On the bright coasts of Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia, local squid fishermen invest months on rickety wooden platforms, wishing to land as numerous big catches as possible. These platforms typically attract an abundance of aquatic life, which in turn draws the attention of whale sharks, thought about best of luck by the regional individuals. A whale shark's visit also proved to be good luck for Italian photographer Alex Varani, who managed to photograph an encounter with one of these mild giants in Cenderawasih Bay. This striking image, illustrating a unique conference of the worlds of male and nature, took the top reward in Travel Photographer Asia's 2016 Photo Contest, winning Varani over RM20,000 worth of prizes.
Varani's prize-winning photo, in addition to many others of the landscapes, cultures and individuals of Asia, will be on display throughout Travel Photographer Asia's exhibit of the Best 50 Photographs of Asia, which will be showing at White Box, Publika in Kuala Lumpur, on May 26.
"It's a great location to go to open your mind, and take in the beauty of Asia. There is a great deal of interesting locations here, and it is a fantastic chance for you to see them in methods the majority of people have not seen," states Ahsan Qureshi, the creator of Travel Photographer Asia (TPA).
Founded in 2014, TPA is a unique travel photography celebration consisting of picture contest, photography masterclass, talks and workshops for the professional and amateur photographer.
According to Ahsan, the exhibit is a showcase of the very best entries received for TPA's 2016 image contest, which ran previously this year.
Six from the 50 pictures on display are from Malaysian professional photographers. It will be curated by Australian travel photographer Drew Hopper, who is among the exhibition's nine-person jury of worldwide photography professionals.
Every photo (taken in Asia, the Middle East or Australia) was judged for its imagination, originality, structure, creative merit and material.
This is the second year of the TPA contest, which is arranged by TPA in association with FujiFilm X.
"I have been living in Malaysia for seven years," says Ahsan, a professional photographer, who originally comes from Pakistan.
"We had a lot of fascinating entries in 2012. Some were from developed names, however there were also numerous beginners makingit into the leading 50," he includes.
For the record, the Kuala Lumpur International Photo awards, which focuses mainly on portraiture, has actually been around for nearly 10 years. The TPA, according to Ahsan, seeks to expand the scope of a photography celebration in Kuala Lumpur.
"There is just the Obscura Festival - for a broadly programmed-med photography fest - and that's in Penang," he points out.
Checking out the TPA exhibit, it is simple to have your breath removed. The images are a wonderful display of the beauty and variety of Asia, a lot of them telling rich stories through visual splendor.
The Tsataan Women with Reindeer, taken by Madoka Ikegami from Japan, for example, catches an ethnic Mongolian woman with her buddy, a full-grown snow-white reindeer.
Hands, taken by Sanjay Ramani from India, knocks one's socks off as it showcases Gujarati female brick workers and their strength of spirit. This image, with its use of lighting, impressed the judges enough to win second runner up in the TPA picture contest.
The first runner up reward went to Celebrating Victory by Bangladeshi photographer Md Khalid RayhanShawon, which reveals children using a half-finished building while an aircraft flew close by.
According to Ahsan, that image required thorough checking, due to a current controversy at a Singaporean photography contest, which also involved an image of an airplane.
"We asked for the raw files of the photo, and we found it was a real image. The photographer did not include anything in it. He may have prepared for it, however this actually happened. It's gorgeous," states Ahsan.
Myanmarese photographer ZarniMyo Win's Fisherman Family, reveals a Myanmarese household returning from a trip to a fish market, their figures sticking out against the sharp contours of the Irawaddy River. Malaysian photographer Hong Hey Moh's Go Home is a wonderful marvel as it showcases a standard Bajau house on stilts in the azure waters of Semporna in Sabah.
Ahsan includes that in 2012's TPA contest saw 3,445 entries from photographers of 90 citizenships, with 30 percent of the entries originating from Malaysian photographers. This is an increase of about 800 entries from the previous year.
Many of the entries, however, needed to be rejected at the early stages of evaluating.
"We did not permit HDR (high dynamic range) or heavy post adjustment images. It was really clear in the contest guidelines, but people still sent them. I think people ought to read the rules and policies in the future," he says.
For the entries that had certified, however, Ahsan stated he has actually been really amazed with the imagination and diversity on display.
He likewise shares his ideas on ways to be an excellent travel photographer.
example, you have to find out the best timing for your photo. You need to make certain it is the right season, that they will exist, and so on," he explains.
The TPA exhibition will also host photography talks on May 28, which will be paneled by DrShahidulAlam (acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer/ activist), New York-based travel professional photographer Tewfic El-Sawy, lecturer/photographer Che Ahmed Azhar, VignesBalasingam (Obscura Festival director) and Huang Wen (from China's news company Xinhua).
Admission is complimentary, however only open to the first 200 people who register at email@example.com.
Ahsan exposes larger plans for next year's TPA exhibition, that includes opening more classifications for the image competitors and conducting photography residencies in Malaysia. For in 2012, however, he hopes that the TPA exhibit will broaden minds and expand horizons.
"I hope it will motivate people to go to the locations in the program, and perhaps take even much better photographs!" he states with a smile.
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