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Photographers compete to capture Makkah’s essence

Najha Al-Saidi, center, brother of Saud Al-Saidi who won the first prize, received the award on his behalf.

Source : Arab News / 19 May 2014

Young, budding photographers were given the chance to showcase their eye for Makkah’s beauty at a photography contest held by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts.

The society organized the photography contest in search of young talents who were able to successfully capture the essence of the holy city and the Grand Mosque in images.
The contest was held under the banner “inspiring Makkah.”

Contest winners were awarded at the Raffles Palace Hotel in Makkah on Monday. 

“Inspiring Makkah” was originally launched via the hotel’s Facebook page and targeted local and international photographers with an artistic streak.

The winners were nominated via Facebook and later shortlisted by a jury panel of experts that included Mohammed Al-Malki, Suzan Eskander, Issam Kanafani and Mariam Beydoun.

A total of 24 pieces of art depicting Makkah’s geophysical beauty, spiritual nature and ancient and modern blends gained acclaim from 200 nominated photos.
A total of 300 youth took part in the contest.

Finalist photos were put on display at the Raffles Makkah Palace’s photo gallery. Saud Hilal Al-Saidi came first for his depiction of Makkah’s natural beauty and lights by night, winning SR10,000 and an accommodation package at the hotel.

“The dedication of these young, budding photographers in showcasing Makkah’s true essence through the power of the image has offered a new perspective on the city and is warmly welcomed by our community,” said Mohammed Shibli, contest supervisor for the society, on behalf of Abdullah Al-Tazi, the society’s general manager.

“Selecting the winning photos from among 24 photos was a difficult task,” he said. “We judged images based on composition, angle, technical aspects and how powerfully their messages are conveyed.”

“We urged participants to focus on Makkah as a whole and not just the Grand Mosque,” he said. “The idea was to find the best combination of lighting and features.”

Iman Ibrahim Al-Biabi came second for his ability at capturing an image of worshippers praying at the Grand Mosque from an angle, winning SR5,000.

Yazeed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dwaihi came in third for his aerial view of Makkah just after the sunset prayer, winning SR2,500, while Mohammed Sebul bin Nang came in fourth, also winning SR2,500 for his depiction of a young couple engaging in affection and worship amid construction works and the Makkah scene.

“We gave equal chances to the public to choose the images they liked the most,” said Shibli. “We take great pride in organizing a competition that upholds the concept of art through photography and encourages youth to tap into their creative abilities.”

Issam Kanafani, one of the judges, told Arab News that choosing the winning photos was a monumental task since every photo had a different story to tell.

Award-winning photos were exhibited and later printed in an art book for public distribution. 

The winning photographers are scheduled to take part in a workshop to sharpen their skills as they continue to pursue their dreams.

“As an avid photographer, I can appreciate the beauty of a photo, but I never expected to win,” said Saud.

The awards were also presented by Khalil Abu Zaid, operations director at the hotel. Abu Zaid expressed his enthusiasm at the launching of such a competition. 

“This adds a personal touch to Islamic arts,” he said. “Visual arts are the strongest channel of communication and photographers did a great job of successfully portraying the cultural diversity and historic richness of Makkah through the lens.”


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