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Murdoch launches Third Annual Student Photography Exhibition

Murdoch University Dubai on Wednesday, 27 April, 2011 opened its Third Annual Student Photography Exhibition at Murdoch University’s campus in Dubai International Academic City. The exhibition showcases the best portfolios of Murdoch Dubai first year photography students, as well as winning entries from an inter university and high school student photography competition. 

Dignitaries at the inauguration included H.E. Australian Counsel General in the UAE, Kym Hewitt; Murdoch University Dubai Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor, Daniel Adkins; as well as Brand Manager, Shaji Shanmughan from Grand Stores, the prize sponsor of the competition. 

In the inaugural speech, Hewitt congratulated the participants on the high standard of work, as he took pains to emphasize the artistic merit of good photography. He said: “the first thing that registers with me is that good photographers are in fact artists… They are able to correctly identify what drives and motivates them and what they feel deeply about and then find a means of expressing that in the photograph you see.”

The winning entries from the UAE university student and the UAE high school student categories, as well as other shortlisted pictures displayed at the exhibition, were selected by a judging panel consisting of two UAE based industry experts: Commercial and Fashion photographer, Fatema Hilal and Architect and professional photographer, Kwame Busia.

The theme of the competition was ‘Standing Out’. The three highest scoring entrants from each category won prizes exclusively sponsored by Nikon and Fujifilm in association with Grand Stores.

Kwame Busia saw some promise in the work he was called upon to assess, ‘It was an honour and a pleasure to judge such high quality work. The work submitted was of a very high standard and the high school entries were extremely impressive. I am looking forward to seeing some very talented new photographers in the near future.’
The Murdoch Dubai students’ portfolios were judged as part of their unit requirements and criteria. They were given a free choice of a theme. 

Murdoch Dubai first year student, Ghazal Tavenaei, won the Murdoch students’ category with a photograph titled “Dirt and Thirst” and received a Nikon D3000 professional camera with accessories. She said the main inspiration behind her work was the duality between nature and culture. ‘I like taking pictures which are unique. Therefore I chose to do abstract photography for my final portfolio in order to capture things in a way that would make them seem very unique and special.’ Ghazal was visibly elated about her success in the competition, ‘I was very surprised and happy to be the winner and I am planning to take photography more serious now as I have got my own camera!’

In the UAE university student category the best picture prize was awarded to Mariam Kamel, a student of Abu Dhabi University. She also received a Nikon D3000 professional camera with accessories. 

In the UAE high school student category the best picture prize was awarded Mohammad Shabanpoor from the Al Khaleej National School. He received a Fujifilm S8000 camera with accessories. 

In concluding the prize distribution ceremony, Murdoch University Dubai Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor, Daniel Adkins, said: “It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but as we stand here today, I believe we all can agree that there are some photographs so moving that there are not enough words in any language to express the feelings that the photographs engender.

As we stand here today and look back at the history of humanity we should realize that the greatest book have yet to be written, the great music has yet to be composed, and the greatest photographs have yet to be taken. Among the contestants in this photography competition may be the photographer who will take a picture that sets the bar for all future photographers.”

In an effort to bring something back to the community, Murdoch University Dubai faculty and students have also run workshops throughout the spring with Dubai based special needs charities; the Dubai Center for Special Needs, Child Learning and Enrichment Medical Centreand the Dubai Autism Center. Pictures taken by the special needs students at the workshops are also displayed at the exhibition to showcase the talent demonstrated by these children.


Murdoch University Dubai Photography Students: 

1st prize: Ghazal Tavenaei – DIRT AND THIRST
2nd prize: Vishaal Patel - HARMONY
3rd prize: Hamna Ahmed – BEAUTY TOOLS

UAE University Students: 

1st prize: Mariam Wagdy Yousef Kamel – Abu Dhabi University
2nd prize: Abhinav Sharma – BITS Pilani
3rd prize: Azza Salem Al Zaabi – American University of Ras Al Khaimah

UAE High School Students: 

1st prize: Mohammad Shabanpoor – Al Khaleej National School
2nd prize: Bushra Shahid – Arab Unity School
3rd prize: Chad Williams – Dubai International Academy

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