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HIPA Started Strong for 2013

HIPA (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award) one of the most prestigious photography competition in the world had recently conducted free photography workshops for photography enthusiast. The workshops lasted for 3 days and were facilitated by well re-known photographers like Martin Grahame-Dunn, Joseph Smith and Tom Ang. 
The workshops were catered just for a limited group and an attendee must pre-register to book a slot. I ha d feeling that many will participate so immediately I did my registration but unluckily was on the waiting list. The team was gracious enough to accommodate those who are on the wait group just like me and still instructed us to come on the venue.

I came late for the workshop on the first day; upon approaching the registration desk the in-charge told me that the room was full that I have to come back tomorrow to join the second workshop. I really got frustrated that things are not doing well, already having mishaps and I keep telling myself that I just cannot miss the first workshop. This will be an incomplete experience if I only attended two out of the three so in my eagerness not to give up, I peek on the glass window to see the condition inside. The auditorium was packed and there participants without seats and standing. I begged to the organizer that I’ll squeeze myself with the ones standing just to catch up on the discussion of the work shop. The organizers consulted each other and by good faith they let me in. 

DAY 1 Martin Grahame-Dunn for First Light! Through Science & Renaissance to Photography

 Martin Grahame-Dunn  
photo by Ronald David

As I entered the room the facilitator is already discussing in his calm voice and as I look upon at the front, Mr. Martin Grahame-Dunn looks astonishing with his suit just like my professor way back my university years. He discussed about the facts in history throughout the renaissance era and what had it played in part of photography. I had a book entitled “Photography A Cultural History” that I had been reading for a while and as I thought that I’ll just run though Mr. Martin’s teaching, then again I’m wrong he shared to us a part of history that involves the contribution of Ibn al Kathib and his writings about optics which was really new to me. He also carefully explained to us the connection of popular painters like Michael Angelo, Bernini and Rembrandt for their chiaroscuro works that depicts the contrast of the light and dark in a composition. It was very inspiring to go back and learn from the early paintings of the Baroque style and try to decode lighting patterns of these painters in their canvasses.

DAY 2 Joseph Smith for Key is Emotion

 with Joseph Smith 
photo by Ronald David

The second day I came ahead of time and that got me a seat. This time the ambiance is more laid back as the speaker Mr. Joe Smith loves to interact with his participants. He showcase to us most of his works that really captivates the our hearts, the images are filled with emotions, character and story. Mr. Joe also thought us that creating a good photo a photographer must have good patience on capturing a great image. It is a simple message that we should not settle for less but must strive to get the best out of our skills. He inspired us by stories of his experience and how he embrace and not shy away of his photos that are retouched through photoshop. He even answered my question very well that it help him bring out the feelings it must portray to the viewer but there always has to be a limit. In my understanding on what I learned from him is that a strong photo is something captured and not being made.

DAY 3 Tom Ang Judging & Being Judged; A photographer’s work is never done.

Tom Ang
photo by Ronald David

The last is the most anticipated workshop of all, primarily because of the subject is about judging of a photo and secondly it will be discussed by a known photographer and book author Tom Ang. Who doesn’t know the guy? From his publish books to his video tutorials online he has helped tons of photography hopefuls like me. Mr. Tom started out his discussions by asking some survey like questions to the participants to tickle up their thoughts. He thoroughly explains that judging a photo competition depends on how big it is, the bigger it is the bigger the responsibility, kidding aside It sounds like uncle Ben of Peter Parker is saying “with great power, comes great responsibility” and it not easy to give away a grand prize of $120,000. 

Tom Ang
photo by Elmer Magallanes Jr.
Seriously, Judging HIPA is a gigantic task as they have to scan out thousands of entries coming from the different part of the globe. He reiterates that technical aspects are being considered in sorting out a photo to qualify but there is a certain attribute that judges are looking for. That photo must stands out and carries/holds the essence of the whole meaning of the competition. It takes a lot of experience and careful decision before a prestigious award like this will be handed out to the deserving winner.

Ali Bin Thalith & Tom Ang
photo by Elmer Magallanes Jr.

It was a thrilling experience and a privilege as well what the team of HIPA has contributed to us photography hopefuls. In any workshop that I attend, I always look for something in a workshop that would motivate me more and continue to pursue the field of photography, gain some knowledge that I can use in the future. The 3 workshops was a STRONG statement on how they live up to their vision to produce world class images and be a leader in developing the art of photography.  It was another great leap of success by the team lead by Sec. Gen. Ali Bin Thalith, a nice gentleman who gives up his seat for late coming participants and I can say handles the Q & A’s very well. 

To His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and to the whole Team HIPA.... Congratulations a job well done!!!

Thanks for your time... 

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