Photographers from Middle East and Africa shine at HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022 Award-winning works in the global competition showcase the beauty and diversity of the region

Ain Alalam – Rashad Iskandrni


25 January 2023: Huawei’s annual smartphone photography competition, HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022, concluded on December 30th with the unveiling of 54 prize-winning works, which included 3 Grand Prize Winners, 24 Best-in-Category Winners, and 27 Runner-up Winners. The NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022 kicked off on August 1st last year and remained open for more than three months and received thousands of entries from around the world. Regional photographers have made a strong showing in the competition. Out of the 54-winning works, 7 are from across the Middle East and Africa region.

Smartphones have revolutionised the way people take pictures. As smartphone cameras get better year after year, people are relying less and less on digital cameras. According to some studies, more than 85% of photos are being taken with smartphones, and their share is only going to go up. The compact size and flexibility smartphones offer over traditional cameras help photography enthusiasts push the boundaries of this art form. Moreover, smartphones level the playing field for amateur photographers to compete against professionals with years of experience under their belt. HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards have helped close this gap even further over the years. And the fact that several of this year’s winners are amateur photographers such as students, doctors, and engineers drives this point home.


Celebrating the beauty of everyday life

Four photographers from the MEA region won the best-in-category award, and two others were runner-up winners. Besides winning the award, these photographers also do an excellent job of showcasing the diversity and charm of the region’s rich culture. Their photographs highlight the unique perspectives and stories these cultures have to offer the world. The winner in the Storyboard category is Mark Anthony Agtay from the United Arab Emirates, with a series of nine photographs beautifully depicting interesting and diverse ways people use their hands in their day-to-day lives. These pictures are thought provoking and benefit from clever use of colours.

Mark Anthony expressed his excitement for the recognition of his work, stating, “I feel overwhelmed about winning this competition. I have been submitting my work for many years, and I finally won this time. I am so grateful for this recognition. My vision for this project was simple; to show how important our hands are in our daily lives. Without them, it’s hard for us to carry out everyday tasks. I developed this work specifically for this competition because I felt that submitting a new and unique project is the key to winning.”

“Smartphone photography is a great way to improve one’s photography skills, espescially for beginners because smartphones are easier to use. I chose a Huawei smartphone because of its amazing design and camera. The recent Huawei smartphones are also great and amaze me with their new features, like the cameras and design of the HUAWEI Mate50 Pro. It is one of the best smartphones to have for a photographer like myself,” Mark said. The talented photographer also expressed his intent to continue participating in the competition to support HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards.

The runner-up winner in the Portrait category is a photograph by Junaid Jafar from the UAE. His photograph of a little girl is a great example of portrait mode photography. The light falling from right to left on the girl’s face gives depth and dramatic effect to the photograph. The HUAWEI Mate40 Pro has also done a fantastic job of identifying the subject’s hair and only applying the blur effect to the background.

“In February 2022, we had a short trip organised by our university. We visited our region’s electric grid station and were also given an opportunity to take photos. Taking photos was one of my favourite parts, and it was a very beautiful place, so my colleagues and I took many photos. When we were getting back to the bus, I saw this adorable little girl standing in our way. We took portraits of her and offered her some food. In the end, we had to say goodbye to this “Beautiful Soul.” – Junaid Jafar

The UAE also has a runner-up winner in the sport category. Christopher C. Comeso’s photograph of 10 basketball players on the court, with one of them making a lay-up to score a basket. The evening sky and setting sun provide a bright orange backdrop for the silhouettes of the players.


“It’s a game ball! A 5 on 5 game with a group of Filipinos on Abu Dhabi Corniche Court” – Christopher C. Comeso

Interestingly, one of the best-in-category winners in sport is an anonymous entry from Saudi Arabia. This photo does a terrific job of freezing the motion of water droplets falling off the subject’s head. The blue hues of the water and the good use of lighting help the picture stand out, as well.

The Dyehouse by Hossam Hassan Al Sayed Ahmed Sewalam from Egypt was chosen as the best Storytelling Short Film. It is about an overlooked dyehouse in Cairo run by a man named Mahmoud Salama. The setting of the old dyehouse gives plenty of opportunities to fill the frames with vibrant colours and a lot of contrast.

A photo taken in the Al Mubarakiya market in Kuwait City demonstrates that even mundane everyday things can be interesting when looked at from the right perspective. A runner-up winner in the Hello Life category, the photo draws the viewer’s attention with a clearly visible beam of light irradiating the singular human in the frame.


“This photo was taken in the centre of Kuwait City, from an old market called Al-Mubarakiya, which is one of the most popular markets. From the ceiling of this market, the sunshine spread randomly throughout the place. There was a worker in a buffet who was making an external decoration for a shop. I captured the beautiful moment when the sunshine was on his body.” – Ali Abdul Hameed Al-Arbash

Kalenga Nkonge from Zambia bagged this year’s best portrait award. His black and white photograph, titled Summer Joy, captures the priceless smile on a child’s face as he splashes around in a washing-up bowl to cool off from the summer heat. Monochromatic pictures can convey deeper meanings than colour photographs when used well, and this picture is a perfect example to demonstrate this.

“The photo was taken at home. It is a photo of my son, Ntsako. It was on a hot summer afternoon. He wanted to cool off, so we got a basin, filled it with water, and he jumped in. He seemed so happy to be able to play with water and splash around in that little basin.” – Kalenga Nkonge

Nine invigorating categories

The HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards 2022 featured nine categories of submissions: Art & Fashion, Outdoor, Portrait, Sport, Hello Life, Storyboard, Action, Storytelling Short Film, and Storytelling Long Film, with Best-in-Category and Runner-up Winners selected for each. Three works: “FORCE” by Adão Filipe Fernandes Salgado, “Just Shaen” by Enrica Brescia, and “Fireworks” by Wang Zihao, won universal acclaim within the international judging panel. Each of the three works recognised as the Grand Prize Winners will receive a $10,000 USD cash prize to encourage them in their future artistic endeavours. Similarly, each of the 24 Best-in-Category Winners will receive a NEXT IMAGE Creative Fund prize of $1,500 USD, and each of the 27 Runner-up Winners will receive a HUAWEI P50 Pro.

The HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards aims to inspire ordinary users to capture important life moments through mobile photography. Since its launch in 2017, the HUAWEI NEXT IMAGE Awards has served as a unique showcase for outstanding photography works by Huawei mobile phone users. The competition will continue to inspire and engage with talented mobile phone users as Huawei introduces innovative mobile imaging technologies and experiences.

As Huawei continues innovating in mobile photography, driving art with technology, they officially launched a new brand, XMAGE, on July 2nd, 2022, which represented a new milestone and breakthrough in Huawei’s photography capabilities. Huawei XMAGE will serve as a key driver of new technologies and imaging paradigms. In the future, Huawei will continue technological innovation and design new shooting experiences for global Huawei mobile users.

Visit the link for the full list of winning works: