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‘It was a unique feeling,’ says Saudi photographer shortlisted for National Geographic prize

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01 Feb 2021 02:02:27 GMT9
01 Feb 2021 02:02:27 GMT9

DUBAI: National Geographic Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Saudi dairy company Almarai, this week announced the shortlisted entries for the 2020 edition of its photography competition “Moments” — and Saudi photographer Afrah Al-Harby made the cut.

Just 10 images were shortlisted out of more than 27,000 entries. The selection was made by the competition’s judging panel, including two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and National Geographic photographer Mohammad Muheisen and Chief Marketing Officer of Almarai, Hussam Abdulqader. 

Held under the theme of “2020 Moments: A Year Lived Differently,” the shortlisted images captured “inspiring moments” of connection with the loved ones. The photographers captured students distance learning and warm yet socially distanced family moments. 

Al-Harby, a 22-year-old photographer from Madinah, chose to photograph her 10-year-old sister drawing. 

When speaking to Arab News, Al-Harby, who discovered her passion three years ago, said: “I took this picture of my younger sister during quarantine. She discovered her talent during this period. So, in this picture, I wanted to document her talent.”

The moment Al-Harby found out she was among the names shortlisted for the contest she felt proud – “it was a unique moment,” she said.

“I was not expecting I would be selected among the 10 participants shortlisted, but that is all thanks to my older brother, Mohammed, who saw a talent in me and insisted that I participate in this competition,” she said. 

The photographer, who enjoys capturing images of nature, also gave credit to her other brother Abdulla, who gifted her a professional camera two years ago.

Al-Harby’s advice to young women like herself is “to be confident.”

The young photographer is not the only Saudi talent to be shortlisted for the prize. Hussein Ali, who took a picture of a family member attending an online class, is also competing for the award. 

Hussein Ali’s photograph has also been shortlisted for the prize. (Supplied)

The grand prize winner of this year’s “Moments,” one of the largest photography competitions across the Middle East and North Africa, will be announced in the coming days. The winner will receive $10,000 worth of professional photography equipment and will have their entry published in National Geographic Alarabiya Magazine. 

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