The Challenge

What's New

  • The Challenge will be the main theme of this year.
  • Last day of participation will be on 31 October 2016 at 11:59 pm (UAE local time)
  • The Other categories are: General, Digital Manipulation and Portfolio.
  • The General Category will have two sub categories “Color” and “ Black and White”
  • Participants are allowed to submit a Black and White Photograph in all categories except the General Color sub category.
  • Submitted Photo(s) must be in JPEG format, with high quality and resolution, of a minimum 5 MB in size, the minimum of the longest edge should be no less than 2000 pixel and the quality no less than 300dpi to be suitable for publication.
  • Participants are requested to submit the raw/original camera files at the same time of submitting their photographs.
  • All kind of editing, digital blending, layering are allowed in the Digital Manipulation category.
  • In the Portfolio category, Participants are required to submit 5-10 photographs of the same subject.





Building on a five-year tradition of inspiring artistic and intellectual talents to propagate the true spirit of photography and highlight its crucial role in the creation of a culture, as well as giving recognition to innovators worldwide, HIPA resumes its journey with you today to declare “Challenge” as the main theme category for the Sixth Edition of the Awards. This choice of category is meant to provoke photographers’ inner thoughts and life impressions in search for the visuals that give expression to the meaning of challenge as they understand it from their own experience, and the individuality through which they treat it through the lens of a camera.

You may have noticed that HIPA this year is adding a new tone to its outlook, which is ushering in a new stage in its journey towards photographic endeavour, in pursuit of added knowledge and skills for further advancement of its global audience in 193 countries.

Following the easy flowing, heart warming theme of Happiness, we now hear a strong call in the “challenge” theme, which seeks to mobilise our mental skills, visual memory and creative power to produce powerful and effective visual expressions that go beyond the single photo format, into a sequence of photos that is completely different in nature and requirements from the single photo, and that make the photographer truly a story teller. This is the Photo Feature category.

Furthermore, in recognition of the great technological leap that has allowed photographers to develop new skillsets in the editing and manipulation of photographs, HIPA has opened the door wide open for photographers’ imagination through the launch of the Digital Manipulation category. Finally, the General Category will continue to be a space for pure creative photography that breaks all formats and norms, offering photographers the opportunity to freely sail on their own journey of discovery where no one else has been – whether in black and white or coloured photography.

Thus, creativity and innovation are open to you on different platforms, and wherever your talent lies you have the opportunity to create a work of art you can truly be proud of.

Special Awards

Photography Appreciation Award (Personal, Group or Team Award)*

There are many passionate people within the photography industry who are dedicated and relentless in their pursuit for excellence. These people offer their services and expertise without expecting a return on their efforts and therefore form a vital part of the photographic community.

The ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ is a special category for a person or group who has shown long-standing commitment to enhancing the art of photography. By awarding the recipient, HIPA hopes to give back a small amount of the respect and appreciation they deserve.

Photographic Research/Report Award*

Research requires an unprecedented commitment of time and effort towards a particular field of study. It is invaluable in helping mankind create the future and advance knowledge and capabilities.

The Hamdan International Photography Award aims to enhance the ever-developing research field within photography by introducing the ‘Photographic Research/Report Award’.

The Award will celebrate research that reflects excellence in the field of photography. This strengthens the strategic goal of the award, which to develop the art of photography for the entire photographic community.

*Participants may enter these two special awards by invitation only.



Photographers are very familiar with the challenges faced in their line of work. They often have to deal with challenges in order to be able to capture the right image at the right moment and deliver the intended message or provoke the right feelings. However, this category is about conveying the theme of challenge in a clear manner either in the way the photograph was shot or in its content and subject matter. The scope is quite wide; the challenge could be shown in the composition of the picture, the arrangement of its elements, sequence, the lighting, or in expressing the odd and unusual (without digital manipulation). It can be in capturing a fleeting moment that may never pass again, or in delivering a piece of information or situation that is quite hard for most people to do. Don’t limit your mind to what the challenge may be; seek it and capture it.


