Three photographers will be honoured with special awards from the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) for its 7th edition, it was announced on Monday.
This season will feature three special awards with the ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ and ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ joining the existing ‘Photography Appreciation Award’.
Ali Bin Thalith, Secretary-General of HIPA, said the special award recipients had in their own way contributed massively to the art form and industry and were very deserving of their respective accolades.
American photojournalist and five-time winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal, James Nachtwey, is set to be presented with the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ for his outstanding services to photography throughout his career. Nachtwey had put his own life on the line countless times to document world events with his camera.
“James is a veteran of the industry whose insurmountable passion and drive to deliver stunning photography resulted in many near-death experiences in various frontlines around the world. He is a role model for all photojournalists,” Bin Thalith said.
Nachtway will be joined by fellow American photographer and environmental activist James Balog, who will be presented with the ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ for his efforts in highlighting some of humanity’s biggest issues today through photography.
A pioneer in the world of environmental awareness, Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is a ground-breaking method of observing the effects of global warming using time-lapse photography.
“Methodical and intricate, it is James’ photographic eye which has perhaps helped him better bring climate-change to the fore of the world’s attention,” Bin Thalith said of Balog.
Meanwhile, the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ will go to the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Mohammad Muheisen, who is the former Associated Press Chief Photographer for the Middle East and current National Geographic photographer.
Commenting on the award he received from HIPA, James Nachtwey recalled why he became a photographer in the first place — to document wars through pictures.
“In no other circumstance is so much at stake for so many people [than in wars]. The consequences of war affect hundreds of thousands of people in such deep and tragic ways that they shape the course of history for generations,” Nachtwey said.
The veteran photographer said what drove him to take pictures was the idea that a picture that revealed the face of war could become a kind of intervention.
The other award recipient, James Balog, said making images is a vital part of how the human race perceives the world since humanity has been drawing pictures for “many tens of thousands of years in an effort to turn inchoate perception into concrete reality.”
“So often, our work is solitary. Too often, our work takes us to the limits of emotional or physical or creative endurance. It is so necessary then, that every so often, through communion with like-minded people like our friends at HIPA, we get a chance to pause, to celebrate our shared interest, to smile.”
HIPA’s ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ recipient Mohammad Muheisen said it was his belief that the real recognition for photojournalists came when their work went out to the wider world and reached the hearts and minds of the general public.
What: Seventh annual HIPA Awards Ceremony
Where: Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai
When: Monday, March 12 at 7pm
Award categories: The Moment which also serves as the theme of the competition, General (Black and White), General (Colour), Portfolio and Time-lapse (Video).