The Sony World Photography Awards was launched in 2007 by the World Photography Organisation (WPO) to recognise and reward the best contemporary photographers in the world, and it has, since its inception, become the biggest photography competition in the world.
Anyone is free to enter the competition; professionals, amateurs, or novices, and since interest in photography has soared in recent years, the entries received have increased as well. The 2016 Sony World Photography Award received 230,103 entries from 186 countries, which is a 33% increase compared to 2015. In Malaysia alone, there was a 143% increase of entries compared to last year.
This award is so grand that winners not only win valuable equipment, but are propelled into the spotlight. Their name, and more importantly their work, is showcased to the world and professionals in the industry.
This year, eight Malaysians have made it into the shortlist in six categories as chosen by a panel of expert judges from around the world. Should they win, they will receive their award at a fancy gala with industry leaders from around the globe in attendance. Both shortlisted and winning entries will also be displayed in an exhibition during the awards gala at the Somerset House in London.
The Malaysian shortlisted entries
1. Nick Ng, Professional Candid
Nick is based in Kuala Lumpur, and was the 2015 winner in the Open Low Light category. His entry is a series of photos entitled ‘If You Don’t Drink Tea, You Are Not Chinese’ which is a reflection of traditional Chinese teahouses in China and the fast-disappearing culture due to economic modernisation policies.
The modern generation now frequents Starbucks for their cuppas, these images are a portrayal of how life used to be, and still is, for these older generation… their very own “Starbucks” in a world that has stood the test of time.
– Nick Ng, on his entry
2. Khairel Anuar Che Ani, Open Split Second
Khairel is a self-taught photographer and his works have been exhibited and published in Malaysia and UK since 2008. His entry is a photograph taken during the Melasti Festival in Bali of young performers whose expressions betray their otherwise colourful and cheerful costumes.
3. Theng Sin Chong, Open Low Light
This amateur photographer and avid traveller was shortlisted for his entry, ‘Cemetery in Iceland’, of a bright moon shining down on a cemetery.
4. Joseph Cheung Yin Fang, Open Split Second
Also based in KL, Joseph is a self-taught photographer who makes it a point to travel to photograph the world. His entry was an opportune shot of a young boy in Bali who creates a ‘heart’ shape out of water at the River of Tukad Yeh Unda in Klungkung Sub-District.
5. Swee Choo Oh, Open Arts and Culture
Swee Choo Oh is based in the US and has a background in architecture, so the main focus of this award-winning fine art photographer is interior photography and architecture, with an interest in people, light, shadows, forms and textures. Oh’s entry is an imgae of a lady at a lantern store in Hoi An, Vietnam.
6. Tan Jia Yi, Open Travel
Tan Jia Yi runs a photography academy in Selangor and has been a passionate photographer for over 20 years. His works have been recognised internationally, including winning the 2013 National Geographic Photography Contest. Yi’s photograph was taken at Sanur beach in Bali and is entitled ‘Smiling Temple’.
7. Zhu Lin Ch’ng, Youth Culture
A student and photographer based in KL, Zhu Lin Ch’ng discovered photography in high school and has been practising for two years. His entry is that of a night market in Thailand.
8. Ramadhan Sinclair, Youth Culture
Currently studying in Kajang, 17 year old Ramadhan Sinclair took an interest in photography at the age of 13. Sinclair’s entry was taken at the terraced rice fields in Longji, China and is entitled ‘One of the best’.
The winners will be announced in stages. On 15th March, the winner of the National Awards will be announced; the best single shot taken by a photographer of that country. On the 29th of March, the winners of the Open and Youth categories will be released and on 21st April, the Professional category winners will be announced as well as the Photographer of the Year each category.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they win. The competition is tough and there are many incredible photos out there, but we have faith. Either way, though, we’re extremely proud of our Malaysian photographers for being shortlisted from over 200,000 entries. That is no easy feat.
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