Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Winners of the 6th edition of National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s – part of Abu Dhabi Media TV network – photographic competition, “Moments Awards 2016”, were announced today, in partnership with Almarai for the fourth year running.

In keeping with the Moments theme, this year’s competition focused on a specific aspect of the region’s culture and lifestyle, attempting to capture the essence of food, from purchasing produce in the local markets to cooking and eating, seen as its expression in everyday life throughout the greater Middle East. This theme was a direct manifestation of Stories from our World, which the channel has made as its core mission in the region.

This focus on one of the region’s traditions highlighted both the culture and lifestyles evident throughout the greater Middle East, enabling artists to capture the soul of people across a wide cross-section of the region’s population. So doing, many participants managed to express unique experiences from every aspect of daily life connected to the theme.

The overall standards of this year’s submissions witnessed a very high level of artistry and creativity, with very competitive entries, taking this edition one step further than the previous ones. Simultaneously, this year’s entrants were also encouraged to submit their best compositions, not only shot through both traditional and innovative aspects of photography, but through mobile photography as well, for the first time.

First prize went to the Moroccan Mohamed Benmokhtar, for his entry depicting a newly wedded young woman, from Zagora in South Morocco, making a traditional couscous for the first time for her husband’s family to prove her cooking skills… His dramatic composition capturing the essence of the moment swept him to the top, with a prize including a trip to Japan, as well as photographic equipment worth US Dollars 7,500. Second place went to Mohamed Albadaai from Oman, for his depiction of the making of maqadid, a traditional meat delicacy, made by artisans in the Dhofar region. His prize includes photographic equipment worth US Dollars 5,000. In third place, Mohamad Nasr from Egypt entered an uplifting moment in the life of a rural peasant woman, processing corn cobs in a time immemorial tradition. His prize will consist of photographic equipment worth US Dollars 2,500.

Commenting on the results, Hussam Abdulqader, head of communications and PR, Almarai, said: “this year reconfirms the strategic depth of our partnership with a channel whose vision and commitment to revealing the passion and artistry of the region’s younger generations are values we share and hold dear. We both value the bonds that tie us tremendously, in order to live up to our common responsibilities towards the artistry or our vibrant communities and their quest for artistic excellence. This means that we face a greater challenge year after year, as the standards of this major initiative keep rising.”

This year’s Moments Awards have kept the essence each edition has exhibited since the initiative’s inception, which seeks to bring out the more intimate, warm and emotional fibre of the region’s traditions and culture, through the lens of budding artists. The successive themes explored throughout the previous editions of the competition have managed to bring out extraordinary interpretations of the region at play, at work, or simply going about its daily life, and have thereby revealed the vast talent pool that was begging to express itself, and this year’s results have taken the concept to new heights.