About Competition


The 9th International Emirates Photography Competition 2015

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority is organising the 9th International Emirates Photography Competition (EPC) 2015, under the auspices of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP).

The EPC aims to develop the art of photography in the United Arab Emirates through motivating and attracting the greatest possible number of photographers, paying attention to emerging talents, supporting professionals, and holding specialised workshops, mutual meetings, seminars, and solo and collective exhibitions, both within and outside the UAE. The EPC also encourages the acquisition and publication of photographic work.

The EPC highlights the UAE’s heritage and diversity of cultures through various photos of the most important landmarks of Abu Dhabi in particular - and the United Arab Emirates in general.

As one of the most important professional photography competitions in the world, the EPC welcomes the distinguished and innovative work from all the various art schools and disciplines, such as installation works and panoramas, modern art technical processing and digital photography, in addition to different types of printing. All participating work must respect performance values and standards of photographic art and the applicable rules as set by the international bodies patronising the EPC.

Every year, the Competition has a main theme designed to encourage photographers to be innovative in various aspects of photography, thus enriching the photographic experience and highlighting its various perspectives, themes, and methods, as well as the Open Themes which are changed from year to year.

In this session, the EPC celebrates the first Arab photographer Karimeh Abbud 1894 – 1940. She was born in Nazareth into a Lebanese family in southern Khiam. Her family settled in Nazareth in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Karimeh Abbud learned the photographic profession from an Armenian photographer in Jerusalem and began her career in 1913. She received a camera from her father as a gift and became obsessed with it, taking photos of cities, landscapes, historical monuments, as well as her family and friends. She opened a studio for women in Bethlehem, allowing conservative families an opportunity to photograph women in comfort. Later, she opened a workshop for colouring and brightening photos.

At the time, she took various photographs of the five Palestinian cities of Bethlehem, Tiberias, Nazareth, Haifa, and Caesarea. Her photographs were distributed throughout aristocratic families’ homes in Damascus, Salt, Beirut and Choueifat. A second group of her photographs was found dating back to 1913, consisting of photographs of beautifully dressed women.

Karimeh Abbud played a major role in this profession, which at the time was perceived as strange to the eastern Arabic society; particularly in that many conservative families did not accept such strange “lenses” - except for some aristocratic families who preferred photography collections - as demonstrated in old photos in the possession of families in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, and even Gaza during the British Mandate.

Karimeh Abbud died in the late 1960s and was buried in Bethlehem, leaving a legacy of hundreds of photos reflecting an important period of modern Palestinian history.

The EPC’s main theme “Family Album” was inspired by Karimeh Abbud’s work and recognises her leading contributions in the field of Arabic photography - and celebrates the importance of research, study and reflection in her work.

The EPC has a total prize fund of over half a million dirham, where the major prize is granted to the best work that displays innovative and creative ideas in the main theme of “PORTFOLIO”. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are also to be awarded for the first three positions in each theme, as well as a number of honourary prizes for outstanding work.

The EPC will award the “Noor Ali Rashid” Award to the best Emirati photographer of the year. There is also the Emirates Photo Award, which showcases environmental and cultural aspects of the UAE; and the Unique Art Innovation Award in photograph. Additionally, there is the Best Collective Participation Award for international photographic societies and clubs that is intended to encourage their role in the cultural progression of the photograph.

The winners will be invited to the Awards Ceremony and the Winning and Unique Works Exhibition that is held annually in Abu Dhabi (and which is one of the most important artistic photography exhibitions in the Middle East). The EPC Winners and participants, whose work qualified, will also be presented with a high quality, luxury book containing prints of the winning works in the competition.

The EPC allows access to photos through its website and for the first time allows free participation in all sections of the competition, Main and Open Themes, including the coloured printed photos and black-and-white photo sections.