Sarah Ahmad, a part-time photographer in Pakistan, picked up Sony's 2009 Campaign Award, the first prize of its kind. The competition, open to amateur photographers the world over, is part of the Sony World Photography Awards and challenged contestants to combine the global obsession with football with their passion for photography.
The winning image is one of a local woman preparing a meal with one foot balanced on a football. It is titled: 'The Love of the Game: a cook, cleaner, mother...and an attacking midfielder.'
The winner comes from Rawalpindi in Pakistan, and her award was handed over by Delly Carr, one of the world's leading sports photographers and chair of the judging panel. "The photograph is so simple, yet it speaks volumes about the sport," Carr said. "The image exemplifies the fact that football is indeed the World Game, a sport built on passion and fanaticism. It also attempts to express that passion makes no discrimination against gender, age, nationality, or social class."
On hearing the news, Ahmad, who only discovered her love of, and aptitude for, photography in 2006, was thrilled. "I pinched myself several times to see whether I was dreaming. When I realised it was not a dream I ran around and screamed. I think I scared the neighbours! I had imagined great things happening for me but nothing I imagined came close to something as amazing as winning this award."
The purpose of the Campaign Award is to seek out a single, original image that captures the spirit of football in places where you would least expect to find it. Photographs were submitted from all over the world and the winner will be flown to the Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony in Cannes, receive a Sony α350 DSLR camera and lens and will have the opportunity to be one of the photographers used in Sony's forthcoming digital imaging FY09 campaign work, as well as receive two tickets to a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ game (travel and accommodation included).
The winning photograph, along with the top 50 images entered in the competition, will be exhibited at The Sony World Photography Awards Festival in Cannes, April 2009