Photo by Jason Balaba, a winner in the 'Sea' subcategory of World's Coolest Winter photo contest
Photo by Jason Balaba, a winner in the 'Sea' subcategory Image Credit: Jason Balaba

Dubai: Five people have each won Dh7,000 for their photographs of the UAE’s beauty captured for the ‘World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition’.

Additionally, in the contest’s ‘Portfolio’ category for professionals, four photographers each won Dh50,000.

The contest was organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) in collaboration with the UAE Government Media Office.

The announcement coincided with the conclusion of the ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ highlighting the UAE’s entertainment, culture and natural landmarks, and raising awareness about the variety of its tourism activities during the nation’s winter season.

The competition, which ran from December 20, 2021, to January 20, 2022, featured two main categories – One Photo, which was open to the public, and Portfolio, which was exclusive to professional photographers.

Within the span of just one month, the competition registered more than 2,800 submissions by 2,176 participants from 89 countries.

One Photo winners

Maurizio Casula from Italy in the Desert subcategory,

Jason Balaba from Philippines in the Sea subcategory,

Abdalla Mohamed Alraeesi from UAE in the Mountains subcategory,

Khaled Alkindi from UAE in the Valleys subcategory,

Ajay Ghosh Ramachandran from India in the Emirates from Above subcategory.

Portfolio winners

Omar Almarzouqi from UAE in UAE in Your Eyes,

Rahul Bansal from India in UAE Wildlife,

Tittu Thomas from India in Faces from UAE,

Crisencio Bernabe from Philippines in UAE Street Life.

Beauty of the UAE

Alia Al Hammadi, Deputy Chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office, said: “The UAE’s nature, landscapes, society, and culture are a model for beautifully synchronised diversity. Its landmarks across the nation attract visitors and tourists from within and outside the UAE, and its scenery is a focal point for artists and creative geniuses.”

She highlighted that the World’s Coolest Winter campaign, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for a second consecutive year, shed light on the UAE’s unique touristic, leisure, natural and cultural offerings.

Tittu Thomas photo for coolest winter contest
A photo by Tittu Thomas, winner of Faces from UAE subcategory Image Credit: Tittu Thomas

Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith, Secretary General of HIPA, said: “The creative submissions received for the World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition presented together a comprehensive panoramic image of the UAE’s most beautiful landmarks. They reflected the nation’s true uniqueness, its nature and society, through the eyes and lenses of its residents and international tourists. The photos captured the essence of the UAE’s winter and the key tourist destinations across the various parts of the nation. We congratulate all the winners and encourage all our participants to continue to develop their skills and talent as photographers”.

Judging panel

Photo submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges with international awards for creative photography and photojournalism, including John Stanmeyer, whose photos were featured on more than 14 covers of National Geographic magazine and 18 covers of TIME magazine, cofounder of VII Photo Agency, and recipient of numerous accolades, including the prestigious Robert Capa award and POYi Magazine Photographer of the Year; Canadian Photographer Barbara Davidson, three-time Pulitzer and Emmy Award winning photographer and a Guggenheim Fellow recipient; and Shadi Nasri, a photographer specialising in night photography, natural landscapes, and fine art landscape photograph, as well as a renowned trainer in space photography with several tutorial videos online.