The Eighth Season ended with the winners giving a superior, positive, artistic extension to the theme ‘Hope’. This brings us to the launch of our Ninth Season for all photographers around the world under the theme ‘Water’, which is woven into the very fabric of human history since the beginning of time..

 is the synonym of life and has been at the heart of everything we do. Without water there is no life.

Last season, ‘Aerial Photography - Video’ category was a pleasant surprise for photographers that were eager to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the photographic industry. The winning works were hugely celebrated amongst the community. This season we are even closer to daily life with the inclusion of the ‘Mobile Photography’ category to give everyone the opportunity to compete and win in the Award.

For the fourth year in a row, the ‘Portfolio’ category returns. This category once again demonstrated its strength, with some of the most fascinating submissions in the previous edition of HIPA. Likewise, the ‘General’ category returns and is set to delve into the creative minds of photographers, affording them a full remit to express themselves through ‘Black and White’ or ‘Colour’ submissions


What's New

  • Water will be the main theme of this season.
  • The Grand Prize (USD $120,000) will be chosen from any category this season.
  • Last day of participation will be on 31 October 2019 at 11:59 pm (UAE local time)
  • There are THREE Special Awards for the Ninth Season - ‘The Photography Appreciation Award’, ‘The Photography Content Creator Award’ and the ‘Emerging Person/Organization in Photography Award’.
  • Other categories are: General, Portfolio and Mobile photography
  • The General Category will have two sub categories ‘Colour’ 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 except the Mobile category where the photo must be no less than 2 MB and to be suitable for publication.
  • Participants are requested to submit the RAW/original camera files at the same time of submitting their photographs.
  • In the Portfolio category, participants are required to submit 5-10 photographs of the same subject matter as part of their submission.




Water may be the oldest and the perfect companion of humankind. Not only is our bodies predominantly made of water, but water is a necessity within our daily lives. From nature to nurture to science and discovery; water is central to our universe.

Photography not only photographs the present, but in time creates a rich archive of the past and even inspires the imagination for the future. Water as a theme provides an endless and provocative subject that captures the photographer’s imagination and inspires an opportunity for photographic brilliance and storytelling.

PORTFOLIO (Story-telling)

The Portfolio category returns to afford photographers the chance to showcase their storytelling skills through a series of photographs. A strong photographic story delves into the heart of a subject matter and leaves no margin for misinterpretation. A portfolio of photographs allows photographers to capture the hearts and minds of audiences in a way which may not be possible through a single photograph.

Mobile Photography

What is most beautiful is to give the opportunity to compete and win for all people. Mobile photography has become a natural companion in our lives and has evolved over the years to provide a formidable tool that has captured our imagination.

This category keeps pace with the global trend and the millions of images that mobile phones take daily for sharing, recording, discovery and dozens of other purposes.


This category remains a favourite among photographers who have an outstanding eye for photography which may not necessarily fall into any of the other categories on offer.

HIPA continues to offer participants two opportunities to participate in this category, instead of one. With one category open to black and white entries, a classic art form, and the other for coloured entries, giving participants the option to dazzle the jury with their vibrant compositions. For all the technical specifications for submissions and specific rules for this category – Click HERE


Special Awards


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.


Service to photography is not limited to taking stunning photographs, but extends to editors, publishers, bloggers, researchers, inventors, promoters and all print and digital content creators that have had a positive impact on the industry and helped shape it to what it is today.


This award is presented to an emerging person or organisation that has shown outstanding work or vision in the photography industry on a regional, national or international level.

All winners of the Special Awards are exclusively selected by HIPA.

Prize Money

Grand Prize $120,000


Position Prize Money
1st $20,000
2nd $16,000
3rd $12,000
 4th $8,000 
 5th $4,000  

Portfolio (Story Telling)

Position Prize Money
1st $24,000
2nd $21,000
3rd $19,000
 4th $17,000 
 5th $14,000 


Black & White
Position Prize Money
1st $20,000
2nd $15,000
3rd $10,000
Position Prize Money
1st $20,000
2nd $15,000
3rd $10,000


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

Special Awards

Photography Appreciation Award $20,000
The Photography Content Creator Award $15,000
Emerging Person/Organization in Photography Award $10,000
Grand Total $450,000


Please read these rules (the Rules) before submitting your photo(s) (the Photo(s)) to HIPA's Ninth season Competition ‘Water’ (the Competition). By participating in the Competition, you (You/ Your / the Participant) understand, acknowledge and fully, irrevocably and unconditionally agree to abide and be bound by the following Rules:


  1. The Competition is open for online submissions only (the Submissions), through the Competition online registration page available on www.hipa.ae.
  2. Submissions will be accepted from 00:01 on 1st August 2019 until 24:00 on 31st October 2019, UAE local time, (i.e. GMT +4). No Submissions made after the deadline will be accepted.
  3. Participants must be individuals aged eighteen (18) years or over at the time of the Submission(s).
  4. You hereby certify that you are eighteen (18) years old or older at the date of submitting your Photo(s) to the Competition. You further understand and agree that HIPA will automatically and without further notice discard any Photo(s) that are found to be submitted by a participant that is below eighteen (18) years old at the time of the Submission.

