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Week 2 winners of the GWIS ‘Captured At Home’ Photography Challenge. Topic: ‘Take a picture of what you see from your window/balcony’. 1st Prize: 2 tickets to IMG Worlds of Adventure (Valid for 1 year). Abdullah Siddiqui - Year 13 GWIS Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai teen has channelled the frustration of students under coronavirus movement restriction orders into a nationwide photography contest featuring creative shots taken at home.

Schools had shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, confining students to home due to restrictions, which have since eased.

However, schools will remain closed till the end of the academic year.

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Ayman Khan Image Credit: Supplied

Stuck at home like other students, Ayman Khan, a grade 12 pupil at GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai, saw his photo-shoot projects and other hobbies shelved by the lockdown.

Killing time

Struggling with boredom, Khan started taking pictures at home to kill time and polish his photography skills.

“If I’m doing this, why not get others to do it as well? With that, the idea for a photo challenge was born,” the 16-year-old American student said.

Ayman spoke to his school, which helped him launch it initially as an appreciation contest for its students. Seven weeks in, the GWIS ‘Captured at Home’ photography challenge has gone national with over 400 submissions from hundreds of students from various schools.

Also, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority has promoted the challenge while camera giant Nikon has lent support in the selection of weekly winners and prizes such as goodie bags.

Each week has set a challenge theme, such as ‘what you see from your window’ or ‘cool lights at home’. The eighth and final round concludes next Thursday. Its theme will be revealed this Thursday on the social media handle of the school, @gems_wis.

The weekly winner and first and second runner-up is revealed on Thursdays.

Pleasantly surprised

Ayman has been left “shocked” by the creativity and quality of the photos sent by students.

“I was really overwhelmed and surprised, I didn’t expect to get so many submissions. The pictures are pretty professional and really impressive, in terms of both creativity and technicality,” he said.

“I wanted to give other students a chance to show off their photography skills and have a nice activity to do at home, that was my motive.”

Ayman likes to take pictures “which have some illusion, some mystery to them; that makes people think about the picture”.

Submissions are open for students of UAE schools aged 11 to 18; Year 6 to 13. Pictures can be sent to