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It’s A First: Emirati Wins Annual ‘Moments’ Photo Competition

The competition with a 10-year history brings forth the collective and rising talent of the growing photography culture in the region.

NGAD 'Moments' 2020 winner by Salem Sarhan

Salem Sarhan has become the first Emirati to win the ‘Moments’ photography competition. The 27-year-old from Al Ain, Abu Dhabi bagged one of the largest photography competitions across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) due to his talent and creative interpretation of this year’s theme, ‘2020 Moments - A Year Lived Differently.’

For the competition that is organised by National Geographic Abu Dhabi, the aspiring shutterbug skillfully captured his brothers performing their prayers at home, following the closure of places of worship during the pandemic. As well as having his stunning photograph released in the “National Geographic Alarabiya” Magazine, the creative will receive $10,000 worth of professional photography equipment.

NGAD 'Moments' 2020 second place by Ahmed Alazzam

‘Moments’ judge, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and National Geographic photographer Mohammad Muheisen was drawn to the image’s portrayal of a tradition lived differently during the pandemic. The Jordanian also praised the quality and colour composition found in the striking picture.

Sarhan outdid another Jordanian, Ahmed Alazzam, who nabbed second place. Alazzam, 29, earned the nod for snapping a shot of calligrapher Mohamed Hendy. In the picture, the artist who has practiced calligraphy since the 1950s is enjoying his craft alone after the pandemic closed his workshop. Meanwhile second runner upper, Palestinian Samar Abu Elouf, 36, captured the image of Sameh, a barber. This was while he was giving relatives and neighbours a hair makeover in the middle of the street.

NGAD 'Moments' 2020 third place by Samar Abu Elouf

Launched by National Geographic Abu Dhabi in 2010, the ‘Moments’ competition aims to support budding photographers in the MENA region through offering them exposure and the possibility of being discovered on such a prominent platform. And for the past six years, National Geographic Abu Dhabi, the first free-to-air Arabic documentary channel, has been teaming up with Almarai, which has the same vision of supporting Arab talent. The competition has attracted over 275,000 entries over the last decade, making it one of the largest photography competitions of its kind.

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