YOUR Photo (s)

  1. You may submit up to one (1) Photo in each relevant category of the Competition including the sub categories under the General category, except the Portfolio category where you can submit between 5 – 10 Photo(s); You must provide a title and description for each Photo submitted and a description for the set of photos in the Portfolio category
  2. The same Photo must not be submitted in more than one (1) category. Any Photo submitted in more than one (1) category will be discarded from the Competition.
  3. Submitted Photo must be in JPEG or JPG 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, except the Mobile Photography category where the photo must not be less than 2 MB in size and be suitable for publication.
  4. You are kindly requested to upload the original Photo(s) (RAW) or the Photo(s) without any editing at the time of submitting the Photo(s) to the Competition.
  5. Black and white Photo(s) are permitted in all the categories of the Competition except for the Color sub category under the General category.
  6. For the Portfolio category, you are requested to submit a series of Photo(s) on the same subject matter. The number of permitted Photo(s) is a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 Photo(s).
  7. All submitted Photo(s) must not contain any tag(s), signature(s), initial(s), frame(s),border(s), logo(s) or any other references and/or marks added by the Participant. Basic technical editing of the Photo(sis acceptable, provided any such editing does not affect the authenticity and/or genuineness of the Photo(s. Advanced editing used to create illusions, deceptions and/or manipulations; including compositing and creative retouching of the Photo(sis prohibited. HIPA preserves the right to assess and discard from the competition any submitted Photo(s) deemed, at HIPA's own discretion, contrary to the foregoing.
  8. Photo(s) that portray or otherwise include inappropriate and/or offensive contents, including nudity, violence and/or any other contents deemed to be contrary to the UAE religious, cultural and/or public morals traditions and practices will be disqualified.
  9. Photo(s) that have won any previous award(s), whether in any HIPA prior competition(s), or in any other competition(s) whatsoever and announced before 31st October 2019 , and/or Photo(s) that have been previously used, or are intended to be used, for any kind of commercial purposes, must not be submitted. Any Photo(s) submitted in contrary to the foregoing will be automatically and without further notice disqualified from the entire Competition.


  1. HIPA's appointed judging panel shall assess and determine the winning Photo(s).The results, prizes and the winners will be announced in a public ceremony that will be held on March 2020.
  2. The winner(s) will be contacted by HIPA and must provide HIPA with their bank account details and personal details within seven (7) days from HIPA's request. The cash money prize(s) will be paid to each winner within a period of two (2) months following the announcement of the Competition's results.
  3. HIPA’s judging panel has the right, at its absolute discretion, to turn down or reject any Photo(s) or Submission(s) without having to give any notice or explanation to the relevant Participant.
  4. Any federal, state/ provincial/ territorial, and/or local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income tax) on any prize that may be awarded to you under the Competition will be solely paid by you.
  5. The decision of HIPA's judging panel is final and binding on all Participants in respect to all matters relating to the Competition.


  1. Submitted Photo(s) must be a single work of original material created and/or taken by you, must not contain any materials owned or controlled by a third party for which you have not obtained a license, permission or approval to use, must not infringe the copyright, trademark, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity.
  2. Upon reaching the final stage of judging, you grant HIPA, a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license to use, publish, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works, distribute, have distributed, print, promote your submitted Photo(s), in whole or in part, in any form, in all media forms now or hereafter known, anywhere in the world for any purpose, related to the Competition, the publication in HIPA promotional digital and/or printed materials and formats broadcast such as on HIPA magazines, printed leaflet and brochures, HIPA website and/or through other public online feeds, promoting subsequent competitions and/or the work of HIPA generally.
  3. You must obtain, solely bear the cost for, and provide HIPA within seven (7) calendar days of any request to do so by HIPA, with any or all of the following:
    1. A signed written consent, release and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person(s) appearing in your submitted Photo(s), clearly authorizing you to use their picture or likeness for submitting the Photo(s) in the manner contemplated by the Competition, and authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known. Please click here to download the draft of the Model Release Form.
    2. A signed written license from the copyright owner of any sculpture, artwork, or other copyrighted material that appears in your submitted Photo(s), authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known;
    3. A signed written license from the owner of any private property included in your submitted Photo(s), authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known; and
    4. A signed written license or release letter from a person who has the right or is able to assert any right over the Photo(s) (e.g. employer, agency, etc) authorizing HIPA. HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known. Please click here to download the draft of the Release form.
    5. If you have been announced as a winner of the Competition (in any category), you grant to HIPA, a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license to use, publish, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works, distribute, have distributed, promote your winning Photo(s), in whole or in part, in any form, in all media forms now or hereafter known, anywhere in the world and for any purpose, including but not limited to: display at a potential exhibition of winners, publication of a book featuring select entries in the Competition, publication in HIPA materials and/or online highlighting entries or winners of the Competition, and promoting the work of HIPA generally.


