After a two-year hiatus, the Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes photo competition is back. It’s been expanded to included film (two categories) as well as a total of six photo categories; and new for 2018 is an open-ended students’ section for writing and visual arts. It’s still open to all comers, provided the content was shot or produced in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and it has a sizable prize pot – AED 665,000 in total, we’re told.
There have been four iterations of Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes, starting in 2008-9. ADTYE was always a bit of an eager puppy when it comes to photographic competitions: open to all, the principal criteria for success was an overt and eager espousal of brand Abu Dhabi as an end in itself.
Not that there was anything too radical about this approach; many tourism authorities have similar contests. It certainly ticked many of the right boxes for the PR department of the Abu Dhabi government – engaging the population (there were always hundreds of entries), acting as a useful metric for what people found photogenic in Abu Dhabi, and actually producing some really good quality images to showcase the Emirate within the UAE and beyond.
The 2018 edition continues those themes, while extending its reach towards the young and allowing them a broad definition of creativity. There is a serious photographic element for students, in that each of the six photography categories has a AED 15,000 award specifically for student entries. But now there’s an ‘art’ category too, exclusively for students and open to just about any kind of creative submission – writing, sculpture, painting, drawing, and graphic design are cited as examples of work that could be entered.
Incidentally, there might be some confusion about the age limits. The minimum age for anyone studying outside the UAE is 18; but for those inside the country, it’s 16. You might see the ‘conditions of entry’ stating that the minimum is 14, though. We think that applies only to applications in the non-student categories, which implies that a student doesn’t have to apply in the student categories. If in doubt, check via the Facebook page – it responds pretty quickly.
The art category for students sounds a somewhat unspecific component bolted on to a clearer, more rigorous, more professional competition. Not that the entry qualifications are limited: provided the work is unpublished and was shot in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, anyone can enter ADTYE – citizens, residents and visitors, amateur or professional.
There are six categories for photography:
People & Life
City & Architecture
Culture & Traditions
Nature & Wildlife
Sports & Leisure
You can submit a maximum of four photographs across the six categories. JPGs and PNGs up to 10MB in size and with a minimum width of 2400 pixels will be accepted.
There are also two video categories:
Abu Dhabi: 24 hours in 24 seconds – which couldn’t be more explicit: submissions should be 24 seconds in length. Sounds perfect for fast-motion or time-lapse.
People of Abu Dhabi – a much looser category, though confusingly the subject should be a single person rather than ‘people’.
Submissions should be MP4s of 300MB max, 1920×1080 and with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Finalists will be selected by “a judging panel” – unspecified, as yet – who will consider criteria including “creativity, quality, impact, emotional effect” and “how pieces capture the essence of Abu Dhabi”. There will also be a People’s Choice award for the photography; that will open towards the end of July.
The winners of each of the categories will get AED 50,000 and other as-yet unspecified awards “not yet communicated to the public” (watch this space) bring the total prize money to AED 665,000. “Further opportunities could await [the winners], and their work will go on [to] fulfil a prestigious role in Abu Dhabi’s evolving visual identity”, it says here. There will be an awards ceremony in September.
Enter via the website, where you’ll also find the entry criteria. Submissions close at 6pm on 13 May.
Above: Mark Anthony Agtay was the overall winner of the last Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes, in 2016