Malaysian photographer wins Youth Photographer of the Year at 2015 Sony World Photography awards
By Zarina Holmes
The Sony 2015 World Photography Awards showcase is now open to public from 24th April until 10th May at the Somerset House, London. Three photographers from Malaysia are being honoured at the world’s biggest photography awards, which received a record-breaking 173,444 entries from 171 countries. The Malaysian winners 19-year old Yong Lin Tan from Penang won the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards’ Youth Photographer of the Year. In addition, Nick Ng Yeow Kee is the winner of the Low Light category and Mong-Young Sim secured the 3rd place in the Professional Still Life category.
Tan’s winning image, “Back alley”, was shot in a passageway in his grandmother’s house in Alor Setar, Kedah during Chinese New Year in 2014. It shows a back alley set against a spectacular backdrop of a star-studded evening sky. Tan commented:
“It feels incredible to know that the story of my mother’s hometown is able to be shared with a wider, international audience. I will continue to produce works and tell more stories form my country that deserve more attention and try to bring them to the international stage.”
Mong-Yong Sim was selected from over 87,000 entries to the Professional competition for a series called “Greenvironment”. His poetic image was awarded third place in the Still Life category.
Sim said: “From new life bursting out from the cracks on concrete walls to moulds that lay quietly against red bricks. You’ll be amazed how much “green” you have missed in your everyday life. If you pay more attention to your surroundings, you’ll notice the tubes underneath a pot of hanging plants actually makes a nice stand for it. You’ll also find that branches struggle to get away from the glossy window so that you’ll get to see them greeting you. Greenvironment wishes to send out a friendly reminder so that we all cherish the green around our environment.”
Tan was flown to London and presented his award and the latest Sony digital imaging equipment at a gala ceremony attended by industry leaders.
Nick Ng Yeow Kee was made the winner of the Low Light category for his image of a Kolkata’s public wash house, which was taken during a morning walk.
He said: “The only source of light was from the opening of the courtyard above, and although people washing up is something we all do every day, scenes like this are not what we normally see. I found out later from my guide that these people are actually local migrants from the outskirts of India, and abandoned shophouses like these are sometimes converted into a public wash place.”
Other notable work American photographer John Moore is named the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards’ L’Iris d’Or/ Professional Photographer of the Year with his hard-hitting series “Ebola Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital”. His portrayal of heartbreaking and brutal reality of the Ebola outbreak was chosen over thirteen other entries. Moore is a Senior Staff Photographer and Special Correspondent for Getty Images, and his winning photographs have been universally credited for the early exposure of the scale of the Ebola epidemic in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
He said:“I collect this award tonight in recognition of all the photographers working in difficult and dangerous places right now, and tomorrow. I am very grateful to the Liberians who allowed me to photograph them on their most difficult days. I will always be grateful.”
Winner of the Portraiture category, Rubén Salgado Escudero, produced a series of captivating work depicting the effort to bring electricity to the people of Myanmar using solar power. Swedish photographer, Johan Bavman, showcased a reportage titled “Swedish Dads” which shows a rarely seen face of fatherhood in the modern society. The Landscape category winner, Simon Norfolk, produced a powerful series titled “When I am Laid in Earth” as a comment on man-made global warming. Norfolk drew fire lines in front of rapidly disappearing Lewis Glacier at Mount Kenya, presenting a jarring but evocative environmental portrait.
Not to be missed
The 2015 Sony World Photography Awards is a must see-show, especially for the fans of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt. He was presented The Outstanding Contribution to Photography for a six-decade career in advertising and documentary photography. His known for his candid black and white shots depicting important moments in history and ordinary life.
The overall exhibited entries are impressive, although the use of HDR and additional photo editing softwares are quite prevalent in some of the photographs. While the use of imaging technology is welcomed in photography, it is quite evident that the filtered visual narrative from social media such as Instagram is starting to influence the mainstream. The environmental issue is a persistent theme throughout the Sony 2015 World Photography Awards showcase this year. Inspired by Panos Pictures agency, Sony’s Global Imaging Ambassadors (SGIA) brought the #FutureofCities exhibition. The show is running concurrently alongside the main showcase at the Somerset House until 10th May. It is estimated that by 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. The collection of social documentary work captured by photographers from all the world pointed to conclusion – that urbanisation is rapidly accelerating, bringing the physical and environmental challenges that need to be tackled by city planners and national governments.