  • You hereby hold harmless, release, indemnify and discharge HIPA and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers and representatives from all liability, claims, judgments, demands, controversies, agreements, damages, actions and causes of action whatsoever, arising out of or related in any way to the Photo(s), the Competition or the conduct of the Competition and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded, whether in law or in equity, no matter what the cause or nature, and you further waive any claims that you may state or assert against HIPA in association with the Competition or any of its associated activities, or in any way related to or resulting from the Photo(s), Competition even if such injury or claims results from or is caused by the negligence or gross negligence of HIPA, in whole or in part. You further agree to indemnify and hold harmless HIPA from any claim arising out of your participation in the Competition including, without limitation, all claims brought or asserted by any third party as a result of any injury or loss that you or they may sustain in any way associated with your participation in the Competition.
  • If HIPA, at its sole discretion, is of the opinion that you have breached any of the Rules, HIPA has the right to disqualify you from the Competition, and in such circumstances you must re-pay to HIPA all costs undertaken by HIPA in relation to your Submission(s) and participation in the Competition and the awards ceremony, including but not limited to (if and to the extent applicable) any travel costs incurred by HIPA, and re-pay the Competition prize money and return any trophies or certificates at your own cost to HIPA.
  • Under no circumstance HIPA will be liable for any:
    1. lost, late, misdirected, stolen, illegible or incomplete Submissions;
    2. error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, submitted Photo(s);
    3. problems, failures or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet, at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing;
    4. incorrect or inaccurate information, caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition or by any technical or human error which may occur in the processing of the Photo(s) and/or the Submissions; and/or
    5. injury or damage to any Participant or to any computer related to, resulting from or in connection with the Competition.
  • If, for any reason, the Competition is not capable of being conducted as anticipated, due to computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of HIPA, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition, HIPA reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition as deemed appropriate, disqualify any Participant, and/or select winners from all eligible Photo(s) submitted prior to the termination, cancellation, modification or suspension. HIPA reserves the right to correct any typo-graphical, printing, computer programming or operating errors at any time.


The Competition, your Submission(s) and the Rules shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Emirate of Dubai and the applicable federal laws of the United Arab Emirates, and any aspects or disputes arising out of or in connection with the Competition and/or your Submission(s) will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Dubai courts (as established by Law No. (3) of 1992 and Law No. (13) of 2016).


What is new this season?

What is new this season?

  • ‘Water’ is the main theme of the Ninth Season of competition.
  • Other categories in the Ninth Season are: General, Portfolio and Mobile Photography.
  • Submitted Photo(s) must be in JPG or 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 except the Mobile category where the photo must be no less than 2 MB and be suitable for publication.

What is HIPA?

What is HIPA?

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) is an international photography award established in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in order to encourage and spread the culture of photography across the world.

Rules and Regulations:

Who can participate in the competition?

We encourage all individuals over the age of 18 from any part of the world to participate.

Can I participate in the Special Awards (Photography Appreciation Award / The Photography Content Creator Award / Emerging Person / Organization in Photography Award)?

All winners of the Special Awards are to be exclusively selected by HIPA and are not open for entry.

I am a previous winner with HIPA, am I eligible to participate in the current season of competition?

Yes, you are.

Can I nominate someone on behalf of me for the competition?

No, you cannot nominate others to take part on your behalf.

What are the fees involved in the competition?

There are no fees whatsoever and the competition is completely free of cost.

What are the categories of the award?

Please click here for all categories

How many pictures can I submit?

You can submit one photograph per category, except the portfolio category, where you must upload 5-10 photographs.

How do I submit photos for the competition?

You can submit photos through the official HIPA website www.hipa.ae

How can I register for the competition?

Registration is available through the HIPA website; all rules must be read and accepted before registration.

How do I know that my photos have been submitted successfully?

After successfully uploading any photo(s), you will receive a confirmation email.

I have not received a confirmation e-mail, why is that?

Please check your spam or Junk mail folders for any emails from HIPA, and make sure to add noreply@hipa.ae to your e-mail safe list.

What are the prizes?

Click the following link to view all the prizes.

Can I participate with a photo that has previously won a HIPA award / any other photography competition?

No, you cannot participate with any photo(s) that has / have already won in past competitions.

Can I participate with a photo that was submitted into another photography competition but did not win?

Yes, as long as you own the copyright for the photograph.

Can I participate with a photo that has already been used for commercial purposes?

No, that is not permissible.

What is meant by “commercial purposes”?

The use of a public record for the purpose of:

  • Sale or resale or for the purpose of producing a document containing all or part of the copy, printout or photograph for sale, or;
  • obtaining of names and addresses from such public records for the purpose of solicitation, or;
  • Monetary gain from the direct or indirect use of the public record.

