Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2014 03:21 | By Agence France-Presse

Chinese amateur wins world's richest photography prize

A Chinese amateur has scooped the world's richest photography award with an image of a makeshift classroom in a poor village in the southeast of his country.

Chinese amateur wins world's richest photography prize

Chinese photographer Fu Yang Zhou receives his trophy after winning the grand prize of the Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA) on March 17, 2014 during a ceremony in Dubai - by Marwan Naamani

Construction entrepreneur Fu Yang Zhou, 54, won the $120,000 top prize in the annual Hamdan International Photography Awards (HIPA) in Dubai.

"I took this photograph in the home of the mayor of an extremely poor village in Jiangxi province, where classes were being held for the village children," Fu told AFP Tuesday.

The theme of this year's competition was "Building the Future" and Fu said: "I wanted to show that these people go to enormous efforts to educate themselves and develop their region."

Jiangxi is one of China's poorest provinces, and Fu's photograph shows the children being taught in a bare room with the wall being used as an improvised blackboard.

The happy prizewinner said he now plans to devote himself full-time to photography, his passion since the age of six.

Dubai's young crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, who set up the HIPA awards with total prize money of $389,000, is himself a keen photographer.

Next year's theme is to be "The Colours of Life."

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