I received two ‘honorable mention’ awards for the 2018 International Photography Awards competition (professional category).
One award was granted for my ‘Dignity Amidst the Rubbish‘ book; the other was given for a single image called “Carrying Forward as Family.”
This is no small deal, as the International Photography Awards “conducts an annual competition for professional, amateur, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today.”
While of course I wish that I could have scored higher in this significant competition (i.e. cash award), after all these years of dedicated hard Work it is highly rewarding (and re-energizing) to (finally) be on the map … most importantly to have the places, faces, and voices of these marginalized communities be seen and heard.
Never, give up!
2018 International Photography Awards Entries
1.) Dignity Amidst the Rubbish: This photo book that places holistic reflection upon the lives of a refugee community from Burma that is living amid a rubbish dump located on the Thailand-Burma border.
Although they are living in the bowels of human society, this work focuses not on the deplorable conditions in which they live but is rather an hour-by-hour observation of this community’s cohesion amid an environment of poverty and strife.
Both documenting and reflecting upon this community, this Project also addresses sociopolitical, environmental, human rights, and global society issues.
2.) Carrying Forward as Family: While the intense Thailand sun was easing its power upon Pang Daeng Nai village, this ethnic Palong grandma and grandson took a moment’s pause and did as people all over the world do: play, share, and connect.
She immigrated to here from Myanmar — fleeing unmentionable perils of war, searching for new livelihood opportunity. He was likely born in this red-dusted and outwardly quiet community.
Even though their newfound settlement is socially marginalized, having been militarily raided multiple times, they make efficient use of meagrely available resources and carry forward — as Family.
3) For the Love of Yaki: Lawa “Yaki” Piheg is the last of her Taiwan indigenous Atayal tribe with facial tattoos that in the afterlife will appease a spiritual gatekeeper and permit her to cross the ‘rainbow bridge’ leading to her ancestors.
“Yaki” in the Atayal language respectfully means ‘elder.’ Mr. Baunay has for decades been documenting Yaki’s life, along with other indigenous elders who have all passed away. What about this connection that Baunay shares with Lawa and others?
Contemplating the bigger picture, this is also about ‘development’ and global culture change.
Moreover, what is this alluring attraction Yaki harnesses that draws so many people to her? What does this love for Yaki potentially symbolize, or even personify, regarding our connection with culture, community, the passing of time, and some inherent meanings for Us all?
4) A Moments’ Pause with Nabu Sri: During a global era of increasing political and societal tensions, this ‘moving images’ video pairs lifestyle documentary photography, video, and prose. We take ‘a moments’ pause’ and become reminded of our natural roots and the peace possible through social unity.
This video features the ‘voice’ of Nabu Sri, an elderly indigenous woman who articulates what life was like in her northern Thailand village 40 years ago. Nabu tells us about what her life is like now that capitalism and related modernity have perforated the social fabric of her village and culture.
How is this relevant to Us all?
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