National Geographic Abu Dhabi has announced the winners of the “Moments Awards 2016” photography competition. The competition, which is in partnership with Al-Marai, focused on a specific facet of the region’s lifestyle and culture, to reproduce the essence of food; from buying produce from the local markets, to cooking and eating.

For the first time, this year’s entrants were encouraged to also submit their best mobile phone photography, as opposed to camera photographs. The first prize went to Moroccan Mohamed Benmokhtar, for an intense photograph showing a newlywed young woman from Zagora, South Morocco, making traditional couscous for her husband’s family for the first time. The worry can be seen in the girl’s eyes, as she stresses and hopes that she can impress her in-laws with her first cooked meal for them.

Second place went to Mohamed Al-Badaai from Oman, for his photograph depicting the making of a traditional meat delicacy called “maqadid,” which is made by artisans in the Dhofar region. The photograph looks like a scene out of a movie, with the man slicing the meat among clouds of smoke.


In third place, Egyptian Mohamad Nasr sent a photograph depicting a rural peasant woman, processing corncobs in a traditional way. The woman is completely surrounded, and looks like she has a lot to do, however, she is pictured smiling proudly, not daunted by the workload.

Many other participants captured and expressed distinctive experiences from people’s daily lives across the Middle East, but few shined as highly as the three winning photographs did.

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