty of Light

Light was adopted as a key element in this year’s award because of its importance in the art of photography. Light can be the difference between a good picture and a wonderful image.

Our understanding of light and our ability to capture it through a camera lens would not have been possible had it not been for the efforts of the scholar Al Hassan Ibn Al Haytham.

His findings and principles in the field of optics, a century ago, helped lay the foundations for modern day photography.

To commemorate the anniversary of his contributions, the grand prize in this year’s Hamdan International Photography Award will be dedicated to the beauty of light in photography, which was greatly influenced by the findings of Ibn Al Haytham.

There shall be no restrictions on what photographers may choose to submit for this category, so long as the influence of light is clearly demonstrated. The winner of the award will be the photographer who successfully illustrates effective use of light in their submission.

Black & White

Black and white photography creates an image of nostalgia that is sometimes unmatched by coloured photographs.

A simple artistic expression in black and white format can set a tone, date and place in history with minimal effort.

A photographer’s ability to deliver a strong and lasting message in black and white is a true testament to the expressive skills they possess.


Rich with culture and history, the United Arab Emirates is home to some of the world’s most amazing and unique landmarks.

In recent years, photographers from all around the world have come to explore the visual riches the Emirates have on offer.

This category was specifically designed for photographers to test their appreciation of the United Arab Emirates and its many icons through photography.

From its unique desert dunes to the sky high towers of the sprawling business districts, photographers are challenged to capture the many wonders found in the United Arab Emirates.

The challenge is also set for photographers to unearth previously undiscovered or unheard of locations and to tell the story of the UAE through the lenses of their cameras.


The general category of the competition was left open for competitors to show off their overall photography skills without any boundaries or restrictions.

Our hope is to generate interest and awareness by making it accessible to all, including the world’s very best photographers.

Competitors are open to submit any photograph they’ve captured which may not be eligible for any of the three other categories.

This category is designed to test the individual creativity of competitors and aims to encourage photographers to express themselves freely.

Prize Money

"Beauty of Light" Category

1st $20,000 $20,000
2nd $16,000 $16,000
3rd $12,000 $12,000

"General" Category

1st $14,000 $14,000
2nd $10,000 $10,000
3rd $6,000 $6,000

"Black and White" Category

1st $16,000
2nd $10,000
3rd $8,000

"Emirates" Category

1st $16,000
2nd $10,000
3rd $8,000

"Special Awards"

Photography apperciation award (Personal, Group or Team Award) $20,000
Photographic Research/Report Award $25,000
Grand Total $389,000


Barrie Wilkins

BARRIE WILKINS Hon MPSSA, FPSSA(Dux), Hon FRPS, Hon PSA, FPSA, ESFIAP, EFIAP has been honoured internationally for his photographic expertise as well as service to photography. Barrie is a Past President of the Photographic Society of South Africa and is Chairman of the Honours & Awards Committee of (PSSA) and PSSA overseas representative for the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain as well as the Photographic Society of America.

He is a multiple award winner in many prestigious National and International Photographic Competitions including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition in the UK, the Windland Smith Rice International Awards in the USA, and the AGFA Awards in South Africa.

Barrie is a sought after lecturer and presenter both at home and abroad – some of the highlights include lecturing at the Natural History Museum in London, UK; the 1st International Wildlife Convention in the Kruger National Park, South Africa; the 75th Anniversary Convention of the Photographic Society of America in West Yellowstone, USA.

As Chairman of the Honours and Awards Division Barrie co-ordinates and judges the bi-annual Honours adjudication for PSSA as well as National and International event adjudication including the prestigious AGFA and FUJI Awards.

Barrie’s work is published and exhibited widely and he is a partner in the successful photographic business J&B Photographers and together with Jill Sneesby has published the wildlife photographic book “Kalahari Safari”. As J&B Photographers Barrie & Jill work together to promote an understanding of the natural world through the art of photography.

Caroline Metcalfe

Caroline Metcalfe has worked at Conde Nast Traveller magazine since its launch in 1997. She had previously worked on newspaper magazines, The Observer, the Independent and the Financial Times. In the 15 years since Traveller launched, the magazine has won huge acclaim and countless awards for its distinctive photography, covering lifestyle, food and drink, portraiture, interiors and stunning locations and landscapes. Caroline has worked on numerous advertising campaigns for Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and JWT and on special projects for design groups Pentagram and Vince Frost Design. She is a member of the World Press Photo Masterclass and the Young Photographers Alliance committees assessing the work of young photographers and recommending individuals for participation in the mentoring programmes.

Caroline has worked with some of the most distinguished photographers in the world and has also spent much of her professional career encouraging new talent.