Can I participate with a photograph that has been shared on a social media channel such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.?

Yes, that is possible.

Do I have to submit photos taken with a digital camera?

You can participate with pictures taken with digital or analogue cameras, but submission must be done digitally online, so film photographs would have to be scanned by the participant before submission.

Do I have to write a description for the photo(s) / Portfolio I submit?

Yes, a brief description of minimum 30 words in length must be included with each photo in all categories. Except for the ‘Portfolio’ category you need to write a description for the entire portfolio

Which language can I submit my photo descriptions in?

We accept photo descriptions in English or Arabic or both languages only.

Can I delete or replace photos that have already been uploaded?

Yes, but deletion and / or replacement of photographs must take place no later than 3 days after the original upload.

What should I do if I am unable to upload my photo(s)?

You may contact HIPA through customer.helpdesk@hipa.ae if you encounter any issues with the uploading of photographs(s).

Do I need to send the photograph in RAW format?

Participants should upload their RAW or Camera original file(s) when uploading their submissions.

Can I use Photoshop or any other photo-editing software to edit my photo(s)? And what are the limits?

Yes, but it should not affect the authenticity of the photograph.

Are there any specific requirements for photograph(s) resolution and dimensions?

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, except the Mobile Photography category where the photo should be no less than 2 MB and be suitable for publication.

Are panoramic photograph(s) accepted?

Yes, they are.

Can I submit photograph(s) that have been taken before 2018?

Yes, there is no restriction on the date that submissions are taken on.

Can I submit black and white photograph(s) in all the categories?

Yes, that is possible except the Colour subcategory under the General Category.

Can I upload the same photograph in more than one category?

No, that is not allowed.

Do I need a model release form when submitting portrait photo(s)?

Yes, a model release form will be required upon request from HIPA if you reach the final judging stage.

Is contemporary or conceptual photography allowed in the competition?


Technical issues

What is the best internet browser to use for registration and the uploading of photo(s)?

We recommend the use of Google Chrome.

How do I change or update my contact details on the HIPA website?

You may edit or update all your details (except your name and email address) by logging on to your member page on the HIPA website.

Can I see my submitted images on the website?

Yes, you can see your submitted photograph(s) as soon as they are uploaded.

What can be done if I forget my username and password?

To reset your password, Click on this link http://members.hipa.ae/ForgotPassword

Will I be notified if my photo is chosen for the online galleries and the e-book?

Yes, you will be notified beforehand.


How many judging stages are there in HIPA?

There are 4 stages of judging at HIPA.

Who are the judges for the current season?

The identity of judges will remain anonymous until the completion of the current season.

What is the judging system?

We have a system for judgment based on FOUR main stages.

Stage 1
The process begins with screening (filtration) of received photographs. In this stage, we have three judges who check all submitted photographs and check their compatibility with our rules and regulations. (Photographs here are marked either as qualified or disqualified).

Stage 2
Qualified photographs then move on to the first stage of actual judging by a group of three judges (there are usually three groups of three judges) and the judges here give a score for the photographs between 1 and 100. Each judging group handles a specific category and in turn judge on selected photographs.

Stage 3
A percentage of the photographs (percentage differs according to total number of photographs) will be transferred to the third judging level where all the judges (usually 9) give another score between 1 and 100.

Stage 4
The HIPA team will also begin the verification process of participants within a certain time frame. This will include request of legal documents such as model release forms and ownership statements in addition to copies of identification cards and / or passport copies.

Is the judging anonymous?

Yes, judging is anonymous. Judges are not aware of participants’ names or details.

How will I be notified if I’ve won in the competition?

You will be notified via the e-mail address you provided during registration. If you are chosen as a finalist, then you will be asked to provide necessary documents to ensure that your personal details are correct.

What does it mean when I receive an email informing me that I am a finalist?

It means you may be a winner and that your photo may also be published in our annual book / website gallery.

Will I be notified if my photo is chosen for the online galleries and the e-book?

Yes, you will be notified.

Once I am a member of HIPA, will I receive a copy of the annual book every year?

No, only participants who have their photograph(s) published in the annual book of the respective season will receive a copy of the annual book from HIPA's offices in Dubai, UAE.

If I was not a finalist, will my photos be used by HIPA?


If one of my photos wins with HIPA, can I use it to participate in other competitions?

Yes, although winners will be asked to sign an undertaking letter that allows HIPA to use winning photos in our publications and all noncommercial purposes. Rules and regulations of other competitions should also be taken into consideration in this case.

Can I sell my winning photo(s)?

Yes you can, but HIPA still hold the right to use it as per the undertaking letter.

If I have any more questions that the FAQs don’t answer, who can I contact?

Please contact info@hipa.ae and we will try our best to assist you.



