Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion shot wins at prestigious Siena International Photo Awards

Muhammad Almasri's 'Joker Smile', of the eye-catching Kazakhstan architecture, has bagged a top prize

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The Moon hovers over a dip in the striking Kazakhstan Pavilion, which is covered in polka dots, from Expo 2020 Dubai. The shot, called Joker Smile, was taken in the UAE by Jordanian photographer Muhammad Almasri and has ranked first in the Architecture & Urban Spaces category for the Siena International Photo Awards 2022.

"It is said that buildings are lifeless subjects," reads the photograph's description. "However, as an architectural photographer, the author thinks it is exactly the opposite. The title of this image tells a different story: the one of a polka-dot building with a smiling roof. The Moon completes the face of this brick Joker."

Almasri has amassed 32 international awards for his work before, but never ranked in first place, so he was overjoyed with the accolade. "Now, officially, a person from the city of Zarqa becomes the first Arab to win the title of best architectural photographer in the world at the Siena International Photo Awards," he captioned a photo, in Arabic, announcing his achievement on Instagram.

"Winning the first place in a competition that is known to be difficult and which awards the Oscars in the world of photography is like climbing and reaching Mount Everest summit to me," he said. "I dedicate this award to the hero of my life, my dear father, may God have mercy on him."

Almasri is one of a handful of winners of the global contest, which was first established in 2015 in Italy, for professional, amateur and student photographers from around the world. It is judged by an international panel of experts, including well-known photographers, editors and photography collectors.

Scroll through the gallery above to see all winners of the Siena International Photo Awards 2022

The overall winner is Woman From Evia, by Greek photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis, taken on the second largest island in Greece. The shot captures the desperate look of Kritsiopi Panayiota, 81, as flames approach her home during forest fires that hit the country in the summer last year, causing extensive damage.

The image was selected from among tens of thousands sent by people from 140 countries and is being displayed alongside winning shots from the other 12 categories until November 20 in Siena, a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region.

Winning images from the Creative Photo Awards and Drone Photo Awards are also being shown, as well as a solo exhibition of the late Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui, who was killed in July last year while documenting the combat between Afghan troops and the Taliban, plus a display of the work of American photographers Ami Vitale, Dan Winters and Peter Mather.

This year, Winters won Siena International Photo Awards' Fascinating Faces and Characters category for his shot of Angelina Jolie covered in bees, which was featured in National Geographic to promote the actress's initiative for World Bee Day. To attract the bees, Jolie's body was sprinkled with the queen bee pheromone and she remained still for 18 minutes without being stung.

In Journeys & Adventures, photographer Rahat Bin Mustafiz bagged the top prize for his photo Work, taken at Nagarbari Ghat, one of the most important river ports in Bangladesh. Imports of fertiliser, cereal, coal and cement pass through the port and the salaries of those who work there are dependent on the number of bags transported.

These stunning aerial shots are the winners of the 2022 Drone Photo Awards — in pictures

Updated: October 03, 2022, 9:27 AM
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