‘I was hugely impressed by the mission statement for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award

and I look forward to playing my part in developing one of the most highly regarded global photographic competitions. I shall be on the lookout for new talent as well as judging the work of established professionals. Great photography, one of the most challenging creative disciplines in my view, is the art of exploring and revealing the world through fresh eyes while avoiding deadly photographic clichés. I am hoping to be stimulated and encouraged by the wealth of creativity that I know is out there just waiting to be discovered.’

Jill Sneesby

JILL SNEESBY B.A., Hon MPSSA, MPSSA, FPSSA(Dux), ESFIAP, EFIAP is partner in the successful J&B Photographers, based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which is acknowledged internationally for passion and skill in the world of nature and photography.

Jill is currently 1st Vice President of the Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA) having previously served as President, the first female to hold this position. She is a member of the Honours and Awards Committee and is PSSA Overseas representative for the CPA and is the FIAP Liaison Officer.

She is much sought after as adjudicator and educator. During her term as President Jill adjudicated in Austria (Al Thani Award for Photography 2010), China (6th China International Press Photo Contest & China 13th International Photographic Art Exhibition) and India (FIAP 15th Nature Biennial). She has lectured at the Natural History Museum in London, UK, the 1st International Wildlife Convention in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, the 75th Anniversary Convention of the Photographic Society of America in West Yellowstone, USA, the 15th FIAP Nature Biennial in Bangalore and the China 13th International Photographic Art Exhibition in Lishui.

Jill has won numerous awards for her work. She is a multiple award winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition in the UK, the Windland Smith Rice International Awards in the USA, the AGFA Award and the Fuji Getaway Awards in South Africa as well as the inaugural winner of a Toyota Landcruiser in the Africa Photographic Awards.

Riccardo Busi

Born in 1958 in Florence (Italy), Doctor in Political Sciences, master in Diplomatic Career and in International Organizations.

He is General Secretary of The International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) since 2002.

Travel and Nature photographer, he is presently coordinator and trainer of photography courses and workshops and collaborator of “Panda Photo” Photographic Agency – Rome.

He has actively participated in shows and competitions realizing from 1980 to today more than 330 personal and collective exhibitions and projections. He has gathered more than 1000 admissions in international competitions and over 200 awards. Five times FIAP World Champion in Nature: Finland 1999 (CLP), South Africa 2001 (CLP), Australia 2003 (CLP), Croatia 2006 (CLP and PI). Once FIAP World Champion in Projected Images (Belgium 2011) and three times FIAP Gold Medal in Projected Images World Cups (Finland 1999, Belgium 2002 and Indonesia 2009). In 2007 he won the Second FIAP World Cup for Clubs, and in 2011 the 60th Anniversary FIAP Cup “Children of the World” in Singapore.

Judge in more than 200 national and international competitions since 1982, he has taken part to international juries in 22 different countries.

Thanks to the results obtained he received many distinctions and Titles: Master FIAP (MFIAP); Guest Professor of Shandong University of Art and Design – Jinan, China; Senior adviser of Art of Lishui Phot. Association – China; Hon. Fellowship of Saudi Photographers’ House; Hon. Fellowship of Bangladesh Phot. Society and many others.

Romain Nero

Born in the South of Luxembourg, on August 13th 1967, Romain Nero joined the Ministry of Finance after High School graduation and went on to a four-year term in the State accounting school. With the earned degree he accepted his first position of head of the accounting services of the National Water Supply Company SES. During three years he gained extensive public accounting experience and earned promotions to CEO of the Administration and Treasure Department.

Romain Nero took up photography in the early nineties. His first reportage collections originate from journeys to various continents. The joining of a local photo association in 1998 made him extend his photographic know-how on studio shootings and opened the way to the successful participation on international salons. Followed personal and group exhibitions in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and, annually, in Luxembourg. Ten of his photos are part of the “Collection Nationale of Luxembourg” a series of 69 pictures of Luxembourg, exhibited from 2007 on, throughout the world.

In 2003 he joined the National Federation of Photography where he was elected General Secretary; in 2007 the functions of FIAP Liaison Officer were added.

Romain Nero is a qualified member of the National and International Pool of Salon Judges in Luxembourg.

In 2010 he was offered the ESFIAP award for international merits from the direction board of FIAP; in 2011 he gained the EFIAP bronze distinction.

Besides many awards he gained in numerous national and international salons, Romain Nero is the winner of the National Championship in Luxembourg for 2010 and 2011.

