We speak to the Gulf winners of the region-wide photography competition.
Emiratis take second and third place in Photomentaries competition
Two Emiratis have been awarded in a region-wide photography competition, beating more than 30,000 entries to claim their prizes.
Mohamed Al Hashmi and Saeed Jumoh won second and third place, respectively, in the annual Photomentaries competition hosted by National Geographic Abu Dhabi (NGAD) and Almarai Company. NGAD is part of Abu Dhabi Media, which owns The National.
Their photographs were unveiled on Sunday at the Gulf Photo Plus gallery in Dubai's Alserkal Avenue alongside the winning entry from Khalid Al Sabt, a Saudi Arabian whose photo, Walking on the Palms of Destiny, depicts a camel being led across the ridge of sand dunes.
Al Sabt was awarded US$5,000 (Dh18,365) worth of photographic equipment and his image will be published in National Geographic Al Arabiya magazine.
The competition, which was launched in March, invited photographers in the Middle East to capture storytelling images under the theme of Celebrating Arab Culture. Entries came in from all over the Arab world, including Egypt and Sudan, but the winners were from the Gulf.
Al Hashmi, who captured an image of a fisherman tossing his net at sunset, won second prize and also took home $5,000 worth of photography equipment.
Jammouh, the third prize winner, was awarded $2,500 worth of equipment but he said the kudos of winning were far more important to him.
"The biggest prize for me is that I am a winner in a National Geographic competition," he says. "I have been a photographer for nine years and won several awards but now they are all in one hand and this prize is in the other. It is definitely the proudest moment for me."
Jumoh's image, Small Boat, is of an Emirati fisherman in a crudely crafted vessel rowing his way to his early morning fishing spot. It is part of a research project Jumoh is doing on traditional crafts of the UAE. "I like the kind of atmosphere produced by the lighting during what we call the golden hour, at sunrise or sunset," he says. "I also used off-camera flash to achieve the effects in my shot."
The competition was judged by National Geographic Al Arabiya Magazine's editor-in-chief Mohamed Al Hammadi, the long-time National Geographic photographer Joe McNally and Hussam Abdulqader, the head of communications and public relations with Almarai.
"There is a lot of artistic talent in the Middle East region and I am proud to have had the opportunity to experience it," says McNally. "Congratulations go to Khalid Al Sabt - his entry stood out as being of true National Geographic calibre, among some exemplary submissions."
Rohit D'Silva, the senior vice president and general manager (Middle East & North Africa) for NGAD, says: "The response to the Photomentaries 2013 competition has once again proved the strong brand association between National Geographic and outstanding photography. I would like to congratulate this year's winner and runners-up, and thank all of the photographers who participated in the competition."
Photomentaries 2013 is on display at Gulf Photo Plus until July 20
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