The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has announced the special award recipients for the sixth season of competition ‘The Challenge’. Veteran American photographer, Elliott Erwitt is set to be presented with the prestigious ‘Photography Appreciation Award’, while Omani arts foundation, Bait Al Zubair will receive the ‘Photography Research/Report Award’. Both winners will be presented with their accolades at the sixth annual HIPA Awards Ceremony on Wednesday the 15th of March 2017 at Dubai Opera.
Legendary photographer Erwitt, who was born in France in 1928 and has been a photographer for more than 60 years, follows a long line of photography heavyweights who have won HIPA’s ‘Photography Appreciation Award’. In recent years, industry greats such as REZA, Steve McCurry, Sebastião Salgado and Oscar Mitri have all been presented with the prestigious accolade at the HIPA Awards Ceremony in Dubai. Erwitt, who is also an acclaimed television producer, is well known for his photographs of 20th century icons such as Marilyn Munroe, Che Guevara and John F. Kennedy. To go with his varied photography career, he is also the author of over 30 books and to date continues to actively work in various photography related projects and initiatives. Some of his most prominent documentaries include; Beauty Knows No Pain (1971), Red White and Blue Grass (1973) sponsored with a grant from the American Film Institute and The Glass Makers of Herat (1977).
Elliot Erwitt, Portrait by Brian Smith, 2011 / Courtesy of HIPA
Commenting on receiving the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’, Elliott Erwitt said, “Many thanks to HIPA for the Photography Appreciation Award which I am honoured and delighted to accept. It is particularly pleasant to have this recognition at this stage of my long career in photography. Again, my grateful thanks to HIPA for this recognition and for promoting the art of photography universally.”
Meanwhile, HIPA’s ‘Photography Research/Report Award’ will be awarded to the ‘Bait Al Zubair Foundation, which started out as a private museum in Oman in 1998. The foundation was founded by His Excellency Mohammad Al Zubair, to enrich and encourage arts and photography amongst Oman’s society. One of Bait Al Zubair’s many great accomplishments is the diversity of the art and cultural publications it has published over the years. These include numerous stunning books dedicated to photography, which is at the heart of the foundation’s vision. Overall, the foundation has published over 10 photography books, many of which concentrate on Oman’s past whilst connecting it to the present day through stunning photography. Some of these books include Oman: My Beautiful Nation, Views of Dhofar, Mountains and Valleys of Oman and Window on Oman.
HE Mohammad Al Zubair / Courtesy of HIPA
HE Mohammad Al Zubair, Mountains and Wadis of Oman / Courtesy of HIPA
Bait Al Zubair’s General Manager, Dr Mohammed Alshahi acknowledged the organisation’s recognition by stating; “The Bait Al Zubair Foundation is deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award, which is also a first for an Omani arts and photography organisation. Our Foundation aims to continue promoting our mission of fostering and supporting Omani photographers to not only be recognised locally, but on an international level as well. This award will also encourage the foundation to continuously provide opportunities for talented artists in Oman and the region to reach unprecedented levels of excellence. With that being said, it is Bait Al Zubair’s hope to work closely with HIPA in the coming years to ensure that the art of photography can become a positive influence in the GCC and Middle East.”
Reflecting on the announcement of the two awards, the Secretary General of HIPA, His Excellency Ali bin Thalith said, “The beneficial value of what our special award recipients contributed to the art of photography is priceless in today’s day and age. It is our pleasure to bring to light the achievements of these great photographers and entities every year with the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ and the ‘Photography Research/Report Award’. I am sure that the photographic community around the world will continue to appreciate the achievements of these pioneers and be inspired to achieve similar feats in the future.”
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the sixth annual HIPA Awards Ceremony is set to take place on Wednesday the 15th of March 2017 at Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai at 7 pm (UAE Standard). Alongside the special awards recipients, the winners of HIPA’s sixth season competition will also be announced. Categories in HIPA’s sixth season of competition include, The Challenge which also serves as the theme of the competition, Digital Manipulation, General (Black and White), General (Colour) and Portfolio.