Digital manipulation of photography has reached unprecedented highs that could never have been dreamt of before. In fact, it has arguably become an art form of its own.
Therefore in recognition of this art, HIPA is giving creative photographers with digital skills the opportunity to deliver an out-of-this-world image that is both convincing and realistic; a mind-blowing image from the realms of fantasy that challenges human perception with its apparent reality.
We invite all creative photographers to let their imaginations loose by taking real photos and digitally manipulating them to unreal levels of art, beauty and thought provocation.
This category will no doubt usher in a high level of competitiveness in creativity and digital skills... The sky is the limit.


This category invites photographers to convince the jury of their photographic talents and skills combined with their knowledge in a particular topic or theme of their choice by telling a story through photographs. The challenge here lies in imagining the desired setting of the photographs before capturing them in separate frames that would tell the story on their behalf.
The Portfolio category is an innovative addition to HIPA which no doubt breaks the barrier(s) of the single photograph and the single moment, and allows for the planning and execution of a story from various different angles and perspectives with differing or contrasting moments. This is a unique core challenge for HIPA in its sixth edition. Take up the challenge!


This category remains as attractive as ever for photographers who have an outstanding eye for photography that doesn’t necessarily fall into any of the other categories. Year after year, this category has gained quality and diversity, with a constant share of about a third of all entries registered in HIPA. Accordingly, HIPA has widened the scope for this category and will offer participants two opportunities instead of one; thus dividing it into two sub-categories: One for Black and White entries, to give deserved substance to this classic art form, and the other is for Coloured entries, giving participants the option to dazzle the jury and viewers with their colours.

Prize Money

Grand Prize $120,000


"The Challenge" Category

Position Prize Money
1st $25,000
2nd $20,000
3rd $15,000
 4th $12,000 
 5th $10,000  

"Digital Manipulation" Category

Position Prize Money
1st $15,000
2nd $12,000
3rd $10,000
4th  $8,000 
5th  $6,000 

"Portfolio" Category

Position Prize Money
1st $15,000
2nd $12,000
3rd $10,000
 4th $8,000 
 5th $6,000 

"General" Category

Position (Black & White) Prize Money
1st $15,000
2nd $12,000
3rd $10,000
Position (Color) Prize Money
1st $15,000
2nd $12,000
3rd $10,000

"Special Awards"

Photography apperciation award (Personal, Group or Team Award) $20,000
Photographic Research/Report Award $25,000
Grand Total $423,000


Adeeb Alani was born in 1956 and graduated from Mass Media College in his native Iraq. He was also a professor of photojournalism at the Mass Media College and has been a professional photographer in all the fields of photography for many years.

He is the current President of the Union of Arab Photographers and has written various articles and research studies. Throughout his career, Alani has organized many photography workshops, courses and lectures. He has also judged in many local, regional and international photography competitions.

Adrian is a conceptual portrait artist who really knows how to tell a story with his images. Now involved in advertising and commercial work, you probably recognise Adrian’s portfolio for the masterfully taken photographs of his sons.

Not only is he an incredibly gifted photographer and artist, he is a father, and he integrates these two aspects when capturing his son and his friends taking part in one of the many artistic ideas or scenes that Adrian has come up with in his head.

Adrian has found a very creative style of visual storytelling inspired by the style of American advertising photographer Dave Hill. Adrian describes his whole style as the "American style". With a post-processing style that feels so cinematic, you can’t help but stare at his portfolio of images in awe.

Adrian approaches his pieces like photorealistic paintings, sketching out each one before taking to his camera. As a result, he creates striking, unusual and powerful images that are sure to make you double-take. Heavily inspired by his young son and youthfulness in general, Sommeling creates pieces that capture the beauty and wonder of childlike imagination.

Wright is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography and a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award. Wright was recently awarded 'The 2014 Most Compelling Woman in the Travel Industry' by Premier Traveler magazine. She is an Explorers Club fellow and longtime member of the Association of Media Photographers (ASMP), the National Press Association (NPPA), American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

Alison completed her Photojournalism Degree at Syracuse University and graduated with a Master’s Degree focused on Visual Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, which was based on her years living and working among the Himalayan cultures of Asia. She has since been leading National Geographic’s Photo Expeditions as a South East Asia expert, as well as teaching many of their travel photography seminars across the country.

