The winners of the 4th season of the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) have been announced at the 4th annual awards ceremony under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. The Ceremony took place on March 16, 2015 at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

HIPA once again proved its place as the best and most prestigious photography award in the world. With a grand prize of $120,000 and an overall prize pool of $400,000, the categories for the 4th season of HIPA are ‘Life in Colour’ (which also serves as the main theme), ‘General’, ‘Faces (Black & White)’ and ‘Night Photography’.

Here are the Winners of all Categories

GRAND AWARD - $120,000

Anurag Kumar, India

image HIPA Grand Award - Anurag Kumar, India / Courtesy of HIPA

Each year, India witnesses an unprecedented wave of vibrancy and colour during Holi, the festival of colours, celebrated throughout the country. Anurag Kumar could have taken the photo restricted to a red and yellow affair, had it not been for the man throwing a handful of blue powder which made all the difference. The seated people in the photo, seem to be letting the barrage of colours layer them, which adds to the uniqueness of this photograph.


1st Place - Aruna Bhat, India - $25,000

image 1st Place - Aruna Bhat, India / Courtesy of HIPA

Aruna Bhat took this photograph in Ki Gompa, a monastery of Tibetan Buddhists in the Indian Himalayas. Every evening, the young monks of the temple are given time off to play in an open area nearby. These young monks, in their richly coloured robes, manifest the true meaning of enthusiasm and cheerfulness, as a contrast to greyness of the walls behind them.

2nd Place - Zhang Xiangli, China - $20,000

image 2nd Place - Zhang Xiangli, China / Courtesy of HIPA

Zhang Xiangli took this photograph of Asian paradise flycatchers in the village of Sha Tin, Jiangxi province, China. It shows two adult (male and female) Asian paradise flycatchers feeding their chicks on a small tree branch. The pale coloured chicks are seen to be vulnerable and weak while the colourful flycatchers resemble life and hope, epitomising ‘Life in Colour’.

3rd Place - Zeki Yavuzak, Turkey - $15,000

image 3rd Place - Zeki Yavuzak, Turkey / Courtesy of HIPA

In Aydin, Turkey, red peppers, eggplants and zucchinis are string-dried in the summer in preparation for the cold winter months. Women, teenagers and children work this delicate and careful job as a way of earning extra money in the summer, a common practice in that part of the country. The girl in the photograph is a local high school student who works this job as a means of helping her family as well as saving money for the school year ahead. Zeki Yavuzak told to us that the photo was taken just before the sunset when everyone on the market was gone and this girl who has been working all day long was only one left. The red colour around her combined with the warmth of her smile unify the moment and make this photo so joyful and memorable.

4th Place - Mujeeb Kizhakkechalil, India - $12,000

image 4th Place - Mujeeb Kizhakkechalil, India / Courtesy of HIPA

Mujeeb Kizhakkechalil explained to us that he was actually photographing other children when he turned around and saw this young boy. This picture comes alive because of the varied colours of the flags lined above the young monk, as he tries to touch one of them. This does not only capture his emotions, but also the vibrancy of the shades which are reflecting the innocence of the young monk’s face. The simplicity of the photograph is fitting of the young monk who is overjoyed during his playing time and it reminds us that the smallest things can sometimes help us attain happiness.

5th Place - Fabrizio Moglia, Italy - $10,000

image 5th Place - Fabrizio Moglia, Italy / Courtesy of HIPA

Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula has some of the richest salmon runs in the Pacific, especially in the national wildlife preserve, Kurile Lake. Since the dawn of time, red salmon has been the basic food for the Kamchatka brown bear. Fabrizio Moglia shared with us what was the feeling to be several meters away from the bear with no additional masking or protection and to be able to capture this stunning moment. He captured the big Russian bear going about its regular meal. The casual look in bear's eyes is in sharp contrast to the victim, the salmon, which flaps its colourful tail-end as if saluting life, for this is its destiny.