One day in her senior year of high school, Cristina Mittermeier sat on the floor with her classmates listening to a man talk about career opportunities in marine sciences while she looked up, transfixed, at the otherworldly images he showed on a screen. She knew right then that she wanted a career focused on the ocean. But her hometown of Cuernavaca, in central Mexico, was nowhere near the water, and there were no female scientists around who could offer her guidance. Her father wanted her to be an accountant, like him. Her grandmother wanted her to find a husband. Her mother, a psychologist, told her she should follow her dream.

Mittermeier is now one of the most influential female photographers in the world. She began her career as a Marine Biologist working in her native Mexico. She soon discovered that she could better advocate for the oceans and the planet through the lens of her camera than she could with data on spreadsheets.

Today, a virtuous mind and voice in conservation photography, Mittermeier is the co-founder of the conservation society ‘SeaLegacy’, a National Geographic contributing photographer, a Sony Artisan of Imagery and the editor of 26 coffee table books on conservation issues. She is the first female photographer to reach 1 million followers on Instagram and was a 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Mittermeier is acknowledged as one of the most Influential Women in Ocean Conservation in 2018 by Ocean Geographic, and The Men’s Journal recently named her as one of the 18 Most Adventurous Women in the World.

Mittermeier has worked in more than 120 countries on every continent in the world. Her work is about building a greater awareness of the responsibility of what it means to be a human. Her work relays an understanding that we are inextricably linked to all other species on this planet and that we have a duty to act as the keepers of our fellow life forms.

Cristina lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, with her partner, National Geographic Photographer, and Filmmaker, Paul Nicklen.


François Hébel has been the director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson since November 2017. Born in 1958 and, after studying communication, he turned to photography. Between 1983 and 1985, he managed the FNAC galleries. In 1985, Jean-Luc Monterosso with whom he collaborated on the Mois de la Photo recommended him for the ‘Les Rencontres De La Photographie’ Festival in Arles, France. Hébel became the director of this festival between 1986 and 1987 during which he shone the light on many photographers, including works by a new generation of photographers in the 80s such as Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Sebastiao Salgado and Eugene Richards.

In 1987, François Hébel became director of the famous cooperative Magnum Photos which he diversified, notably by creating a cultural department with Agnès Sire and Diane Dufour, accompanying the rapid growth of in-depth and news reportage and guiding the agency towards the digital age. In 2000, he became editorial vice-chairman of the Europe division of the Corbis agency. In 2001, he returned as director of the Festival des Rencontres d’Arles, which he developed until he left 13 years later. He has also been director and co-founder of Photo Spring Beijing (2010-2012), the Foto/Industria biennale in Bologna (Italy) since 2013, artistic director of the “French Protocol” programme at the FIAF Gallery (French Institute/Alliance française gallery) in New York since 2015, founder and artistic director of the Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris 2017 and author of many photography books, shows and catalogues.


Haitham Fathallah Aziza, born in Mosul, Iraq in 1955, was raised in an environment full of paper and ink scents. Both his father and grandfather had been working in the field of printing, since 1918. Later on the family moved to Baghdad and Aziza completed his high school and university studies and graduated from the College of Science - Physics Department. He was working at the printing press with his father when latest modern devices in printing were introduced in Iraq in the early 70s.

As a result, Aziza developed an interest and commenced his photographic journey as a Sports Photographer until 1989; during which he had accompanied the Iraqi Football Team to all their matches and was aiming to publish a book about football in Iraq.

In 1992, Aziza published a book on the journey of photojournalism. He hosted lecture on photojournalism and the responsibilities of being a photojournalist. Through his continuous follow-up to the cultural scene in Iraq and his experience with printing and publishing, Aziza believed, and still do, that books documented with photographs are more desirable to readers.

Aziza showcased his photography in various exhibitions in Baghdad and Amman. His last exhibition titled ‘No to War’ was described as a deafening roar in silent hall - featuring photographs of war with highly descriptive captions in Arabic, English and French. Aziza is part of a cultural project adopted by Dar Al-Adeeb Al-Baghdadiya - a project documenting and archiving works and creations of many artists as the cultural resource for future generations.

He dreams of one day publishing an archival book on Iraqi Art.


Kathy Moran is National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography and was the magazine’s first senior editor for natural history projects. Moran has been producing projects about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems for the magazine since 1990 and has edited over 350 stories for the magazine. Recent highlights include editing the May 2016 issue on Yellowstone as well as Brent Stirton’s award-winning coverages of Virunga and Rhino Trade. Moran was the project manager for the National Geographic Society/Wildlife Conservation Society’s collaboration of photographer Nick Nichols and Dr. Michael Fay’s trek across Central Africa. The resulting stories were the impetus for the creation of Gabon’s national park system.

Moran has edited several books for the Society, including Women Photographers at the National Geographic, The Africa Diaries – An Illustrated Life in the Bush, Cat Shots and most recently, Tigers Forever. She was the photo editor for two anthems of wildlife photography, “100 Best Wildlife Pictures” and “Wildlife, The Best Photos.” She recently curated an exhibition for the Society’s museum “50 Best Wildlife Photographs.” She was named “Picture Editor of the Year” for her winning portfolios in the 2017 and 2006 POYi competition and the 2011 Best of Photo competition.

Moran is a founding member, and has served on the Executive Committee, of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). In that role, she has edited numerous books for ILCP photographers published with the University of Chicago Press. She served on the Executive Committee of Wildscreen USA. She has been on the jury for numerous photo competitions including Por el Planeta, Big Picture Natural World Competition, POYi, Wildlife Photographer of the Year and European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.


Robin Moore is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, author and conservationist. His photographs have grace the pages of publications such as National Geographic Magazine, the Economist, Newsweek and Esquire, as well as adorning the walls of the illustrious National Geographic Fine Art Galleries.

Moore is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and, since earning his PhD in Biodiversity Conservation, has been a powerful voice in the fight to protect animals and nature using photography as a tool to connect broad audiences with these issues.

Moore's first book ‘In Search of Lost Frogs’ was named one of the best nature books of 2014 by the Guardian, the Dodo and Mother Nature Network. His photographs have received recognition from prestigious awards including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, American Photo, Photo District News, Outdoor Photographer and Nature's Best, to name a few.

Moore grew up in Scotland chasing frogs and newts before entering the steamy jungles of West Africa to study chameleons, a life-altering experience that ignited a burning desire to try to protect such incredible places bubbling with life.


Conrad Anker has been pushing the limits of mountaineering for the last 30 years, evolving into one of America’s best alpinists. The Bozeman, Montana-based father of three is one of the most prolific explorers and mountaineers alive today.

Anker’s resume continues to grow, having notched the long-awaited first ascent of the Meru Shark’s Fin in India with partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk in 2011, which led to the Sundance-winning documentary, Meru. Anker has climbed Everest three times, including a 2012 trip with National Geographic to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent of the mountain. On his most famous Everest climb in 1999, he discovered the remains of George Mallory, one of the two British climbers who died attempting Everest in 1924, helping to shed more light on one of mountaineering’s most famous mysteries. Conrad’s years of experience in the adventure enabled him to bring an authentic and unique perspective to his storytelling through photography.

Conrad came to climbing by way of his family, learning a deep appreciation for the outdoors from his California childhood, an appreciation and respect that has deepened as climbing took him around the world.


Water Category



Essence of Life

"A mother humpback whale is seen resting with her newly born calf in the Kingdom of Tonga. The rain fell rhythmically in a soothing pitter-patter on the water’s surface, gently lulling them.

As we floated and watched them, the sound of the rhythm faded just a little and the ocean calmed just enough for the tranquil pair to rise up, meeting the light rays just starting to break through the surface."

The Downpour

This photo was taken in Iceland. The waterfall is called 'Dynjandifoss' and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland (also known as the Fjallfoss or mountain waterfall).

With this image, I wanted to capture the beauty of nature and portray how small and insignificant we are compared to this wild nature. By using a slower shutter speed (half a second), the water of the waterfall is shown as a beautiful bridal veil.

What a problem!

People climb onto buses and cars submerged in flood waters to save themselves during the monsoons in Mumbai, India. Water has always been known as the essence of life, however in the recent past, due to climate change, water or the lack of it has become a destructive force. Droughts, floods, tsunamis have become more common now than ever.

Octopus Hunter

A portrait of a child looking for an octopus around the coast of a fishing village in Ambon, the Maluku islands.

The lives of children here rely on the sea, where they are used to doing everything themselves from a very young age.

Save Me

At one point, a few children were playing and suddenly the sky collapsed and the rain came pouring down. There was no shelter in the area, until their father ran to save them from the rain.

Water - The Secret of Life

This picture was taken near Bayan Olghi in Northeast Mongolia where there is a lake. This lake is a source of life, bringing fresh water for the village people. This spontaneous image of a father and his son was taken when they were drinking water from the lake after a painstaking walk from their home.

Mobile Photography Category

A Journey Outside our World

In winter, when the flow of water is very low due to ‘Photochemical Reactions’, a moss like structure is formed and causes water pollution. It refers to the blend of such substances in water that invalidates it for use by humans, flora and fauna. Water pollution affects the whole world as water is the basis of life. A fisherman appears on his boat as if he belongs on the upper deck of the earth and is on a journey beyond our world.


A crimson sunbird is hovering and quenches its thirst from the flower. This picture was taken approximately 50cm from the bird using artificial light and a reflector.

Spirituality of Colors

The Day of Sacrifice, is the tenth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, during which pilgrims perform certain rituals, including the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, where with their movement a wonderful color palette is created.

Under the Rain

On a trip with my wife to the Sharjah Rain Room, I opted to avoid all professional photography gear and focus on enjoying our time together. But this moment had to be captured.

A reflection of the reality of my married life. Two loving partners relying on each other, as a basis for a happy family.

