The winners of the World’s Coolest Winter photography competition, which tasked entrants with capturing images of the UAE, have been announced.
Organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards in collaboration with the UAE Government Media Office, the competition was designed to highlight the UAE’s entertainment, culture and natural landmarks, and raise awareness of the variety of its tourism activities during the nation’s winter.
Running from December 20, 2021 to January 20, 2022, the competition attracted 2,176 participants from 89 countries, and more than 2,800 images were submitted.
It featured two main categories – One Photo, which was open to the public, and Portfolio, which was exclusive to professional photographers.
The One Photo competition featured five subcategories, each of which had its own winner. They were Maurizio Casula from Italy (Desert), Jason Balaba from the Philippines (Sea), Abdalla Mohamed Alraeesi from the UAE (Mountains), Khaled Alkindi from the UAE (Valleys) and Ajay Ghosh Ramachandran from India (Emirates from Above). Each was awarded Dh7,000.
The winners of the Portfolio competition’s four subcategories were Omar Almarzouqi from the UAE (In Your Eyes), Rahul Bansal from India (UAE Wildlife), Tittu Thomas from India (Faces from UAE) and Crisencio Bernabe from the Philippines (UAE Street Life). Each was awarded Dh50,000.
"The UAE’s nature, landscapes, society and culture are a model for beautifully synchronised diversity,” said Alia Al Hammadi, deputy chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office. “Its landmarks across the nation attract visitors and tourists from within and outside the UAE, and its scenery is a focal point for artists and creative geniuses."
On the panel of expert judges was photographer John Stanmeyer, whose work has been featured on 14 of National Geographic's covers and 18 Time magazine covers. Three-time Pulitzer and Emmy Award-winning photojournalist Barbara Davidson, and Shadi Nasri, who specialises in night photography, natural landscapes and fine art landscapes, were also on the panel.
Scroll through the gallery above to see the winning images