23 November 2017
For five years running The Middle East in London has hosted an Annual Photo Competition, inviting its readers to submit their photographs of the Middle East. And each year our readers continue to ‘wow’ us with the quality of the images submitted. Thoughtful, vibrant, ethereal and moving, these images offer unique lenses into the history, culture and humanity of the region. This year it was Umer Hasan’s image entitled ‘İstanbul Güzel Sokakları’ that won first place. Two additional photographs won commendations. As always, we are grateful to all who took part in the competition and shared their lenses. We intend to continue on with this annual tradition, so check back during the summer months for details of the 2018 competition.
Winning photograph ‘İstanbul Güzel Sokakları’
Umer Hasan took up photography as it seemed the most effective outlet to demonstrate his creativity. He enjoys learning about cultures around the world and one day hopes to travel to every continent alongside his camera. The city of Istanbul is of particular appeal to Hasan as it bears the influence of several different civilisations. This photo was taken in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul just after sunset. These beautiful Turkish lamps were turned on between two restaurants in a narrow alleyway, invoking the vibrancy and culture of a city at the centre of the old world.
Commendation photograph ‘Nasir-Ol-Molk Mosque’
Farid Azadi is a professor of mathematics at Yasouj University and also an amateur photographer who began taking photos almost three years ago. His work often focusses on historical buildings, such as mosques and churches. This photograph was taken in the Nasir-Ol-Molk Mosque (also known as the Pink Mosque) located in Gawd-i Araban quarter in the city of Shiraz, Iran. The mosque includes extensive coloured glass in its façade and displays other traditional elements such as the panj kase (‘five concaved’) design. In popular culture it is called the Pink Mosque due to the considerable usage of pink colour tiles for its interior design.
Commendation photograph ‘The Blessed Tree of the Young Prophet’
Born and raised in the American Midwest, Cameron Reed has been a student, researcher and traveller of the Arab world for over a decade. While living in Jordan prior to the Arab spring, he fell in love with the vivid, natural landscapes of the Levant, and felt compelled to continue telling the stories of the people, culture and history of the Middle East with a camera. The ‘Blessed Tree of the Young Prophet’ portrays the tree under which, throughout his boyhood, the Prophet Mohammad prayed on his journeys to Damascus. Th e scene captures the tree in an unfamiliar winter repose against a backdrop of sunset hues. As far as the eye can see in remote northern Jordan, this sacred tree stands alone, worthy of the reverence it evokes.