1st Place - Harish Chavda, United Kingdom - $15,000

image 1st Place - Harish Chavda, United Kingdom / Courtesy of HIPA

Harish Chavda told us about the moment when this photo was taken. Dwain Chambers (Right) was not considered to be one of the favourites at the UK Athletics Olympic trials in Birmingham, so other photographers were tracking other athletes. Chavda had a hunch that this race mighty be the 'come-back' moment for Dwain Chambers and he focused on him. As Dwain crossed the line, it dawned on him that he as an underdog had ripped through popular expectations. His roar and the twitch of every single muscle on his upper body reflected the triumph within. He was "back in the game".

2nd Place - Ali Rajabi Shomali, Iran - $12,000

image 2nd Place - Ali Rajabi Shomali, Iran / Courtesy of HIPA

This photo was taken on 6th Ave in Manhattan, New York City in January 2014. Ali Rajabi Shomali told us that the photo was taken in the afternoon when he captured walking pedestrians as they crossed the road in freezing conditions. Although the red lights and cold weather indicate inactivity, the crossing pedestrians and their will to get to where they need to be, indicates the exact opposite.

3rd Place - Antonius Andre Tjiu, Indonesia - $10,000

image 3rd Place - Antonius Andre Tjiu, Indonesia / Courtesy of HIPA

In the animal kingdom, the struggle to survive is apparent, to live you must kill. Antonius Andre Tjiu took this photo in South Borneo in Indonesia freezing the moment when the crested serpent eagle, a specialist reptile eater, is attacking the snake, curled in defence, knowing that its best chance for survival lies in attacking the much larger eagle. Looking at the photo we can speculate about who won the game of life and death and the photographer explains that it was the eagle that eventually conquered the snake.

4th Place - Yvon Andre Pierre Buchmann, France - $8,000

image 4th Place - Yvon Andre Pierre Buchmann, France / Courtesy of HIPA

Yvon Andre Pierre Buchmann took this photo in April 2011 at a train station in the small French town of Bollwiller. The photographer shared with us that this photo is actually a part of a series of 20 photographs dealing with the same theme and that this image was first imagined by him and then he went into quest and searched for the right place and waited for the right moment. The clock in the station is symbolic of static time as opposed to the passing train which can symbolize the speed of time. The standing man is caught in the conflicting scenarios as if to indicate that the train of life will pass you by, if you don’t watch the time.

5th Place - Jaime Singlador, Philippines - $6,000

image 5th Place - Jaime Singlador, Philippines / Courtesy of HIPA

Jaime Singlador explained the photo that shows children enjoying an afternoon dip at the kawa hot bath, which is actually a big wok, fuelled with dried woods and sprinkled with organic leaves, believed by the locals to have medicinal benefits. In the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, there is a small town named SitioTuno where the locals set up hot bath spas with medicinal plants picked from the surrounding forest. The excitement on the children’s faces as they bathe in hot bath is matched by the green and blue colours around them, creating a pristine feel to the photograph.


1st Place - Rudoi Vladimirovich, Russian-Federation - $15,000

image 1st Place - Rudoi Vladimirovich, Russian-Federation / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph was taken inside a photography studio and is of a young girl named Stella-Maria. With her deep stare, Stella-Maria is able to captivate the viewer through her innocence and youth, whilst being presented in classic black and white colours. The shadow covering part of Stella-Maria’s face also adds to the intrigue in this young lady. Her natural face and look is a testament to the beauty of the photograph taken.

2nd Place - Kenneth Geiger, United-States - $12,000

image 2nd Place - Kenneth Geiger, United-States / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph is a reflection of innocence, beauty, helplessness and revolt. In 1989, the ethnic Burmese ‘Mon’ army was made up of 3000 soldiers, including 100 women fighters. This photo was captured at one of the Mon checkpoints at the end of a winding dirt road, featuring this serious staring 20-year-old Ma Ngua, her cheeks covered with powder to protect her beauty while an M-16 rifle is beside her to protect her post. Kenneth Geiger told us that the girl was fixed on her post and staring at him, not avoiding the eye contact but also with no reaction to him taking the photo. He took several photos and her expression was exactly the same as if she was frozen in time. The reality in which she was guarding her post was the only thing that mattered to her.

