UAE photographer wins Sony National Award for Moroccan horse festival shot

Artists from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt also bagged top gongs

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Oday Shanshal, a photographer from the UAE, has won a national award at the Sony World Photography Awards 2023 for his shot, Knights.

Knights on top of horses ride through the Moroccan desert in a festival that took place in November. The picture was taken using a slow shutter speed, while panning the camera to follow the movement of the riders.

He's only one of a few winners from the Middle East and North Africa who bagged their respective national gongs, with horses being a major theme in their photos.

Scroll through the gallery above to see images from this year's winners and more

Confident, by Abdulla Al-Mushaifri from Qatar, is the picture of a young "knight" demonstrating his horsemanship in Oman, while looking at the assembled photographers waiting to capture him.

Abdelrahman Gabr, from Egypt, shot Anna, a kitesurfer who loves horses, for his image, The Horse Rider, a portrait of the woman and her steed at a beach in El Gouna, where she spends most of her time training.

People were also a focus, as Saudi Arabia's Mansour Mohsen, for example, won for his shot of a girl in traditional dress from the kingdom.

Elena Georgiou, meanwhile, from Cyprus, turned the lens on humans and architecture with her image, The Girl with the Red Hat, which shows a little girl walking through Eleftheria Square in Nicosia, a building designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

Turning his focus to natural wonders, Erhan Coral, from Turkey, was inspired by the famous hot springs at Guroymak, Bitlis, which maintain a temperature of about 40°C year round, even when the outside temperature is as low as -14°C.

The National Awards are part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2023. The programme was set up by the World Photography Organisation and Sony in order to support local photography communities across the world.

A total of 55 countries took part this year, whittled down from more than 415,000 images being submitted from more than 200 destinations, 200,000 of which were sent for the Open competition. New this year are four Regional Awards, set up for regions in Europe.

All National Award winners get Sony digital imaging equipment and will be included in the Sony World Photography Awards book and exhibition, alongside the winners of the Student, Youth, Open and Professional competitions. The exhibition will take place at Somerset House in London from April 14 to May 1.

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Updated: February 07, 2023, 11:57 AM