Winners of the “Moments” Awards are announced
Zahra Alqatari’s photograph portraying a man weaving a basket from palm leaves captured the hearts of the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Moments Awards judging panel, earning the Saudi national the honour of first place in the regional photography competition. The competition, presented by Almarai, invited photographers from around the region to submit their images under the theme ‘Story of Faces and Arabic Crafts’.
As the creator of the winning entry, Alqatari will receive an 11-day National Geographic expedition to Spain and Portugal, in addition to USD 10,000 worth of photography equipment.
“I am so proud to have won a National Geographic photography competition,” said Alqatari. “Choosing a single image from my portfolio was difficult, but I am very thankful for choosing the right one. The feeling of winning is indescribable, as the mere association with National Geographic is a huge prize in itself. I think that my photograph met the contest’s criteria by embodying the face and talent of an Arab craftsman, a diver in this case, in a very artistic and symbolic manner. The tone of the image and the surrounding lighting were successful too, with a special focus on the subject and his working environment.”
National Geographic photographer, Laura El-Tantawy, chose the winning entry with fellow judging panel participants Alsaad Omar Almenhali, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Al Arabiya, and Hussam Abdulqader, Head of Communications and PR, Almarai Company.
“The standard of entries was incredibly high, making the judging process a difficult one,” said El-Tantawy. “Zahra’s photograph stood out because of its emotional value and technical competence. It captured the essence of the competition’s theme and had the feel of a National Geographic photograph.”
Dhafer Alshahry, also from Saudi Arabia, came second with his image of a man from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia spinning wool. Oman resident Nasr Mubarak’s photograph of Uncle Khalifa, a traditional carpet maker, earned him third place. They received USD 7,500 and USD 5,000 worth of photography equipment, respectively.
Almenhali said: “The images we saw confirmed the participants’ pursuit to exceed the ordinary. I was fascinated by the persistence of some photographers to highlight the human cultural dimension of the subject, which was evident through the creative angles and the looks on the artisans’ faces, that really demonstrated the deep relationship between them and their work. It was exciting to see a lady win first place; this is particularly significant for me and pleased me. Photography is clearly growing in popularity in the Arab world, and we encourage more people in the region to use their cameras to explore their creative abilities.”
Abdulqader said: “At Almarai, we are committed to nurturing Arab talent and providing a supportive environment in which they can expand their creative capabilities. We are pleased to have partnered with National Geographic Abu Dhabi on this project for the second year, and look forward to further encouraging talented Arabs to pursue and perfect their abilities.”
“The National Geographic Abu Dhabi Moments Awards attracted a significant number of entries this year, with 13,673 contestants going head-to-head for the chance to win this truly remarkable prize,” said Athreyan Sundararajan, Head of Marketing, National Geographic Abu Dhabi. “Our annual photography competition reinforces the parallel between National Geographic and outstanding photography, while encouraging regional talent. We would like to congratulate Zahra and our runners-up, and thank Almarai for once again partnering with us to support the growth of the Arab world’s creative potential.”