HIPA’s Special Awards Recipients Announced


The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) recently announced the Special Awards recipients for its seventh season. This season features three special awards with the Photography Content Creator Award and Emerging Person in Photography Award joining the existing Photography Appreciation Award. These accolades are presented by HIPA to photographers that have contributed positively to photography as an art form and industry.

American photojournalist and five-time winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal, James Nachtwey, will be presented with the Photography Appreciation Award for his outstanding services to the field of photography, throughout his career. Fellow American photographer and environmental activist James Balog, will also be presented with the Photography Content Creator Award for his efforts in emphasising some of humanity’s greatest issues today through the medium. Furthermore, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Muhammed Muheisen is set to receive the Emerging Person in Photography Award. He is the former Associated Press Chief Photographer for the Middle East and is currently a photographer at National Geographic.

James Nachtwey

HIPA’s Photography Appreciation Award recipient, James Nachtwey said, “The reason I became a photographer was to be a war photographer. In no other circumstance is so much at stake for so many people. The consequences of war affect hundreds of thousands of people in such deep and tragic ways they shape the course of history for generations. In the gap between wisdom and political expedience, between truth and ambition, awaits tragedy. War creates a new reality, in which the unacceptable becomes inescapable and then becomes normal.”

He added, “I was driven by the idea that a picture that revealed the face of war could become a kind of intervention. I believed people would care if photographers could show them something to care about. I was most interested in what images might accomplish as a way to create awareness about the inevitable human cost of war. Images can help us grasp, on a human level, the things we all have in common, regardless of our differences, creating a bridge of understanding. It’s been said that journalism is the first draft of history. In a free society, the work of the press not only documents history, it also becomes a crucial factor in the process of change and can affect the course of history.”

Nachtwey ended by saying, “Documentary photography aspires to create a bridge of human understanding, to show us what we all have in common, even as it explores the ways in which we are all different. The HIPA Award is an extension of that enterprise. It is a way of reaching out, of transcending barriers, of recognising each other and standing together.”

EIS Founder & Director, James Balog, at Jøkulsårlon glacier, Iceland

James Balog, the recipient of HIPA’s Photography Content Creator Award said of his win, “Making images is a vital part of how the human race perceives the world. Humanity has been drawing pictures for many tens of thousands of years in an effort to turn inchoate perception into concrete reality. In our time, evidence matters more than ever. Truth matters more than ever. From truth, we form a vision of what is right and true, a vision of who we are and where we are to go.”

Balog continued, “All this is why the work of HIPA is so important. All of us who participate in this organisation are part of the great perceptual history of Homo sapiens. We shine a photographic light, literally or symbolically, into the often-unseen corners of existence. In some ironic way, we help to make life come alive. 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.”

Muhammed Muheisen, Associated Press’ Chief photographer for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, poses for a picture in Columbia, MO, USA. Photograph by Marvin Joseph.

HIPA’s Emerging Person in Photography Award recipient Muhammed Muheisen said, “I feel honoured and humbled to be selected by HIPA to receive the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’. It is my personal belief, that the real recognition for photojournalists is when their work goes out to the wider-world and reaches the hearts and minds of the general public, creating an echo and spreading awareness about the topics within their photography. For me, receiving such a prestigious recognition means that the images and stories of the people in them will be seen and in-turn be translated as their voices to the rest of the world.”

The seventh annual HIPA Awards Ceremony is set to take place on 12 March, 2018, in Dubai. Alongside the special awards recipients, the winners of HIPA’s seventh season competition will also be revealed.

Tags: National Geographic, HIPA, James Nachtwey, Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award, James Balog, Muhammed Muheisen