Q & A with Yong Lin Tan – Sony WPO Youth Photographer of the Year 2015

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Photo by Andrew Suryono, from Facebook

I caught up with Yong Lin Tan by email and put the following questions to him, when he had arrived back in Malaysia, after a whirlwind trip to London for a weekend at the Sony World Photography Awards to receive his prize.

Q. At what age did you take up photography?

YLT. I paint since I was a young boy and I was thinking of trying photography as a different medium to create and express. I took up photography as a hobby at the age of 17 when my mother actually agreed to buy me my first SLR camera by signing the 3 years instalment plan for it, as we could not really afford it at that time.

Q. What were you photographing when you first started?

YLT. Basically, scenery of paddy fields in Alor Setar, because my grandparents house is there and every school holiday and Chinese New Year my mom would bring us to visit and have a short or long stay there, for sure.

Q. Do you have any mentor, established photographers whose works you follow?

YLT. I am a self learner, and I follow quite a wide range of works from different types of photography, whether established or just pure hobbyists.

Q. Who do you admire in your field of photography?

YLT. My photography subject’s lecturer when I was in my foundation study in Creative Multimedia – Che Ahmad Azhar, basically his dedication towards his street photography works – “Walk of Life” and the body of work itself, has inspired me.

Q. What is next for you, now that you have won your first major award?

YLT. I will keep shooting in Alor Setar and maybe some other parts of Malaysia, explored or unexplored. I wish to initiate more projects, photo essays and focus on the environmental issues in Malaysia, but it will consume a longer time and I need to do more in-depth research during my free time.

Q. Are you working on any long term projects?

YLT. Yes, documenting and capturing the environment and the unseen life in my mother’s hometown & grandparents home – Alor Setar.

Q. Would this award make you take a more serious attitude to your photography?

YLT. I am serious towards photography since the day I received my first camera. It is still unknown that whether one day photography will turn into my main career or profession but for now I will just ride the wind and do what I love.

Q. Do you believe photography can make the world a better place?

YLT. Definitely, not only photography I believe but any other medium in art such as painting or film which can be used to deliver a particular message and I wish I could prove it one day.

Q. How did you break the news of your award to your parents?

YLT. Haha ..  I called and inform my mother first and she eventually passed the news on to my father, then my grandparents. They are not really that surprised at first because they thought it is just a small competition but when they realise it was the WPO and they will be flying me to London they are actually quite shocked and surprised, and worried as well, because I personally have not been to any airport and have never traveled so far before !

~ Steven Lee

Malaysian photographer wins Youth Photographer of the Year

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.”

Back Alley

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.

Early DawnEarly Dawn

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.

http://www.worldphoto.org

SONY WPO – MALAYSIAN BAGS TOP YOUTH PRIZE 2015 – SYABAS!!

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 21.53.53
I am so pleased and thrilled to formally announce another embargoed news!
19 year old Yong Lin Tan from Penang, has beaten the other finalists, and has been awarded Youth Photographer of the Year for his stunning image Back Alley, (same image he won the environment category for).
Here is a link to his winning image: http://bit.ly/1aPENlt
Tan was flown to London to attend the awards, and received his prizes amongst a gathered posse of world journalists at Somerset House in London this morning.
Mong-Young Sim, also from Malaysia, was also awarded 3rd place winner in the professional Still Life Category.
Here is a quick link to his winning series, Greenvironmenthttp://bit.ly/1Oc0gaJ

Syabas! Syabas!

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT BY SONY WPO

Malaysian photographer wins Youth Photographer of the Year

at 2015 Sony World Photography awards, the world’s largest photography competition

Fellow Malaysian awarded 3rd place in Professional Still Life category

L’Iris d’Or/Professional Photographer of the Year plus other Professional category winners and overall Open and Student winners also announced – see all at http://www.worldphoto.org

Images available at press.worldphoto.org or Image.net


23 April: The Honorary Jury of the world’s largest photography competition today names 19 year old Malaysian Yong Lin Tan as the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards’ Youth Photographer of the Year.  In addition, Mong-Young Sim is awarded 3rd place in the Professional Still Life category.

Yong Lin Tan, from Penang Island, was selected as the overall Youth winner from the three Youth category winners who were revealed in March.  The Youth competition is open to all photographers aged 19 and under and is judged on a single shot. 

Back Alley

Tan won for an image titled “Back alley”.  The photograph was taken during Chinese New Year in 2014 and was shot in a passageway in his grandmother’s house in Alor Setar, Kedah.

Talking about his win Tan comments: “I am very thankful and appreciate this recognition; all my hard work and dedication over the years of my photographic journey have paid off.  The journey is never easy but I believe that winning this award gives me more opportunities to share my works, especially those of my country – Malaysia – and my mom’s hometown – Alor Setar – to the world.  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.”

Tan was flown to London and presented his award and the latest Sony digital imaging equipment at a gala ceremony attended by industry leaders. 

Fellow Malaysian Mong-Yong Sim was selected from over 87,000 entries to the Professional competition for a series called “Greenvironment”.  It was awarded third place in the Still Life category.

Describing the series Sim comments: “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.”

The work of both Malaysian photographers will be shown at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House, London and will be published in the 2015 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book.

Now in its eighth year, the Sony World Photography Awards annually presents the world’s best contemporary photography across a range of genres and is the world’s largest photography competition.  Free to enter and open to photographers of all abilities, it is an authoritative voice in the photographic world and attracts both emerging talent and established artists. 

The awards’ international judging juries are comprised of esteemed industry experts and the competition offers incredible exposure, credibility and recognition not only to its winners, but also those on its shortlist.  The 2015 awards attracted recording breaking entries, with 173,444 images submitted from 171 countries, confirming its position as the world’s biggest photography competition.

Here are all the winners of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards announced on 23 April :

Open Photographer of the Year – Armin Appel, Germany
Youth Photographer of the Year – Yong Lin Tan, Malaysia
Student Focus Photographer of the Year – Svetlana Blagodareva, Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Russia
Outstanding Contribution to Photography – Elliott Erwitt

Professional competition category winners

  • Architecture- Cosmin Bumbuț, Romania
  • Arts & Culture- Aristide Economopoulos, United States
  • Campaign- Sebastian Gil Miranda, France (lives in Argentina)
  • Conceptual- Rahul Talukder, Bangladesh
  • Contemporary Issues – Scott Typaldos, Switzerland
  • Current Affairs- John Moore, United States
  • Landscape- Simon Norfolk, United Kingdom
  • Lifestyle – Li Fan, China
  • People- Giovanni Troilo, Italy
  • Portraiture- Ruben Salgado Escudero, Spain (lives in Myanmar)
  • Sport – Riccardo Bononi, Italy
  • Still Life- Donald Weber, Canada
  • Travel – Bernhard Lang, Germany