Sunset Tranparency

The golden aromas of sunset combines perfectly with the power of thought. It is a story that was captured on the balcony of a mosque while celebrating a local festival, when suddenly a gust of wind blew and the 'Dupatta', which is a traditional female dress, fluttered into view.

General - Colour Category

Snow Monalisa

An Arctic fox retrieves its food from an ice hole in Canada. In times of abundance, the fox stores food in separate pits 10cm underground and returns to it when needed to avoid losing its entire supply if another fox finds it.

The Portrait of Sapa

Sapa is a Vietnamese girl living in Nha Trang. She suffers from 'Heterochromia', a condition caused by the increase or decrease in melanin and may be hereditary or the result of a genetic defect. She has unique expressive eyes - one brown and one blue. She is a descendant of the Chams tribe.

One Soul Opposite Direction

In the Alaskan wilderness, two bear cubs scavenge for food on a beach. In the perfect moment, they were captured heading in opposite directions but in search of the same thing.

General - Black & White Category

King of the North

In the northern corner of the globe, on the Norwegian Svalbard Archipelago, a polar bear was walking on an iceberg with the early morning sunlight touching him from behind creating an extraordinary silhouette.

The Silent Witness

Over two-hundred-year-old trees in the center of Szczecin (Poland); silent witnesses of many human stories. An old man strolls through these old trees in the quiet of Autumn, like seasons reflecting a passage of time.

The Young Dreamers

Children are a symbol of unity and unity can make a positive change. Here the children in their playful mood are delivering this message to the world. They have the power to eradicate many of the curses of this world. The curses of poverty, illiteracy, hunger, pollution, diseases, etc.

They have the power to make a better world. Children don't want to protect the environment, they want to create a world where the environment doesn't need to be protected.

Portfolio Category

Kingdom of Beauty and Danger

The attraction to the sea makes this photographer a captive of what he can see under the waves. Wandering through the ocean and observing the beauty of the creatures in it, he is communicating with nature directly, always surprised by what he sees. Most people only see these creatures as a source of food but they have voices we can hear and rights we must preserve in the face of danger. Dangers of human destruction of this beautiful environment in several ways - overfishing, pollution, plastic, radiation, climate change and so on.

Rafting People on Yalu River

The Yalu River, now the border between China and North Korea, has had a history of transporting wooden rafts for thousands of years. Every year between Spring and Fall, North Korean loggers cut logs in the Changbai mountains and release them along the Yalu River. The raft travels down the river to Zhongjiangjun, North Korea. With the development of the modern transportation industry, this will gradually fade out of history and become a valuable part of the world's cultural heritage.

The Predator's Fins

Sharks are known to be a killing machine at the top of the marine food chain. But since the 1990s, the number of Black-Fin Sharks (Carcharhinus Melanopterus) has been declining. Based on research, millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins. The cost of shark fin soup ranges from US $ 70-150, which is rumored to be a cure for some illnesses even though it contains Methylmercury which is dangerous to our health. Efforts to regulate fishing in Indonesia are not yet effective enough. Lack of awareness of the role sharks play in the marine eco-system poses a major threat to marine life. Pictures from one of the fishing ports in Indonesia.

October Anger

Peaceful protests are considered human rights around the world and are included in the Iraqi constitution, but the Iraqi government has reacted severely with the Rafidain youth who demonstrated in Tahrir Square in Baghdad in October 2019 demanding their rights. But the Iraqi lens remain witness to these events.

Ethiopian Rituals

A representation of black Christianity in northern Ethiopia. This is an anthropological portfolio that wants to give back the country's identity that has been subjected to irreversible change caused by investments from both Europeans and Chinese. The daily lives of these believers are based on liturgical times. The rituality of religious festivities is melded into their everday activities. Young and old, men and women, all hold on to their beliefs and identity, by preserving their religion. They achieve this by resisting outside influence and not changing for any reason.


Photography Appreciation Award

With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Michael Yamashita is known as one of photography’s top influencers. He has shot for the National Geographic for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of travel and photography. An Asian Studies major at Wesleyan University and fluent in Japanese, Yamashita has followed his roots to become a Far East expert. In addition to his work throughout Asia, which has included intensive concentrations in China, Japan, Southeast Asia and India, his assignments have taken him to six continents.

Yamashita’s particular specialty has been in retracing the paths of famous travelers like Marco Polo and the Chinese explorer Admiral Zheng He, along their historic routes, and capturing the 21st century images that could easily have been seen in ancient times. His current focus has been documenting China’s new Silk Road initiative, One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which ranges across the countries along the original Silk Road of Marco Polo’s day.

Known for sharing his expertise and adventures as a teacher and lecturer, Yamashita has appeared as a TedX Speaker and is a sought-after lecturer and instructor at photography workshops, conferences and universities across the globe.

He has won a host of industry awards, including those from the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition, Photo District News, the New York Art Directors Club, and the Asian American Journalists Association. His most recent exhibits include installations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo, as well as in Pisa, Italy, Frankfurt, Germany, The Carter Center in Atlanta, Los Angeles County Museum and the National Gallery in Washington DC.

