PX3 People’s Choice Awards Double Win

More good news from this years PX3 Prix de la Photographie Awards with a double win in the People’s Choice Awards. So a big thank you to all the people out there who voted for the Lady and Tun Lin Kyaw, her former bodyguard.

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Mizzima Article on Meeting The Lady

Interview with Jim Andrews for an online interview on the Mizzima website about both the PX3 awards for my recent work on Burma and also about meeting The Lady.

You can read the full article online at the Mizzima website

Burma Wins Big at the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Awards

One of the biggest and most prestigious photography awards in Europe, the “PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris” have announced the winners in the annual event that celebrates a huge spectrum of photography from Photojournalism to Fine Art. With thousands of entrants from 85 countries including many of the world’s top photographers from agencies such as Panos Pictures and VII it is extremely pleasing and also humbling to win four awards – two golds, one silver and one bronze and an honourable mention – all for recent work in Burma and on the Thai-Burma border.

The winning images and photo-stories are as follows:

Aung San Suu Kyi: At Home With Burma’s Hope“:
Gold in Photojournalism (People)
Silver in Photojournalism (Political)
Honourable Mention in Portraiture

Burma’s democracy icon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, photographed at home at 54 University Avenue

The Prison Without Bars“:
Gold in Photojournalism (Political)

From the refugee camps scattered along the border with Burma to the safe houses of Mae Sot to those who have been resettled to third countries, the daily lives of Burma’s former political prisoners are documented as they continue their fight in the struggle to bring democracy to Burma as well as their own personal fight for freedom.

Burma’s Defiance: Bo Kyi
Bronze in Photojournalism (Political)

“Burma’s Defiance” an ongoing long term project both inside Burma as well as in exile, documenting dissidents and human rights defenders still leading the fight against the ruling military regime in spite of threats and harassment from the authorities in the quest to bring freedom to their country.

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It is a huge honour to win these awards but most importantly it gives an audience and a platform to the subject matter and the issues concerned. This is the reason why as photographers so many of us take these pictures and follow these stories – personal satisfaction in the process and challenge of learning, helping and making a difference. Awards are due not to me but to the people in my pictures due to the struggles they have had to endure. My thanks, of course go to each and every one of them.

Norway Day 1: Norway & Nobel – A Perfect Blend

After a summer recess longer than even the politicians can manage, we are finally back on the road. A great feeling. Back doing what we do best. Not that we’ve just been sitting around enjoying the sun – far from it in fact, as the last few months have seen Amnesty International launch a major campaign for political prisoners using our work and saw us photograph the British Deputy Prime Minister. But all this time the really important work has been continuing in the background – can’t reveal what yet but one day we will. Justice will prevail.

The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) in Oslo, Norway

An early start as we’re Oslo bound (again) for a catch up with friends plus meetings at DVB before flying to Bergen on Saturday to meet with Ma Kaythi Aye, Ko Cho Cho Tun and the many other former political prisoners living there. A quick three day trip before the election to keep the pressure up and it started in the usual rush of near missed buses, trains and flights but we got here in the end. The only major hiccup was whisky. Not the blend – just too much whisky. But this time not a drop was drunk and my over exuberance got the better of me and as I strolled through customs in Oslo airport I was pulled aside and asked to explain what I was doing with 4 bottles of whisky? The simple answer “I’m Burmese” didn’t wash. A £100 fine and 3 bottles confiscated was not the start I was looking for. Now how are we going to celebrate winning the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow?

DVB broadcasts TV and radio programmes back into Burma

We finally made it to the office and it was great to see everyone again. An afternoon chatting and planning and the usual friendly family atmosphere and just time for some relaxed shots around the office as the day unfolds – no portraits or work documenting today as we’ve already photographed the former political prisoners here in Oslo and at DVB last year. A relaxed evening spent with friends at Ma Thida’s apartment and her kind hospitality ahead of the big announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow – another reason why we are here. DVB are one of the main contenders if the stories are to be believed and 19 years after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded hers it couldn’t come too soon for DVB. Naturally I am biased but it would be an extraordinarily worthwhile victory if it was to be awarded to them – a timely victory at the very least as the elections are now exactly 1 month away. I am lucky to be here and even luckier to be able to work with them. Keep your fingers crossed and tune in to the announcement live as a webcast on the Nobel website.

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The Public be Warned of Interviews in the Airwaves – RFA, VOA & BBC

Following on from the announcement earlier today of the double award recognition at the ‘Prix de la Photographie Paris 2010’ awards for both this project for Burma’s political prisoners and my other recent work for the Mae Tao clinic the airwaves were full of us saboteurs as RFA, VOA and BBC all kindly did interviews with me allowing me the opportunity to talk about Burma’s political prisoners as well as the Mae Tao clinic and the refugee situation for a change.

