HIPA Awards – General category

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Harish Chavda’s image of the British athlete Dwain Chambers, winning a race he never expected to compete in, has won first prize for the General category at the HIPA photography awards in Dubai.

Taken at the UK Athletics Olympic trials in Birmingham in 2012, just a few months before the London Olympic Games, the picture offers the redemption and  controversy that has dogged the career of Chambers. The athlete, once regarded as the UK’s premier sprinter, was banned from competing in the Olympic Games, after he admitted using performance enhancing drugs.

That year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned his lifetime Olympic ban, deeming it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. After winning this race, in which he was considered a rank underdog, he competed in the 2012 London Olympics.


In second place is the Iranian photographer Ali Rajabi Shomali’s photograph of 6th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. Taken in January 2014, during one of the coldest winters in New York’s history, Shomali captured the city’s pedestrians determinedly crossing a road that is recognisable for its presence in countless American films. Although the traffic lights are red, and the weather weighs heavily on the colour and composition of the image, the New Yorkers’ will to get to where they need to be seems to embody the ceaseless intensity of the city.

Third prize goes to the Indonesian photographer Antonius Andre Tjiu for a photo taken in South Borneo, Indonesia. Tjiu managed to capture a crested serpent eagle, a specialist predator of snakes, in the moment of attack. “The snake knows that its best chance for survival lies in attacking the much larger eagle,” Tiju says.

In fourth, the French photographer Yvon Andre Pierre Buchmann takes the prize for his understated photo of a young man stood at a train station in the small French town of Bollwiller.

Taken in April 2011, from the perspective of a man confined to a wheelchair, and with a static clock clearly and crisply present by the rushing train, the photo is designed to capture the pressing choices we make in a life defined by time. “The standing man is caught in the conflicting scenarios as if to indicate that life will pass you by, if you don’t watch the time,” Buchmann says.

Jaime Singlador, from the Philippines, took fifth place with a picture of children in a ‘kawa’ bath, which is believed to have medicinal benefits. The image was taken in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, in a small town named Sitio Tuno, where locals run hot bath spas with medicinal plants and woods picked from the surrounding forest.

For information on how to enter HIPA 2015-2016, please visit HIPA’s website.

Tom Seymour

Tom Seymour is an Associate Editor at The Art Newspaper and an Associate Lecturer at London College of Communication. His words have been published in The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper* and The Telegraph. He has won Writer of the Year and Specialist Writer of the year on three separate occassions at the PPA Awards for his work with The Royal Photographic Society.