How does winning $120,000 sound? That’s the top prize on offer in this year’s Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA), the world’s richest photography competition.
And that’s not all. With so much money on offer for the top prize, it is unsurprising to hear the contest has a huge total prize pot of $400,000, so even if you don’t win first place you could still walk away with several thousand dollars in prize money.
This year’s overarching theme is ‘Life in Colour’, a subject that allows entrants to “explore an array of exciting avenues”. Themes in previous years have included ‘Creating the Future’, ‘Beauty of Light’ and ‘Love of the Earth’.
Sub-categories this year include ‘Life in Colour’, ‘General’, ‘Faces’ and ‘Night Photography’. The latter three categories offer $15,000 for first place, $12,000 for second, $10,000 for third, $8,000 for fourth and $6,000 for fifth place. The ‘Life in Colour’ sub-category presents an even more attractive option to entrants, with $25,000 up for grabs for first place, $20,000 for second, $15,000 for third, $12,000 for fourth and $10,000 for fifth place.
There are also two invitation-only special categories. The Photography Appreciation Award has a prize value of $20,000 and is for an individual or group showing “long-standing commitment to enhancing the art of photography”.
The second special prize is the Photographic Research/Report Award, which aims to “celebrate research which reaches excellence in the field of photography”. It has a prize value of $25,000. Last year’s winners of the special prizes were Steve McCurry and Dr. Ren Ng.
Founded in 2011, the HIPA prize aims to “build man” by “developing and honing his skills and pushing his ambitions to new horizons where excellence and distinction in the field of photography have no limits”.
Last year’s grand prize winner was Fuyang Zhou, whose striking shot of a rudimentary schoolroom scene in a rural district of his native China was deemed to be the perfect representation of the contest’s theme of ‘Creating the Future’.
The 2013-2014 edition of the competition saw over 26,000 candidates from 156 different countries take a shot at the prize, with 38,203 images being submitted. That’s up from just over 4,000 entrants in 2011, the first year of the competition’s existence.
The closing date of this year’s competition is midnight on 31 December 2014. For further details, visit the HIPA website: www.hipa.ae/en