The HIPA is a photography award headed directly by Dubai’s Crown Prince, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to honor the creativity of photographers worldwide.

The annual prize was launched in 2011 with a total value of US$400,000.

The first award in the ‘General-Color’ category is worth $15,000.

The award’s 11th edition, themed Nature, attracted thousands of entries from around the world competing in different categories.

Cao Nguyen Vu’s photo 'Ma Tran Cua Nhung Chiec Thuyen' (Matrix of Boats). Photo: Alex Cao

Cao Nguyen Vu’s photo ‘Ma Tran Cua Nhung Chiec Thuyen’ (Matrix of Boats). Photo: Alex Cao

Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday, Vu said that he was shocked to win the top place in the ‘General-Color’ category, despite having clinched many international photography prizes.

“This photograph shows fishermen’s boats neatly lined up when anchored to avoid Typhoon Molave in 2020,” Vu elaborated on his photo.

“Typhoon Molave was the strongest to strike my hometown of Quang Ngai in 30 years, causing havoc with 325 buildings completely demolished and over 140,000 houses unroofed or damaged.”

Vu is best known as Alex Cao in the photographic community.

Numerous others were surprised to learn that Vu is not a professional photographer, but instead works in the medical field.

Aside from photography, Vu also spends his free time volunteering with FQng Quang Ngai, a charitable organization that assists the low-income residents, particularly children, in remote areas of Quang Ngai Province.

Besides, he is in charge of a community project — the Victoria Public Library and the Victoria-Alex Cao Scholarship Foundation — to assist underprivileged children in learning English.

Vu has also participated in a campaign to clean up tons of garbage at local seaports, restoring the nearby marine environment.

After receiving the award, Vu will donate a sum of money to FQng Quang Ngai and the campagin.

Below are Vu’s photos, which were taken in Vietnam:

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