It appears, Dubai is fast becoming a photography capital of the world.
The fourth season of HIPA Awards and celebration has brought the best photography crowd into the city, and it appears, this is going to continue in the years to come.
When HIPA announced the names of special prizes, I was perhaps more excited than the people at HIPA themselves. The awarded photographers – Scott Kelby and Sebastiao Salgado – were people whom I have followed online for a long time, listened to them talk on videos or have read what they have written about photography in length. While Scott Kelby has helped a great deal in the way I approach processing images and see the end product, Sebastiao Salgado has been an inspiration in thinking beyond the existing boundaries, think really big and work towards making them happen. A possibility of being able to meet them was an excitement sufficient to be in Dubai. Being part of the award ceremony was one step higher than excitement.
I did get a chance to have a brief conversation with Kelby during the award evening on the 16th. Unfortunately, Salgado wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony. But what I missed in meeting Salgado and perhaps hear him say a few things in Duabi was made up by listening to Reza Deghati, veteran photojournalist with National Geographic. Yesterday evening, Reza spoke in length about how photography can change the world and on his own endevour to improve the lives of refugees from around the world, especially middle east, through photography. His works have had remarkable effect in bringing change to suffering people. Reza spoke passionately, as he mentioned how, in one of his project, he helped reunite more than 3,000 children with their parents in Africa through photography. He stressed in working towards helping others, with a touching example of how the extended hand can often come back to you with equal empathy in the hour of need. He spoke at length about his dangerous encounters around the world as he photographed conflict, and spending time with Ahmad Shah Massoud and Yasser Arafat. His speech, as much as his works, is inspirational enough to make everyone pack their cameras and leave home!
The day before Reza’s talk, HIPA awards ceremony was a gala event that unfolded in Dubai International Financial Center on a grand stage with brilliant performances and extraordinary visuals. The grand prize winner of the 4th season was Anurag Kumar from Delhi.
It was a moment that was a mix of both pride and humbling feeling for me to receive the 1st prize in this year’s primary category – ‘Life in Colour’.
And below is the image for which the award was granted.
I would like to thank HIPA for this award, and for bringing so many amazing photographers in one platform.
In this moment, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to my journey in photography, which is a very large set of people of various backgrounds who have touched me and helped me in a many ways, be it encouraging the journey, assisting me in the journey, being part of the journey, being mentors in person or from a distance through online medias or by becoming subjects to my camera.
It is both an honour and a privilege to be part of HIPA 4th season awards.