Alliance Francais photo competiton

I rather like the story behind this. A friend alerted me to a photographic contest with the brief to show modern and ancient Al Ain in one single photograph.

The idea came to me fairly quickly of a Land Cruiser, preferably blurred by speed, going in the opposite direction a camel in the background. Though it was quite close to what I had in my mind, not for one moment do I pretend that this a particularly special photograph.


A few weeks later, I was notified that the photograph had actually won second prize, and they infomed me that this was a meal in a rather nice local hotel. Thank you very much!

The comedy began only moments later when I received a second email informing that they had made a mstake, the second prize was actually a night's stay in the same hotel. As the hotel was only a mile from my own comfy bed, my own TV and sofa and refreshment supply etc. it turns out that I would actually have preferred the third prize, the meal.
Nonetheless I was still pleased.

Then, when I collected the prize, the delightful lady at Alliance Francaise told me that she had argued that my photograph should have won first prize. I knew that the winning photograph was quite likely a better shot than mine, but now felt sure that it had probably failed to meet the given brief as well as my photograph had. It was not difficult to imagine what the argument had been. Indeed, some months later I saw the winning shot, and I was right. It was a much better shot. It was Jebel Hafeet, the mountain on the edge of town, but it was a stretch of the imagination to see in what way that winning photograph had included the ancient and modern.

The winning prize was two return flights to Paris. That would have been very nice. I had already negotiated with the hotel and asked them if I might change the prize of a room, for the third prize, a meal at their new restaurant. The hotel agreed. So, I think it could be argued that I had managed to turn two flights to Paris (woth a couple of thousand dollars?) into a buffet meal for two (a hundred dollars?). It must be as they say. It must be the taking part which counts!