Capturing fleeting moments of joy is one of the most rewarding aspects of photography, so it seems inevitable that the main theme for the fifth season of the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (or HIPA) is Happiness.
With a total prize pool of $400,000 and a Grand Prize of $120,000 the award is a career-changing opportunity for any photographer. Last year’s competition (themed Life in Colour) involved 30,878 participants from 166 countries submitting a total of 60,162 photographs.
To ensure more photographers receive recognition, the award is divided into four categories, with winners and four runners-up in each category receiving prize money.. Happiness, in their words, the “main pursuit of humanity,” is the premier category, with the winner receiving $25,000.
The Wildlife category aimed at “those who thrive on capturing hard-to-get instances that cannot be repeated, to deliver the excitement and thrill of wildlife whether on land, in the air or sea.
The Father & Son category touches on a bond not often demonstrated in photography, and HIPA hope to find new expressions of “one of the most beautiful and intriguing bonds in human life”.
The General category is intentionally broad, intended to inspire photographers with their own sense of artistic drive, who require no external direction.
HIPA also recognises the efforts of the photographic community with their Special Awards. The Photography Appreciation Award is given to a person, group or team who “have shown a long-standing commitment to enhancing the art of photography.” In previous years, celebrated photographers Steve McCurry and Sebastião Salgado have been honoured for their invaluable contributions to the medium.
The Photographic Research/Report Award aims to enhance the ever-developing research field “invaluable in helping mankind create the future and advance knowledge and capabilities,” and has previously been won by Ren Ng, founder of Lytro and Scott Kelby, editor and co-founder of Photoshop User magazine.
The brainchild of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the award is dedicated to encouraging photographic excellence from around the world, as well as promoting the burgeoning industry of arts and culture flourishing in Dubai. Launched in 2011, the award is completely free of charge, with no fees involved. Submissions close 31st December 2015 – apply now for the chance to win one of the most generous prizes in photography.