3rd Place - Chi Hung Cheung, Hong-Kong - $10,000

image 3rd Place - Chi Hung Cheung, Hong-Kong / Courtesy of HIPA

Chi Hung Cheung took this photo on a cold February morning, at the time of Chinese new year, in Huangnan, China. This photo shows three old women, each carrying a warm cup of buttered tea whilst talking and laughing. The impact of the picture lays in the warmth of the women’s smiles as well the warmth emanating from their tea, which appears to engulf their friendship and happiness.

4th Place - Ali Zohari, United Arab Emirates - $8,000

image 4th Place - Ali Zohari, United Arab Emirates / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph is of an old Vietnamese lady, who had been living near a mountain range for many years, watching tourists come and go. The wrinkles on her gracefully shaped face feel like pathways leading to various stories from her life, many of which are filled with simplicity and wisdom. Despite her old age, her face offers optimism and hope. The window behind her depicts that there is still enough light in her life for some more pathways to be explored.

5th Place - Xyza Dela Cruz Bacani, Philippines - $6,000

image 5th Place - Xyza Dela Cruz Bacani, Philippines / Courtesy of HIPA

This candid portrait of a child behind a translucent glass window in Hong Kong stands out because of the transparent strip that runs across. It is in that strip that the power of the photo lies with the girl’s eyes clearly looking at something she is seeing for the first time at her tender age. Her gape adds to the curiosity and innocence while her hands try to push through the window to explore the unknown beyond.


1st Place - Peng Li, China - $15,000

image 1st Place - Peng Li, China / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph was taken of an ancient Chinese ‘Diaojiaolou’ house in the town of Fenghuang, located near the Tuojiang River in Hunan province. Diaojiaolous are often used as hotels or restaurants in Hunan province, due to their great charm and beauty. As the night falls, countless red lanterns provide light inside the Diaojiaolou, giving a priceless and surreal view of past and present in one photograph. Peng Li pointed out that all those rooms are actually restaurants and that people are oblivious of the presence of others in the room next to them and all of them were complete unaware of the presence of photographer admiring and framing the whole image from the outside.

2nd Place - Ho Sung Wee, Malaysia - $12,000

image 2nd Place - Ho Sung Wee, Malaysia / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph captures Sulphuric fire fishing, an ancient and eco-friendly way of fishing near Jinshan, Taiwan. Fishermen add water to Sulphur soil to produce acetylene, which is used to produce light that attracts Harengula fish, which in turn begin jumping out of the water. The rush hour in the sea amid the excitement of seeing the fire, is indeed a timeless frame.

3rd Place - Nguyễn Minh Tân, Vietnam - $10,000

image 3rd Place - Nguyễn Minh Tân, Vietnam / Courtesy of HIPA

This photograph captures the rush hour when the crossing of street became a dynamic hot spot. The colourful lights show movement in different directions. The town is alive and it is almost like a well organized symphony. Every car, every passenger and every person in the frame is like a note working together to bring harmony into traffic chaos.

4th Place - Alexandre Buisse, France - $8,000

image 4th Place - Alexandre Buisse, France / Courtesy of HIPA

This photo was taken in January 2014 at the Lau Bij climb in the Cogne Valley of the Gran Paradiso Park, in Italy’s Aosta valley. The beautiful medium of ice combines really well with the flash photography, showcasing the transparency of the deep blue colours of the ice, as well as the athleticism of the climbers. The unique textures of the ice along with the splash of blue and the amazing depth of field sums up the two men conquering nature’s might and the one (photographer) capturing it.

5th Place - Daniel Cheong, France - $6,000

image 5th Place - Daniel Cheong, France / Courtesy of HIPA

Daniel Cheong took this photo at the Address Hotel in the Dubai Marina. The building’s façade is made of glass and is very reflective which created a powerful ‘vertigo’ view. The biggest visual impact of this photograph is the sense of disorientation upon seeing it for the first time. The surrounding cityscape and vertigo view of the building creates a sense of confusion for a viewer and one may need to look at the photograph more than once to fully understand it.

Click to see the images and the video from the HIPA Award Ceremony.

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