Along with two documentary feature films, both inspired by his extensive coverage of Marco Polo and Zheng He, Yamashita has produced 16 books, on topics as diverse as Japanese gardens, the Mekong River, the Great Wall and Tibet.

When not traveling, he can be found with his family at his home and studio in rural New Jersey, where he is an active volunteer fireman.

The Photography Content Creator Award

Xposure is a platform of art, the art of photography, and the art of observation; where the image represents a reality we may sometimes overlook. It is an open invitation for us to take a moment and rethink the life we are living and the way we are living it. It takes cases from around the globe and bring it to us in a form of a visual narrative. The concept of Xposure was established in 2015, and the first International festival took place in October 2016. The multi-module festival concept was developed to provide a visual learning platform for all age groups, incorporating multiple genres and disciplines of the art form. Presenting projects from not only the world’s leading photographers but also emerging talents and individuals, Xposure delivers powerful content to bring awareness of worldwide issues. Photojournalism, environmental issues, humanitarian and wildlife conservation are key subjects that we highlight. The festival is organised by Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB).

Integrated Platform Xposure is an official imagery and educational platform that combines a range of photography events. Since 2016, Xposure has been developing and combining arts, culture and education. Though visual storytelling, it has developed much of the exhibition content, talks and panel discussions, and go beyond the images listening to the story behind them. The education programme relies heavily on the theoretical and practical aspects of learning and provides workshops for all levels of expertise and combining it with a series of gatherings; including focus groups that allow attendees to get closer to better understand the mentor while getting to the know, what, when and how. In addition to the Portfolio Reviews by leading industry experts to take them to the next level of their work. Xposure believes in promoting talent from the around the world. In 2019, the annual Internarial Photography and Short Film competition gained around 15,000 participants from 31 countries. Not forgetting the technical aspects, it also hosted a dedicated photographic and video production trade show that provides the latest products in the field.

Pictures and International Cases The curation at Xposure is not done based on the best picture, rather based on compelling stories, achievements and tales about cultures and life.

During the past four years, Xposure has presented storytelling from the four corners of the globe. From Greenland to Chile, America to Russia. The exhibitions you find on display at Xposure are not just pretty pictures. Sometimes they are a reality and other times a harsh wake-up call to bring awareness to a wider audience. In photojournalism, Xposure has covered topics such as the Vietnam War by Sir Don McCullin, the atrocious activities of ISIS by Afshin Ismaeli, the Iranian Revolution (44 days) by David Burnett and the Immigration crisis in the US (Undocumented) by John Moore.

Environmental issues such as deforestation and forestation, ‘Art & Propaganda’ by J Henry fair highlights how major companies are producing readily available products that poison the earth and well as the human race. ‘Save the Salt’ highlighted the legislation that was past allowing industry to remove salt from the Bonneville Salt Flats in order to extract Potash and Potassium Hydroxide.

Xposure will continue to expose emerging talents and educate through imagery by bringing projects of conservation, environmental and humanitarian issues of public interest to the exhibition walls and the stage during the annual festival, ‘EDUCATION THROUGH IMAGERY’.

Emerging Person in Photography Award

Gulshan Khan is an independent South African photographer based in Johannesburg. Her work is focused on stories related to social justice, identity, human rights, transition and belonging and the dignity of people; the multi-layered effects of everything from access to water and sanitation, safe housing, equal education and healthcare, gender based violence to plastic pollution, climate change and migration. These are themes which continue to direct her visual reflections of the human condition and the world around her.

A stringer for Agence France Presse (AFP), she was the first African woman to be hired by the agency in 2017. She has published in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Frame, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, The Financial Times, El Pais, The Wall Street Journal, among others. Gulshan has worked with various NGO’s including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the African Women's Development Fund.

In 2018, she was one of six photographers selected for the World Press Photo 6x6 Talent Program, Africa Edition, and was a 2019 Joop Swart Nominee. In 2016, Gulshan completed the Market Photo Workshop Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a member of the World Press Photo's African Photojournalism Database (APJD), Native and Women Photograph and is an Everyday Africa contributor.

Gulshan’s work has been exhibited around the world and she has had the honour of speaking at a host of institutions and events including the World Press Photo Festival 2019 and the National Geographic Storytellers Summit 2020. She sometimes teaches at her alumnus, the Market Photo Workshop.

While working on multiple projects, Gulshan has slowly been developing a long term project about her community of contemporary Muslims in South Africa. This personal documentation aims to engage with the theme of how faith is something that we carry with us even when we cannot carry anything else. It speaks to ideas of (re-)establishment of communities around acts and spaces of worship and prayer, and the transformations of physical and social landscapes through faith, with a special interest in the perspective of women. The project also aims at remedying the historical lack of visual representation that such communities suffered, due to the dislocation and erasure cause by colonisation and apartheid in Africa and aims to be something that generations to come can look upon as a source of history and memory.