Huawei’s annual smartphone photography competition, Huawei NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022, concluded on December 30 with the unveiling of 54 prize-winning works, which included 3 Grand Prize Winners, 24 Best-in-Category Winners, and 27 Runner-up Winners. The NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022 kicked off on August 1 last year and remained open for more than three months and received thousands of entries from around the world. Regional photographers have made a strong showing in the competition. Out of the 54 winning works, 6 are from across the Middle East and Africa region.
Smartphones have revolutionized the way people take pictures. As smartphone cameras get better year after year, people are relying less and less on digital cameras. According to some studies, more than 85% of photos are being taken with smartphones, and their share is only going to go up. The compact size and flexibility smartphones offer over traditional cameras help photography enthusiasts push the boundaries of this art form. Moreover, smartphones level the playing field for amateur photographers to compete against professionals with years of experience under their belt. HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards have helped close this gap even further over the years. And the fact that several of this year’s winners are amateur photographers such as students, doctors, engineers drives this point home.
Celebrating the beauty of everyday life
Four photographers from the MEA region won the best-in-category award, and two others were runner-up winners. Besides winning the award, these photographers also do an excellent job of showcasing the diversity and charm of the region’s rich culture. Their photographs highlight the unique perspectives and stories these cultures have to offer the world. The winner in the Storyboard category is Mark Anthony Agtay from the United Arab Emirates, with a series of nine photographs beautifully depicting interesting and diverse ways people use their hands in their day-to-day lives. These pictures are thought provoking and benefits from clever use of colors.
©Mark Anthony Agtay (United Arab Emirates)
Working Hands | HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro | Storyboard | Best-in-Category Winner
“Working hands is one of my ideal series to show how important our hands are to fulfilling our daily tasks and helping us to achieve our dream. Each image tells a story about our daily lives at our homes, in our offices, and in the outdoors that need the help of our hands.” - Mark Anthony Agtay
The runner-up winner in the Portrait category is a photograph by Junaid Jafar from the UAE. His photograph of a little girl is a great example of portrait mode photography. The light falling from right to left on the girl’s face gives depth and dramatic effect to the photograph. The HUAWEI Mate40 Pro has also done a fantastic job of identifying the subject’s hair and only applying the blur effect to the background.
©Junaid Jafar (United Arab Emirates)
Beautiful Soul | HUAWEI Mate 40 Pro | Portrait | Runner-up Winner
“In February 2022, we had a short trip organized by our university. We visited our region’s electric grid station and were also given an opportunity to take photos. Taking photos was one of my favorite parts, and it was a very beautiful place, so my colleagues and I took many photos. When we were getting back to the bus, I saw this adorable little girl standing in our way. We took portraits of her and offered her some food. In the end, we had to say goodbye to this “Beautiful Soul.” – Junaid Jafar
Interestingly, one anonymous entry from Saudi Arabia came out as the winner in the Sports category. This photo does a terrific job of freezing the motion of water droplets falling off the subject’s head. The blue hues of the water and the good use of lighting help the picture stand out, as well.
© Anonymous (Saudi Arabia)
People | HUAWEI nova 3i | Sport | Best-in-Category Winner
The Dyehouse by Hossam Hassan Al Sayed Ahmed Sewalam from Egypt was chosen as the best Storytelling Short Film. It is about an overlooked dye house in Cairo run by a man named Mahmoud Salama. The setting of the old dyehouse gives plenty of opportunities to fill the frames with vibrant colors and a lot of contrast.
© Hossam Hassan Al Sayed Ahmed Sewalam (Egypt)
The Dyehouse | HUAWEI P40 Pro | Storytelling Short Filem | Best-in-Category Winner
A photo taken in the Al Mubarakiya market in Kuwait City demonstrates that even mundane everyday things can be interesting when looked at from the right perspective. A runner-up winner in the Hello Life category, the photo draws the viewer’s attention with a clearly visible beam of light irradiating the singular human in the frame.
© Ali Abdul Hameed Al-Arbash (Kuwait)
Light and Body | HUAWEI P30 Pro | Hello Life | Runner-up Winner
“This photo was taken in the center of Kuwait City, from an old market called Al-Mubarakiya, which is one of the most popular markets. From the ceiling of this market, the sunshine spread randomly throughout the place. There was a worker in a buffet who was making an external decoration for a shop. I captured the beautiful moment when the sunshine was on his body.” - Ali Abdul Hameed Al-Arbash
Kalenga Nkonge from Zambia bagged this year’s best portrait award. His black and white photograph, titled Summer Joy, captures the priceless smile on a child’s face as he splashes around in a washing-up bowl to cool off from the summer heat. Monochromatic pictures can convey deeper meanings than color photographs when used well, and this picture is a perfect example to demonstrate this.
© Kalenga Nkonge (Zambia)
Summer Joy | HUAWEI nova 3i | Portrait | Best-in-Category Winner
“The photo was taken at home. It is a photo of my son, Ntsako. It was on a hot summer afternoon. He wanted to cool off, so we got a basin, filled it with water, and he jumped in. He seemed so happy to be able to play with water and splash around in that little basin.” - Kalenga Nkonge
Nine invigorating categories
The HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022 featured nine categories of submissions: Art & Fashion, Outdoor, Portrait, Sport, Hello Life, Storyboard, Action, Storytelling Short Film, and Storytelling Long Film, with Best-in-Category and Runner-up Winners selected for each. Three works: “FORCE” by Adão Filipe Fernandes Salgado, “Just Shaen” by Enrica Brescia, and “Fireworks” by Wang Zihao won universal acclaim within the international judging panel. Each of the three works recognized as the Grand Prize Winners will receive a $10,000 USD cash prize to encourage them in their future artistic endeavours. Similarly, each of the 24 Best-in-Category Winners will receive a NEXT IMAGE Creative Fund prize of $1,500 USD, and each of the 27 Runner-up Winners will receive a HUAWEI P50 Pro.
The HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards aims to inspire ordinary users to capture important life moments through mobile photography. Since its launch in 2017, the HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards has served as a unique showcase for outstanding photography works by Huawei mobile phone users. The competition will continue to inspire and engage with talented mobile phone users as Huawei introduces innovative mobile imaging technologies and experiences.
As Huawei continues innovating in mobile photography, driving art with technology, they officially launched a new brand, XMAGE, on July 2nd, 2022, which represented a new milestone and breakthrough of HUAWEI's photography capabilities. HUAWEI XMAGE will serve as a key driver of new technologies and imaging paradigms. In the future, Huawei will continue on the technological innovation and designing new shooting experience for global Huawei mobile users.