Emirati wins US$100,000 grand prize at UAE photography awards

Photographer Osama Al Zubeidi won the grand prize at last night's Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed International Photography Awards.

DUBAI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - 18MAR2013 -  Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai presents the grand prize trophy to Osama al Zubeidi (L) of UAE in Beauty of Lights catgory in Hamdan International Photography Awards yesterday in Dubai.  Ravindranath K / The National
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DUBAI //Emirati photographer Osama Al Zubeidi won the prestigious grand prize last night at the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed International Photography Awards.

He was one of several photographers from around the world to win accolades at the world's richest photography competition, held at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Mr Al Zubeidi took up photography as a hobby in 2006 but had also received local recognition for his work, winning his first award in 2011 - the third prize at the Abu Dhabi "Through Your Eyes" photography competition.

Of his latest award, the US$100,000 (Dh367,000) grand prize, he said: "To be honest, I did not expect to win given the huge number of entries. I only thought my photos will pass the judging stage. I really worked hard to choose the best photos to submit for each category."

He said he hoped the awards, now in their second year, would grow to show more characteristics of the UAE.

"I would like to see the categories in the future to focus more on the Emirates in aspects such as culture, architecture and economy."

Other UAE winners in the competition, which awarded US$389,000 overall, included Alaa Al Mutawa, Omar Al Zaabi and Abdulaziz bin Ali, who won first prize in the Beauty of Light category for his depiction of a mountainous desert landscape.

Ms Al Mutawa was the competition's only female winner.

Mr bin Ali is currently studying photography at Ajman University of Science and Technology.

With more than 19,000 entries from 121 countries, he said the victory was a surprise.

"I did not expect to be a winner this season because of the large number of entrants into the award."

Jingsheng Nie, from China, was the overall international winner in the Beauty of Light Category.