PetaPixel Portrait of a COVID-19 ER Doctor Wins $120,000


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Brazilian wildlife and landscape photographer Ary Bassous was documenting the COVID-19 pandemic at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro when he photographed a doctor taking her lunch break after 8 hours of continuous work in the emergency room. The photo, titled “Duty,” has now won $120,000, the biggest cash prize in the photography industry.

The Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA), founded in 2011 by Dubai crown prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced Bassous as its Grand Prize winner of the 2021 competition, which had the theme “Humanity.”

With prizes totaling a whopping $450,000, HIPA offers the most lucrative cash awards of all photo contests around the world, and Bassous’ powerful photo has earned him $120,000.

Here’s the caption of the photo in the HIPA gallery:

Dr. Juliana Ribeiro has just taken off her protective gear for lunch, after 8 hours of continuous work in the Covid-19 emergency room. Clear signs of prolonged and repeated use of this type of equipment appear on her face. Her features reflect great effort and extreme fatigue due to the human commitment to her moral duty.

What grabs you is the hint of sadness in her face as she feels the pain for humanity, as deaths in Brazil exceeded half a million people due to the pandemic. This photo was taken at the University Hospital Clementino Fraga Velho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Other Winning Photos


“Hugs to Survive” by Mads Nissen | Denmark (1st Prize Winner in Humanity. $20,000 prize.)

“Embrace” by Ilhan Kilinc | Turkey (2nd Prize Winner in Humanity. $18,000 prize.)

“Blast Scars” by Marc Abou Jaoude | Lebanon (3rd Prize Winner in Humanity. $16,000 prize.)

“High Hopes” by Fabrizio Maffei | Italy (4th Prize Winner in Humanity. $10,000 prize.)

“Rescue” by Biplab Hazra | India (5th Prize Winner in Humanity. $6,000 prize.)

“Melting Gold” by Charles Saswinanto | Indonesia (1st Prize Winner in Architecture. $15,000 prize.)

“Playful Moon” by Amri Arfianto | Indonesia (2nd Prize Winner in Architecture. $13,000 prize.)

“The Eye” by Lin Jing | China (3rd Prize Winner in Architecture. $11,000 prize.)

“Spiral” by Beatriz Fernandez Mayo | Spain (4th Prize Winner in Architecture. $9,000 prize.)

“Eye in the Sky” by Rahul Bansal | India (5th Prize Winner in Architecture. $7,000 prize.)

“Final Destination” by Sameer Al-Doumy | France (1st Prize Winner in General – Color. $15,000 prize.)

“Camille” by Fatima Zahra Cherkaoui | Morocco (2nd Prize Winner in General – Color. $10,000 prize.)

“Sanctuary” by Eirik Gronningsaeter | Norway (3rd Prize Winner in General – Color. $5,000)

“The Social Distance” by Giuseppe Cocchieri | Italy (1st Prize Winner in General – B&W. $15,000 prize.)

“Solitude” by Yadi Setiadi | Indonesia (2nd Prize Winner in General – B&W. $10,000 prize.)

“Visitor From Above” by Bambang Wirawan | Indonesia (3rd Prize Winner in General – B&W. $5,000)

Over half a million entries were submitted to this year’s contest from photographers based in 203 countries around the world.

Read also: This Whale Photo Just Won $120,000

The latest HIPA season has the theme “Nature.” You can find out more and enter your work over on the HIPA website.


Image credits: All photographs copyright their respective photographers and courtesy HIPA.

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