x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sick Children, but a healthy competition

Picture of Turkish orphan wins top Dh50,000 prize at photo contest.

Turkish photojournalist H Tahir Ozgur poses with Sick Children, which won him Dh50,000 at the Emirates Photography Competition yesterday.
Turkish photojournalist H Tahir Ozgur poses with Sick Children, which won him Dh50,000 at the Emirates Photography Competition yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Arab photographers dominated last night's Emirates Photography Competition, although it was a Turkish photojournalist, H Tahir Ozgur, who scooped the top prize.

Ozgur's black and white photo of a sick orphan from the Black Sea region of Turkey, Sick Children, won him Dh50,000.

"I don't know much about Arab photographers," said the 48-year-old, through a translator. "They don't enter enough international competitions. But, from now, I will follow them more closely."

Mr Ozgur was one of 8,000 photographers worldwide who entered the competition, and one of 1,689 shortlisted. More than 14,998 images taken in 134 countries were submitted and more than Dh500,000 handed out in prize money.

The competition director Bader al Nomani was particularly happy with this year's entries from Arab photographers, saying they were continuing to improve and deserved to be recognised on an international level.

It was the sixth year the competition, organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach), has been held.

This year's theme - Black and White through Creative Eye - was chosen in celebration of the noted American photographer, Ansel Adams, who died in 1984. Adams is best remembered for his black and white images of Yosemite National Park.

There were several other categories, not all of which required the images to be in black and white. Categories included still life and abstract, wildlife, people at work, and sport.

The competition is part of Adach's drive to make the Emirates a hub for regional and international photographers.

This year several categories were added, including the Noor Ali Rashid award for the best Emirati photographer.

Noor Ali Rashid, the royal photographer for the late founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, died less than a year ago at the age of 80. The noted photojournalist is believed to have taken more than three million pictures, from the UAE's Ruling family through to visiting dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela.

Maitha bin Khalid, a 23-year-old professional photographer who took home Dh30,000 for her photo project Transitions, said it was an honour to win the new category.

"The quality from the other Emirati photographers was really amazing, and very high quality," she said.

Her project centred on the relationship between Bedouins and the wind, she said.

"The photo series describes the life of the Bedouin, and how the wind is like the Bedouin," said Ms Khalid. "The Bedouin move from one place to another, as does the wind."

The new category was also an honour for Shamsa Noor Ali Rashid, the former royal photographer's daughter. Ms Rashid, who has nearly completed transferring all of her father's photographs to digital formats, was impressed by the picture chosen for the award.

"It was so simple, yet so stunning," Ms Rashid said.

zalhassani@thenational.ae