Photographers challenged to capture the spirit of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes, the popular photography competition is back after a five-year break, and is open to both amateurs and professionals.

Al Tasrieh by Roger Alfonso won the Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes photography competition in 2011. Photo by Roger Alfonso
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After a five-year hiatus, the popular photography competition, Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes, is back.

Open to amateurs and professionals, the competition is accepting creative contributions that capture the essence of the capital.

This broad remit means the competition offers an wide-open playing field and the organiser, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority, is encouraging submissions of all kinds of photography styles.

The competition aims to encourage residents to celebrate the city as they see it. This could be through the beauty of nature or architecture – or even through a portrait of a single person.

The question it poses is: “If you met someone who had never been here, what image could help you to describe the spirit of Abu Dhabi?”

Judging process

Before the entries reach the panel of judges, the submissions will be whittled down to a long list based on creativity, photographic quality, technical skills and the impact or emotion of the image. The judges will then choose the winning images.

The history

Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes was launched in 2008. The first edition attracted 2,000 entries from 55 nationalities.

Over the next three years, the contest grew in popularity, with a prize fund totalling Dh150,000 shared between 10 winners each year and a touring exhibition and a coffee-table book featuring the winners’ work.

The prizes for this year’s competition are yet to be announced.

Past editions

The latest edition of the competition, in 2011, attracted 11,006 entries from 83 nationalities.

The grand winner, Al Tasrieh by Roger Alfonso, was a sepia image of camels training on the racetrack, with dust clouds and birds in the distance making for an the atmospheric image that the judges loved.

The National's staff photographer Delores Johnson won second place with an image titled Keeping Traditions Alive, a close-up of an old woman's hand while weaving.

Other winning photographs include a paraglider over the desert taken by Lazlo Toth, young boys learning how to extract pearls from oysters by Abdullateef Al Marzooqi, and the sunrise over the city’s skyline in an image by Mochammad Andy Natawijaya.

How to enter

Simply visit and submit your image online. When you do so, you will be asked to explain the story behind the photo.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places, plus runners-up awards for the rest of the top 10. There will also be a student award with three prizes.

Visit for more information and to enter the competition. The closing date is May 31