AU$169,000 up for grabs in the world's richest photo contest

HIPA Announces new DIversity theme
(Image credit: HIPA / Eirik Gronningsaeter)

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) is the world's richest photography competition, awarding a staggering six-figure grand prize to the winner, generously funded by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. 

The award is free to enter and aims to encourage and spread the culture of photography across the entire world, with the latest announcement from the organizers revealing that the theme for the twelfth season will be Diversity. 

Bird shot wins big bucks in the HIPA Nature competition (opens in new tab)

The twelfth and latest season of the HIPA world-renowned photography awards will open for entries beginning 01 April, 2023 via the official contest website (opens in new tab), and will again feature four main categories for budding photographers to enter free of charge, with ‘Diversity’ serving as the main overall theme for this edition.

Other categories will include General (Color and Black & White), Portfolio (Story-Telling), as well as a new category, ‘Digital Art’, which will supposedly be a visual opportunity for digital artists to demonstrate technology capabilities. Although, this may be a concern regarding the uprising of AI-generated photography (opens in new tab) and associated copyright leading to bans across the industry (opens in new tab) of these images. 

The Secretary General of HIPA, Ali Bin Thalith, has said that the new category will provide an opportunity with aims "to present works enhanced with meaning and nuances that boosted the overall work of art." The announcement also stated that what is meant by Digital Art involves enhancing your photograph digitally, so perhaps this situates outside of AI imagery and fits more into post-production.

The grand prize awarded to the winning photographer as well as international exposure is an astounding $120,000 (approximately £98,000 / AU$169,000), which is open to everyone participating in any of the four categories.

British photographer Henly Spiers won last year's $120,000 HIPA contest with this underwater shot of a diving gannet (Image credit: Henley Spiers / HIPA)

Duty’ by Ary Bassous (Brazil), the Grand Winner of ‘Humanity’ - which was the theme for the 2020 contest (Image credit: © Ary Bassous)

Ali Bin Thalith, Secretary General of the awards has also stated that “HIPA has been working on developing its knowledge and skills in order to continue achieving its vision of spreading the culture of photography. Our aim is to highlight the progressiveness of civilization and the evident bridges of communication between nations and cultures through the language of photography through the support of our communities around the world."

He further expands that, “Developments in global events are among the main drivers for prioritizing issues of concern to the public – both on an artistic and cultural level. From this standpoint, HIPA’s Board of Trustees chose the theme ‘Diversity’ as a crucial and culturally necessary topic in the global scene."

Continuing, "It is a platform for coexistence and the guiding principle of tolerance, acceptance of others, and appreciation of differences. The arts play a crucial role in improving the quality of human communication and confront the topics that counter the prosperity of civilization, such as extremism and racism, amongst others.”

(Image credit: HIPA / Lim Chien Ting)
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A statement from the announcement of the new theme states that 'The photo that perfectly captures the artistic aspect of ‘Diversity’ translates and evokes a response from the audience. It is one that brings to reality the wonders of the world we live in, highlighting how different yet similar we all are as we share a kindred purpose."

The Awards have additional categories which are invitation-only to enter, and these include the Photography Appreciation Award, Photography Content Creator Award, and the Emerging Person/Organization in Photography Award.

Are you up to the challenge of capturing diversity through photography? Can you create digital art? Submissions to the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award will close at midnight on 30 June 2023 (UAE Standard Time).

You may also be interested in the best lenses for portraits (opens in new tab), as well as the best drawing tablets for photo editing (opens in new tab). Take a look at the best stylus for iPads and iPhones (opens in new tab), and not forgetting How to master black-and-white photography (opens in new tab).

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.