Right exposure: Mideast photographers earn top honours at iPhone competition
'Sheikh of Youth' by Saif Hussain, third place in the 'Photographer of the Year' category.
Dubai - Smartphones have made professional-grade photography more accessible to everyone
The winners of the annual iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAwards) were announced on Wednesday, with two photographers from the Middle East among this year's cream of the crop.
The New York-based IPPAwards is an independent showcase and the longest-running photography competition for the iPhone, having been established in 2007 - the same year that Apple introduced the original iPhone and when smartphone photography was only beginning to take root with low-resolution cameras and heavily-pixelated images.
Participation at the event, which is now in its 13th edition, had grown significantly each year since then. The annual IPPAwards honour three overall winners, as well as three victors in each of its 18 subcategories.
Saif Hussain from Iraq was third place in the overall 'Photographer of the Year' category, with his work Sheikh of Youth. He described the IPPAwards as "fulfilling his dream" and a "great platform to showcase and support photographers' work".
"The world is changing every day and smartphones made photography more accessible to everyone. without my iPhone I wouldn't be in this position, a photographer who is being recognised with this reputable award," he added.
The grand prize winner in the Photographer of the Year category is Dimpy Bhalotia, a street photographer from the UK, for his Flying Boys shot. Joining Bhalotia and Hussain in the podium are Artyom Baryshau from Russia (first place, No Walls) and Geli Zhao from China (second place, untitled photo).
The first-place winner in the Portrait category, meanwhile, was Mona Jumaan from Bahrain, with her shot titled Beautiful Isolation, inspired by the Kasbah du Pacha Gelaoui, an old palace in Morocco. The awards, she says, allows her to get the "right exposure", as well as learn from her peers.
She also lauds how far smartphone photography has come, particularly on the iPhone, which now has a number of capabilities previously only seen on DSLR cameras.
"The luxury we have now of taking a break from lugging around all that DSLR gear comes at the top of the list and with absolutely no compromise on quality," Jumaan added. "It's really important for me to just enjoy the moment; having a camera sometimes takes away the spontaneity, so the iPhone camera is perfect for such moments."
Second and third in Portrait were Renata Dangelo from Spain (Roberta) and Leping Cheng from China (untitled photo).
The winners for this year's IPPAwards were selected from over 20 countries - including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the US - with dozens of winning photographs reflecting powerful world views.
'Beautiful Isolation' by Mona Jumaan, first prize in the Portrait category.