Photograph of an Indian Girl Brings a Photographer $120,000 at HIPA

Arash Yaghmaian is planning to spend some of the prize money to help the young woman featured in his photograph.

NYC-based Iranian photographer Arash Yaghmaian won the annual Hamdan International Photography Award. He will receive $120,000 as a prize, PDN Pulse writes. He won with his photograph called Landfill Ballerina, which captures a young woman collecting garbage at the landfill in Guwahati, India.

“The garbage is stacked very high and is very unpredictable—the ground beneath their feet can collapse suddenly,” Yaghmaian says, explaining his photograph. “The dwellers’ homes [in the Guwahati community] have no electricity and no running water, and they live in an extremely unhealthy environment, with very little chance of finding a way out.”

The photographer says that he plans to spend the prize money on new projects about social problems all over the world. He also said that he would like to go back to India to try to find the young woman in his photograph and help her: “I would love to… contribute something positive to her life. I would just need to find a non-profit organization to help me be able to do that.”

Hamdan International Photography Awards was first held in 2011 and was initiated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The main goal of HIPA is to popularize photography and develop culture in Dubai.

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