Bill Marr is the creative director of National Geographic magazine, charged with the design and art in National Geographic Society’s flagship publication, and has led the push into the digital world with National Geographic’s award-winning iPad app. His 39-year career reflects a dedication to photography and its presentation in newspapers, books and magazines. The magazine has been recognized with 21 National Magazine Awards in the past nine years, including four General Excellence, three Best Tablet Edition Ellies, and Magazine of the Year in 2012. Other work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators and the Society of Publication Designers. He worked at several newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1980s as the art director of its Sunday magazine, and has freelanced publication design for more than 10 years in book packaging, corporate projects, and annual reports. He was named Picture Editor of the Year three times. His work at the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune was honored by the Society for News Design with two gold medals. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Sarah Leen, who is Director of Photography at National Geographic magazine. He is happiest on a sailboat.

Felix is a conceptual and commercial photographer and graphic designer from Mexico.

He produces creative concepts and imagery for clients of his own creative firm as well for other ad agencies and clients around the world.

Felix has also written articles by assignment for different photo magazines including; Retouched Magazine, DOCMA, Digital Camera, Digital SLR Photography, Digital Photo and Good Light Magazine. He has been published in sites including; Fstoppers, Petapixel, 500px, DIY Photography, Retouching Academy, Canon, Audi Deutschland, Daily Mail, amongst others.

In recent years his work with scaled models (toys) has gone viral, shared and published all over the world. Working in studio or on location he mixes traditional 'on camera' techniques with digital manipulation to achieve realistic images and bring his scale models to life.

Felix puts special attention to the concept creation as well as the technical side. For him, photography is not to portrait what there exists but to portrait what exists in him.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Ken Geiger recently joined The Nature Conservancy as Director of Photography after nearly twelve years with National Geographic magazine as Deputy Director of Photography and before that as Director of Photography for The Dallas Morning News. Ken's career as a photojournalist has ranged from China to Mexico, war in Burma and Bosnia, terrorism in the Punjab, the 1990 post-Sandinista election in Nicaragua, four Olympic games, and numerous American political conventions. His awards include the Society of Newspaper Design and National Headliners, and he has also been named National Press Photographer's Association and Pictures of the Year International magazine's picture editor of the year.

Michael Christopher Brown is a photographer and filmmaker raised in the Skagit Valley, a farming community in Washington State. His recent works include the electronica music and youth scene in Cuba and the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contributing photographer to publications such as National Geographic Magazine and The New York Times Magazine, Brown was the subject of the 2012 HBO documentary 'Witness: Libya'. His photographs were exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Instituto Cervantes (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Annenberg Space for Photography, and the Brooklyn Museum. His book 'Libyan Sugar', which won the 2016 Paris Photo / Aperture First Book Award as well as the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for Artist’s Book, explores ethical distance and the iconography of warfare while using a phone camera. A film and a mixed media installation will complete the project.


"The Challenge" Category

Landfill Ballerina

A girl searching for recyclable items in a landfill in Guwahati, India. A small community lives inside this landfill and work as a team, some barefooted, sorting through mountains of garbage for less than $2 a day. They share this landfill with the endangered stork, the greater adjutant, along with some cows and dogs. The garbage is stacked very high and is very unpredictable since the ground beneath their feet can collapse at any time. The stench and fumes from the garbage is strong and heavy with animal feces and worms swimming everywhere in this ocean of trash. The homes in this community have no electricity or running water, and people live in an extremely unhealthy environment, with little to no chance of escaping.

A Butterfly in Water

A tattooed swimmer competing at the Italian National Paralympic Swimming Championships. The young man, whose arms are amputated, is the national champion in the 200 metres individual medley.

Knowledge, the Most Powerful Weapon

A boy on his way to school walks past an armed man in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Children in refugee camps often face two options growing up; either join an armed group or attain an education which would be a stepping stone to a brighter future.

A Fight for Survival

Two white-tailed eagles fight over food in the cold Hungarian plains. The majestic adults duel with one another, sometimes to the death, in a bid to rein supreme and ensure they are well fed during the harsh winter months.