Tom Ang

Tom is a leading authority on digital photography, a photographer, author, educator, TV broadcaster, and traveller. He won the Thomas Cook award for Best Illustrated Travel Book for his photography of the Marco Polo Expedition which pioneered the modern Silk Road crossing from Europe to China. He specialised in Central Asia (Former Soviet Union) for 10 years, leading academic projects and photographing extensively. 

He has worked widely in the photographic industry: as a magazine editor, picture editor, technical journalist, consultant and has juried leading international photo competitions. He was a founding member of the World Photography Academy and created the Student Focus component of the Sony World Photography Awards. He was senior lecturer and course leader in photography and journalism for Masters courses at the University of Westminster for over twelve years. Amongst his 23 books on photography is the best-selling ‘Digital Photographer’s Handbook’ which has sold over half a million copies and has been translated into twenty languages and the award-winning ‘Digital Photography Masterclass’. 

He was presenter for two 6-part BBC series on digital photography and for an award-winning 8-part photography series for Channel News Asia, Singapore.


Willy Borgfeldt

He is currently president of the Deutschen Verbandes für Fotografie e.V. DVF, The Deutschen Verbandes für Fotografie is the umbrella organization with 5500 members of the German photo clubs, it offers itself as a forum for national and international photographic exhibitions, photo seminars, photography clubs, photography and amateur photography contest. He is synonymous with the German amateur photography and with its international activities also ambassador of Germany in the FIAP. The FIAP (Federation Internationale de l `Photographic Art) is the international umbrella organization of national associations within the artistic photo and the global competition and exhibition photography. He is 5 years at the head of the association.

Willy Borgfeldt is the chairman of the Association for the Vereins zur Förderung künstlerischer Bildmedien Bayer e.V. Leverkusen. A project-oriented, non-profit organization, formerly known as 'Foto-Film-Club Bayer e.V. Leverkusen', in which the members every step of the visual arts - demanding of the outdoor or studio recording, the digital or analog recording and photo editing, to creating a print file - learn and practice together with club members in different groups and discuss.

Especially people and travel photography are the themes of his work, USA, Africa and Venice for years in its focus.

He has made many of their own shows and the Grand Prix - Artist price 'discover artists Europe in Leverkusen' 2007 won.


Joe P. Smith

Artistic Management (University of Perugia)

Joe comes for a fine art background and has been in photography since 1979. He is a member of the Malta Photographic Society of which he won the coveted Photographer of the Year Award in 1995, and also a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Professional Photographers, a Fellow of various UK organisations and a Master Photographer of The Societies (SWPP).

His preference is for monochrome photography especially that depicting the performing arts and his name has become synonymous with pictures of Jazz musicians who performed in the Malta Jazz Festival of which he has been the official photographer since the first edition in 1991. Many of his Jazz pictures can be found on the websites of renowned musicians who played in the Festival. Environmental portraiture and social documentary are also two fields that Joe specialises in.

In 2008 made headlines when he was awarded the overall prize in a EU-wide photo contest with the theme of Cultures on my Street to commemorate the Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

In 2009 Joe published his first book entitled “Survivors” which is a social documentary work on the ageing population of a medieval town in Malta.

Joe has exhibited and judged extensively locally as well as overseas and has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards. For the last 5 years, he has also delivered masterclasses for SWPP during the annual Convention and also in Dublin.

Martin Charles

Martin has been in the industry for over 32 years covering many aspects of Professional Photography including Industrial, Commercial, Automotive, Advertising, Fashion, Editorial, Wedding photography & Portraiture. Over almost the entire period of his professional career he has been actively engaged in the training of photographers from the four corners of the world covering every major discipline.

In recent years Martin has faced a hectic training schedule educating photographers in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Abu Dhabi, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and of course, The United States of America where his popularity as a powerful and effective trainer who really gets results is building rapidly. So much so he is now in constant demand, particularly PPA Affiliate Schools

Martin is a highly respected trainer and judge with so many Professional Organisations as well as many of the worlds leading representative bodies.Since 2009 Martin has been the Chairman of Judges for the CBRE Photographer of the Year Awards. This competition attracted over 10,000 entries in 2011 in its remit to cover the EMEA and near East region. In 2012 it will be Worldwide due to its phenomenal success. ( HYPERLINK “” for further information).

Martin has also developed qualifications and competition systems in a number of countries, the latest venture being in Denmark for the DFF organisation that represents professional photographers in many disciplines. ( HYPERLINK “” His education and training programs have been extremely successful and in 2012 the system is planned to be extended to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland and Iceland.

Martin’s reputation as an educator and judge of photography is truly worldwide and as a result his popularity as a trainer calls him to the four corners of the planet. His 2012 education programs will be covering a wide range of subjects including stills and movie production with a DSLR.