Through the eyes of camera
December 17 2015 10:55 PM

By Anand Holla

I t’s not for nothing that a camera is called a Save button for the mind’s eye. Photo competitions are among the most tried-and-tested ways to relay stories of culture and tradition. That’s why in honour of Qatar National Day, the Doha Marriott Marketing team recently launched an online social media photography contest.
Devised with the aim of engaging the local community in capturing images that celebrate the beauty, culture and rich heritage of the country, the contest saw some spirited participation from photographers of Qatar. Working in partnership with the Qatar Youth Hobby Centre, the hotel launched the contest through its Facebook fan page on November 10.
More than 100 photographs were submitted as entries under the four categories of Abstract, Landscape, Architecture, and Culture. “Due to the overwhelming response, and exceptional quality of images that were submitted, the team decided to add an additional category called ‘People’s Choice’ where 12 images were uploaded on to the Facebook page, with the winner being chosen by the public,” the hotel said.
Earlier this week, all the entrants of the competition were invited to the unveiling of the exhibition, where the winners and runners-up were announced. Hadi Saleh al-Marri picked the first place in the Abstract category. Mirna Mahyudin was the winner in Architecture, Nasser Aqeel al-Emadi for Landscape, and Salim Abdulla for Culture. The event was also attended by Dr Eissa al-Hor, the vice Chairman of the Youth Hobbies Center.
A series of the winning photographs and the runners-up photographs, along with some of the other entries, will be on display in the Doha Marriott lobby until Sunday.
As for other social media photography competitions, SeeMyDoha 2015, the second round of the initiative that started in 2013, proved to be the best-received event this year with 8,000 entries. SeeMyDoha is an ongoing project with an annual mobile photography competition, mobile photography workshops and the SeeMyDoha exhibition. Initiated by Jaidah Group, the SeeMyDoha project is showcasing the best of Qatar mobile photography.
Among the year’s most enchanting photography exhibitions in Qatar was the exhibition Artistic Journeys: New Angles; New Perspectives. A unique visual interpretation of this year’s Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture, its works were borne out of two-week-long expeditions of two Turkish photographers who captured the essence of Qatar – Ali Muhammet Bayraktaroglu and Hasan Yelken – and similarly, two Qatari photographers who distilled the moods and magic of Turkey – Sara al-Obaidly and Saleh al-Marri.
“From the magical mosques of Istanbul to the pseudo-moonscapes of Cappadocia; and from the vibrant cityscapes of Doha to the shifting sands of the Qatari desert; four photographers from two different Muslim nations have documented their journeys as moments captured in time; engaging in an inspiring exchange of artistic discovery and cultural dialogue,” said QM, “Their aim was to capture real people in their natural environments.”
 “As an intellectual you may get to know the geography and other topographical details of an area through study, but living here and travelling around taught us a lot about Qatar and its people. We took this with us back to Turkey and shared it with everyone there,” Ali M Bayraktaroglu, one of the featured photographers, told Community at the opening of the exhibition on September 1.
Among the places that provided the two Turkish photographers with the best photo opportunities were Katara, Souq Waqif and Zubarah, apart from Al Arish village in the outskirts of Doha. “It was amazing. You know it is empty but it is full. You feel it,” Bayraktaroglu said about the Al Arish village. He particularly praised Katara as an impressive location with a touch of both contemporary and traditional in it.

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