A woman collecting salt in Peru, a serene pier in Germany, and a thirsty monkey in India were just a few of the images that demonstrated the breadth of freshwater subjects that featured in this year’s HSBC Water Programme Photography competition.
The competition, open to HSBC employees globally, culminated in an awards ceremony in London on Tuesday March 18, 2014, where finalists and winners worldwide joined in via videoconferencing to be personally congratulated by HSBC Group Chairman Douglas Flint.
The images spanned five categories: People and Water; Freshwater Landscapes; Freshwater Life; Water in Black and White; and Creative Visions of Water. Winning shots - pictured below - included a moorhen skipping along the surface of a lake in Hong Kong, and a crashing waterfall in Iceland, but it was a close-up snapshot of a water droplet rebounding off water – for the last category - which caught the judges’ eyes and was named overall winner.
“It was something special for me,” said winning photographer Khalyd El Hamoumy, of the UAE. “I was really enjoying the shots of the droplets, because you get a different drop every time.” Khalyd added that he is a portrait artist and draws people’s faces, and is “interested in small details”.
The judging panel – which comprised award-winning wildlife photographer Mark Cawardine, Helen Gilks, the Head of the Nature Picture Library, and Wildlife Photographer of the Year judge Roz Kidman Cox (who attended the ceremony at HSBC) noted that Khalyd must have worked hard to achieve the image, and praised the symbolic similarity of the droplet to a crystal ball.
Douglas Flint remarked that the standard of the competition entries had been extremely high. He also reflected on the success of the competition in promoting the importance of the HSBC Water Programme, noting that the programme is one of the most rewarding things that employees can get involved with in HSBC's sustainability agenda.
Launched in 2012, the HSBC Water Programme is a partnership with three NGOs – WWF, WaterAid and Earthwatch. The programme will benefit communities in need and provide information for more efficient management of vital freshwater resources.
The competition was managed by Bristol-based wildlife image charity Wildscreen.
The winning images:
People and Water
Winner: Prasad Peddireddy, India.
Image: Jog Falls, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India.
What the judges said: “This overawed us with the power of the water. It’s a very famous waterfall in India, but quite a different picture to ones that you can see elsewhere. What ‘makes’ it are the little people standing to one side.”
Winner: Isuru Hettiarachchi, UAE.
Image: Seljalandsfoss, Iceland.
What the judges said: “This is a photograph of a very famous waterfall in Iceland. The photographer had the idea of going behind the waterfall and was in the right place at the right time – sunset – and you’re looking through this mist, and you can actually see the river cutting through the landscape to the sea.”
Winner: Marissa Tabbada, UK.
Image: A black-headed gull in London, UK.
What the judges said: “What it illustrates is that you do not necessarily have to be in an exotic place to take a good shot. She’s taken advantage of the low light and this golden colour is the reflection of the autumn colours of the trees. And the black-headed Gull in winter is such an everyday bird that most of us don’t bother to look at.”
Water in Black and White
Winner: Ko Oi Yan, Hong Kong.
Image: A moorhen in natural wetlands, Hong Kong.
What the judges said: “It’s a moorhen skittering across very still water in Hong Kong, but I don’t think the subject really is the moorhen; it’s more to do with the splashes and the trajectory of the splashes, and then there’s the fringe of vegetation at the top.”
Creative Visions of Water
Winner and overall winner: Khalyd El Hamoumy, UAE.
Image: ‘Crystal ball’ droplet.
What the judges said: “It’s a picture that takes quite a lot of practise to do. It’s a choreographed picture, and is symbolic – with the water drop as a crystal ball.”