Grown Up Too Soon

In a small Syrian refugee camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border, there are no adults in sight as they are out looking for work. In the pitiful conditions, a small girl is left carrying her young infant sister who is draped in a dirty old blanket.

Angels of the Clinic

Time goes by very slowly in a cancer clinic for children in the Russian city of Novosibirsk. Despite the challenges and difficulties faced by the youngsters, they smile and play around as if everything is fine.

"Digital Manipulation" Category


Since ancient times, many believed that the world we live in resembles a single vessel which has both a soul and an intellect. An entity which itself is alive and is composed of other components that are inter-related and share common characteristics. Mother nature is a harmonious combination of a variety of plants and animals, representing fertility, continuity and unity.

The River of Life

Our lives and the time we spend on this earth are much like a river; it does not stop for anyone until we each reach our eventual and final destination. The beauty of this photograph doesn’t only lie in its representation of childhood and its place as a shore of safety, but the eventual drifting into the unknown once a human has reached an old age.


With smart phone technology rapidly increasing, the use of a cellphone whilst driving has unfortunately become a common practice amongst many young drivers. The harsh reality is that this technology which has made our lives easier, in so many ways has now become a silent killer.

When She Grows Up

Memories can live inside a human being like flowers inside a vase. Sometimes memories can blossom inside a person and other times they can painfully wither inside a person’s mind for an entire lifetime. It is down to the owner of these memories/flowers to pick out the good ones and move on from the bad ones.


Many humans deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. These two diseases can arise at an early age and often overwhelm a person whilst growing up, leading to a difficult life later on. With the right support and guidance though, the most difficult of situations can be made easier and the fight against this common enemy can be successfully achieved.

"General - Colour" Category

The Balance

A small ant balances itself upright using two leaves while a water drop is about to fall.

Dragonfly Delirium

A sleeping dragonfly is covered in early morning dew, giving the effect that it is swimming in a pool of soap bubbles.


A bird’s eye view of a container port with the swathes of containers creating a symmetrical effect of beauty and elegance.

"General - Black & White" Category

To Catch a Blessing

A woman pushing past other worshippers trying to catch holy ‘Prasad’; a religious ritual celebrated by Hindus in rural West Bengal, India.

The Peace Village

For many young victims of war, medical treatment in Europe is their last chance for survival. An initiative established in 1967 by German citizens has helped many children over the years to come to Europe for medical treatment and rehabilitation. Upon successful medical treatment and rehabilitation, the children return to their native countries and families.

Flood of Loneliness

An elderly woman living alone in the Arunachal Pradesh province in Northern India is clutching her head in agony. Living in a remote tribal region with no support from family or friends has taken a toll on the 85 year old.

"Portfolio" Category

Silence of the Mansion

An abandoned mansion lies in ruin. The memories and belongings of its former occupants are all that is left within its walls. The chairs, bedrooms, a piano, a book and even an old painting of young children, fail to tell the full story of the people and lives that once lived here.

Six Degrees South

Poor coastal communities around the world are suffering as a result of industrialised fishing expeditions and the slow rise in sea levels. The next 20 years will likely see fishermen and their communities all negatively affected by this phenomenon and possibly leading to millions having to abandon the shores and move into urban areas inland.

Underwater Dreams

A beautiful mixture of contemporary, underwater, fashion and portrait photography all infused into a group of photographs like never before. Elegance and beauty can tell a story even in the least conventional settings.

Digging for the Future

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet ranks fourth in Africa's production of gold. Much of this gold comes from small-scale mines, where children work alongside their parents from dawn to dusk in very hazardous conditions. Mines collapse frequently, and the working environment is intoxicated with dangerous chemicals like mercury, which is used in the process of extracting gold.


A major earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale jolted China's Sichuan Province on May 12th , 2008, killing over 87,000 people and injuring about 37,000. The photographer rushed to the quake zone and took many photographs of the disaster scenes and affected people. One year later, the photographer returned to Sichuan to re-visit the affected people he’d photographed. He did the same five years after that.