UAE: Winners take home Dh50,000 in World’s Coolest Winter photo contest

Within the span of just one month, the competition registered more than 2,800 submissions

Winner of the Sea category — Supplied photo
Winner of the Sea category — Supplied photo

A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 6:14 PM

The World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) in collaboration with the UAE Government Media Office, announced its winners on Monday.

The announcement coincided with the conclusion of the World’s Coolest Winter campaign, the largest of its kind highlighting the UAE’s entertainment, culture and natural landmarks, and raising awareness about the variety of its tourism activities during the nation’s winter season.

The competition, which ran from December 20, 2021, to January 20 featured two main categories - one photo, which is open to the public, and portfolio, which was exclusive to professional photographers. Within the span of just one month, the competition registered more than 2,800 submissions by 2,176 participants from 89 countries.

The winners in the One Photo category, where each of its five subcategories was awarded Dh7,000, were Maurizio Casula from Italy in the desert subcategory; Jason Balaba from the Philippines in the Sea subcategory; Abdalla Mohamed Alraeesi from UAE in the Mountains subcategory; Khaled Alkindi from UAE in the Valleys subcategory, and Ajay Ghosh Ramachandran from India in the Emirates from Above subcategory.

The winners in the Portfolio category, where the award for each of its four subcategories amounted to Dh 50,000, were Omar Almarzouqi from UAE in UAE in Your Eyes; Rahul Bansal from India in UAE Wildlife; Tittu Thomas from India in Faces from UAE; and Crisencio Bernabe from the Philippines in UAE Street Life.

Panoramic photos for UAE’s landmarks in the winter

Alia Al Hammadi, the deputy chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office, said: “The UAE’s nature, landscapes, society, and culture are a model for beautifully synchronized diversity. Its landmarks across the nation attract visitors and tourists from within and outside the UAE, and its scenery is a focal point for artists and creative geniuses.”

Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith, secretary general of HIPA, said: “The creative submissions received for the World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition presented together with a comprehensive panoramic image of the UAE’s most beautiful landmarks.”

He added: “They reflected the nation’s true uniqueness, its nature and society, through the eyes and lenses of its residents and international tourists. The photos captured the essence of the UAE’s winter and the key tourist destinations across the various parts of the nation.”

“We congratulate all the winners and encourage all our participants to continue to develop their skills and talent as photographers,” he added.

The majority of participants were from the UAE with 428 people submitting photos to the competition, followed by 424 from India, 118 from Iran, 112 from the Philippines, 74 from Russia, and 71 from Egypt.


Under the portfolio category, the UAE in Your Eyes subcategory received the highest number of submissions at 679 photos, followed by UAE Street Life at 476 photos, and UAE Wildlife at 434 photos.

Under the One Photo category, Mountains received the highest number of submissions at 266 photos, followed by Desert at 265 photos, and Sea at 262 photos.

More news from Arts and Culture