SOAS University of London

2016 Middle East in London Photo Competition Winner Announced!

2 December 2016

For four years now The Middle East in London has hosted an Annual Photo Competition, inviting our readers to submit their photographs of the Middle East. Each year we are awed anew by the quality of the images submitted: vibrant and evocative (or even sometimes provocative), they give us glimpses into the history, culture and humanity of the region. This year it was Iman Nabavi’s image of the Emamzadeh Ebrahim in Kashan, Iran that won first place. Two additional photographs won commendations. As always, we are grateful to all who took part in the competition. We intend to continue with this annual tradition, so check back during the summer months for the details of the 2017 competition.

The Emamzadeh Ebrahim

Winning photograph ‘The Emamzadeh Ebrahim’

Iman Nabavi is an Iranian photographer influenced by art and visual imagery. His love affair with photography began in 1995. For him, photographs offer a way to find common ground, to break through the insubstantial obstacles that keep people apart. ‘Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion?’ he asks. Photography’s strength, then, lies in its ability to evoke a sense of shared humanity. This photograph depicts the Emamzadeh Ebrahim, a historical structure in Kashan, Iran well known for its turquoise dome, tiled minarets and iwan.

Shooting for the Improbable

Commendation photograph ‘Shooting for the Improbable’

Samir Kassam has long had an interest in studying the Middle East, eventually leading him to post-graduate study at SOAS. During the course of his studies, he travelled to the region seeking to understand local perspectives. ‘Shooting for the Improbable’ came to life on one of his last days in the Old City of Jerusalem. Waiting for the Maghrib call to prayer, Samir found the passion of the kids’ play inspiring and their pleas to join them unrelenting. To him, it symbolised the warmth, hospitality and kindness he experienced throughout his travels, superseding the political contestation of the grounds they played on.

Jameh Mosque of Qazvin

Commendation photograph ‘Jameh Mosque of Qazvin’

This photograph shows the Jameh Mosque of Qazvin, one of the oldest mosques in Qazvin province, Iran. Through his photography Iman Nabavi hopes to remind the peoples of the Middle East – and those elsewhere – of the beauty and importance of preserving heritage and culture so that it can be shared. ‘Th ere is no fate but what we make!’ he says.