20th Jan

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has announced the official start of the judging of submissions in the fifth season of competition ‘Happiness’. A total of nine internationally renowned judges have begun presiding over submissions until the conclusion of the judging period on the 21st of January 2016.

The nine judges hail from five different countries,  including  American photographer Maggie Steber , who has worked as a documentary photographer on humanistic and cultural-historical projects in 66 countries and was named as one of eleven ‘Women of Vision’ by National Geographic Magazine in 2013. Steber is joined on the judging panel by two of her compatriots Philip Block and Michael Yamashita. Block is a photography pioneer who was the founder and director of ‘Light Work’. In addition to participating on many panels and programs, Block has acted as a juror for numerous grants and Awards around the world.

Yamashita meanwhile has been a photographer for the National Geographic magazine for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of photography and travel. His work has taken him to six continents and his feature documentary, ‘The Ghost Fleet’, has been included in the top twenty most popular National Geographic Channel documentaries of the decade.

The HIPA judging panel also includes British photographer Dr Michael Pritchard, who is the Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society in the United Kingdom. Pritchard was a Director and photography specialist at Christie’s, London and has taught and acted as a consultant to a number of photography organisations.

Pritchard is joined by Stephen Mayes who has managed the work and careers of top-level photographers and artists for over twenty-five years. Mayes has experience in world-shaping photojournalism as Director of Network Photographers in London and, most recently, as CEO of VII in New York; both high-profile co-operatives of leading photojournalists.

Rounding off the British judges is David Maitland, who is a Senior Lecturer in Photojournalism at Southampton Solent University. Maitland is a a professional nature / science photographer who uses photography to elucidate the intricacies of nature, combining an academic view point with a new sense of enquiry in the pursuit of art and wonder in Nature.

Spanish judge Monica Allende, is a Photo Editor and cultural producer with screenprojects.org. She is the co-founder of ‘Offspring Photo Meet’ in London and previously was the Photo Editor at the Sunday Times Magazine. She is joined by Dutch photographer Frans Lanting who ishailed as one of the great nature photographers of his time. He is renowned for his influential work which appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world and has been documenting wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica for the last three decades.

The final member of the judging panel is German Michael Lohmann, who specialises in travel and wildlife photography. He is also a member of the ‘Society of German Wildlife Photographers’(GDT), one of the world’s largest

nature photography associations. In 2010 he was elected as a member of the board and he has been the society's president since 2013.

Commenting on the judging stage, the Secretary General of HIPA, His Excellency Ali bin Thalith said “We are delighted to kick off the judging week for the fifth season of competition ‘Happiness’.  We are also honoured to have hosted Michael Yamashita for a workshop titled ‘Photographer on the Silk Road’ which included some breath-taking photography from his illustrious career”.

“Yamashita’s workshop will be followed by Maggie Steber who will present a lecture titled ‘Glimpses of Human Life’ which we hope will touch and inspire all those in attendance”.

Bin Thalith continued “We reaffirm our commitment to sustain the highest possible level of judging for our competition which will no doubt lead to the best submissions being chosen as winners for the fifth season of competition. The high calibre of judges for the fifth season of competition reflects that commitment, and we hope to also benefit the local photography community through the workshops we are hosting”.