Photogenic Asia

  • Arts
  • Saturday, 30 Nov 2013

Hairi Zulhyrie Mansoer’s winning entry Rush Hour for the Street award category.

Malaysian travel photographer shines bright at Maybank Photography Awards.

Malaysian photographers Yaman Ibrahim and Hairi Zulhyrie Mansoer made the news at the Maybank Photography Awards 2013 grand finale on Nov 27 in Kuala Lumpur by nabbing the Photographer Of The Year and Street Photography categories respectively.

Yaman Ibrahim

This ambitious sophomore edition of the Maybank Photography Awards 2013 (MPA) went beyond local shores as the competition broadened its reach with submissions received from nine Asean member countries. Initiated last year, the MPA increased its presence tremendously with this second edition, which saw 67,000 entries from across the region.

Last year’s inaugural edition, which was limited to Malaysian participants, attracted 19,000 entries. There was also a significant jump in homegrown entries with 24,000 recorded this year.

The competition, opened to all residents of Asean countries (aged 18 and above), adopted the theme "Inspiring Asia". It featured sub-categories such as Culture and Heritage, Portraits, Street, Nature, Press and People’s Choice. A photographer with submissions in more than two categories qualified to enter the Photographer Of The Year award.

Indonesian photo journalist Agus Susanto's photo that won him the Press award at the Maybank Photography Awards 2013. Agus captured a young girl crying as her family watched on as their house in a slum area located in east Jakarta was razed to the ground.

“We are proud to play our role in supporting this passion and to support the diverse facets of arts and culture which photography represents,” said Adam Wee Abdullah, Maybank group chief marketing officer. The competition offered US$35,000 (RM113,000) in total prize money, excluding a project grant by Maybank for the Photographer Of The Year award.

The final judging panel featured photo industry names Ming Thein (head judge), Michael Yamashita (National Geographic), Raghu Rai (Magnum), Jim Liaw and Manny Librodo.

Filipino photo hobbyist Carlos G. Zamora's 'How To Be A Man ...

The Klang Valley-based Yaman, 47, a professional photographer, revealed that he took part in all the categories at this year’s MPA except the Press award. His photo submissions included his travels to Sabah, India and Indonesia.

“This year’s MPA theme of Inspiring Asia was right up my alley. For photo assignments and opportunities, nothing beats the wonders and mysteries of Asia. I have travelled a lot but I must say some of my best photos have come from this side of the world,” said Yaman, who is a travel photographer with a keen sense of adventure.

His striking photos, which included a field assignment to the Siberut island in Sumatra, Indonesia to capture the daily lives of the semi-nomadic Mentawai people, attracted a lot of curious notice and questions about the origins of this tribe.

“At a glance, most people tend to think that I took photos of an Iban community. I’m glad to share my experiences with the Mentawai tribe, they are a small and isolated community,” revealed Yaman.

“This trip to document the lives of the Mentawai was a real eye-opener for me. It was no easy trip! Located about 155km from Padang, the journey to Siberut took 12 hours of travelling by ferry. Then there was a five-hour long boat ride and another four hours of trekking to reach this Mentawai long house,” he added.

Elsewhere, Penang-based freelance photographer Hairi’s spontaneous shot of a morning rush-hour crowd at an LRT station in Kuala Lumpur won the Street Photography category.

Hairi Zulhyrie Mansoer’s winning entry Rush Hour for the Street award category.

“I love to capture the hustle and bustle of daily life. That shot – Rush Hour – captures the blur of people on their way to work. It’s my take on the daily grind of life,” said Hairi, who was on his way to a morning meeting in Kuala Lumpur, when he took that winning picture at the Masjid Jamek LRT station.

The other main MPA 2013 winners: Myanmar’s Yar Dee Bar (Culture and Heritage award), Indonesia’s Zero Sepanto (Nature award), Philippines’ Carlo G. Zamora (Portraits award) and Indonesia’s Agus Susanto (Press award).

> The Maybank Photography Awards 2013 exhibition opens at Centre for Asian Photographers, 100 L1.019, The School Block J, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor on Tuesday. Free admission. Exhibition times: weekdays (3pm to 10pm), weekend (10am to 10pm). More info at

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Photogenic Asia


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