Reflections on a lonely soul

Art March 14, 2013 00:00

By Phatarawadee Phataranawik

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A Myanmar photographer wins the top prize at this year's edition of Bangkok's International Photography Contest

A black-and-white image depicting an old man deep in thought walking through a small foggy town recently picked up the grand prize at Bangkok’s International Photography Contest.

The winning photo “2 Group and 1” was shot by Myanmar photographer Kyaw Kyaw Winn, who beat 473 photographers from around the world in this year’s competition, which is hosted by Silpakorn University, the Thailand Photography Association and the Narissara Nuwatthiwongse Foundation. The theme this year was “Change” and just 120 shots from more than 1,600 entries made it into the final rounds.

The 35-year-old lensman is well known for his travel photography portraying charming culture, Buddhism and Myanmar’s virgin nature.

His “Young Monks from Myanmar” showing young Buddhist monks in the Shwesandaw Temple won the grand prize in the 2009 edition of Smithsonian magazine’s photo contest. One year later his “Beauty of Mrauk Oo City” showing two monk in front of foggy pagodas won another top award at the same contest.

Kyaw Kyaw Winn’s photographry career began as a hobby and in 1998 he signed up for training at Rangoon College. He now works as a tutor at the Myanmar Photographic Society.

Unlike his signature travel photos, “2 Group and 1” deals with humanity. The winning photo shows the old man in the foreground as he passes by large pile of concrete slabs and two groups of people chatting, the fog blurring them as if in a dream.

“I changed my style and the process of capture,” he says. “That day I was looking for someone to be my focus point for my scenic shot of a foggy town. I saw an old man immersed in his thoughts walking alone. I followed him and tried to capture his loneliness. I believe that this photo represents ‘change’ between the old man and the two groups of people surrounding him,” the winner explains

Among five runners up are two Thais. Peerapan Wijitkraiwin’s “Choice” depicts a man standing in the middle of a road with an arrow on either pointing in the opposite direction while Ruth Deeprom’s “Walk Across” shows two men carrying a coffin across a road. The others Vietnamese Hoang Ngoc Thach’s “Marine Invasive”, Polish Jacek Cislo’s “Time Passes” and Indian Parmar Piyush C’s “It Happens only in India”.

The contest also gave 10 honourable awards to five Thais and five Asians: Indians Ghanshyam Kahar and Suresh Parekn, Do Phuog Mai and Huynh Hiep from Vietnam and Thandar Soe from Myanmar.


The winning photos along with “Cooked Crabs-Raw Crabs” by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be on display at Silpakorn University from April 25 to May 6. Call (02) 849 7538 or e-mail