MRTV broadcasts warnings of ‘killers in the airwaves’

You can read an article about the two award victories here on the RFA website or you can listen to the ‘killers in the airwaves’ doing interviews below:

Click below to listen to the 3 interviews:

BBC Burmese interview 07 June 2010

Two Major Photojournalism Awards at ‘Prix de la Photographie Paris 2010’

In what could well prove to be the the start of one of the most important periods in time for this work for Burma’s political prisoners I was woken to the sound of a text message from the other side of the world… “Another double for Burma”. I had a feeling what it was about and so rushed online to check in for the results. To my absolute astonishment and overwhelming joy and pride for all those involved in both pieces of work, I saw that I had won both 1st and 2nd prize in the Prix de la Photographie Paris 2010 Political Photojournalism – this project took the second place whilst it was my other work for the Mae Tao clinic that took top honours (you can see it here). Shocked. Stoked. Speechless.

For full details you can download the full press release here: PX3 2010 Press Release

This new award like those before it are not for me or for my ability in having taken any of these photographs. That’s the easiest thing to do when you have an emotional connection to something. All these awards and recognition belong to the people who have taken part in this project – the 167 former political prisoners and the 2,157 currently in jail and the many hundreds I am yet to meet. In particular I’d like to dedicate this award to the former political prisoners living a stateless life on the Thai-Burma border. In a world where true courage is so rarely rewarded, these people bear dignity, and show strength like no other in the face of an unknown future having just escaped a very forgettable past. Exactly the same goes for the award for the Mae Tao clinic and the hundreds of people it cares for each day. Human dignity and the suffering it has been forced to endure at the hands of the brutal military regime knows no bounds.

It was the most amazing start to the week and I’m hoping it’s the next launchpad for this work and my involvement in Burma. Last year this project got its first major chance of exposure when it won runner-up prize in the Amateur category of Political Photojournalism but this year to win both 1st and 2nd place in the professional photographers category is my biggest achievement to date. First contact of the day is of course with those who have made both projects happen and very special thanks to those people – at the Mae Tao clinic it’s to my good friend Eh Thwa and of course Dr Cynthia and the thanks for this work for Burma’s political prisoners of course goes to AAPP, DVB and every single one of the 167 former PPs that I’ve photographed all over the world, the 2,157 currently detained and also to the many hundreds I am yet to meet on this fabulous journey. Without them there is nothing and with them there is everything.

Though imprisoned they are everywhere with us.

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On Becoming a Friend Of Burma

Competition wins, awards and back slapping congratulations are all well and good but are only any use if they can help to promote the message that the work contains – and in my case that message is Burma and it’s 2,176 political prisoners. The most meaningful and also often the most prestigious recognition that one can achieve is from one’s peers and the very people that the work is about. Last week I had the greatest honour being interviewed by Nyan Winn Aung at Radio Free Asia for the feature show “Friends of Burma”. I am truely amazed to be joining a long list of highly esteemed and respected activists including Debbie Stothard (ALTSEAN), Jeremy Woodrum (US Campaign for Burma), Ms.Yuki Akimoto (Director of Burma-Info), Mark Farmaner (BCUK) to name a few – all of whom I look up to with great admiration and respect for their untiring work for Burma’s Democracy movement. To be considered a “Friend of Burma” (and in such company) is truely my greatest achievement yet. My only hope is that it will help keep the names and silent voices of those 2,176 at the forefront of everyone’s hearts and minds.

Thank you to Nyan Winn Aung at RFA for a really enjoyable interview that went on for just over an hour!! But you can listen to the edited version of the interview here

The hard work is only just beginning as 2010 is a matter of a few days away… but for now the perfect end to the year and the perfect Christmas gift – a”Friend of Burma”. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this work to date.

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RFA interview & article on FCCT win

Further to the win at the FCCT Awards 2009 Radio Free Asia did a short interview and subsequent article online – in Burmese only.

To read the article click here

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Interview with VOA (Voice of America)

Interview with VOA (Voice of America) to discuss the project, the recent award from the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand and the current situation of political prisoners in Burma.

To listen to the interview click this link VOA interview 10 Dec 09

Interview reproduced here with kind permission of VOA

Established in June of 1943, the Burmese Service is one of the oldest language services in the Voice of America, an international multimedia broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government. The VOA Burmese Service broadcasts to Burma ninety minutes per day, with three broadcasts in the morning, evening, and night, Rangoon time.

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FCCT Photojournalism Award Victory

Celebrations all around as the project scoops its second award – this time from the prestigious Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT). Dedicated as always to all political prisoners both current and former, this was definitely one I was really wanting to get and to win recognition here is such a great feeling as it means the issue of Burma and more importantly the issue of Political Prisoners is highlighted to South East Asia’s top journalists and media. At a time when dialogue is supposedly starting between the Generals and the outside world we need every opportunity possible to keep the spotlight on political prisoners and for the next two months images from this project will be exhibited at the FCCT in Bangkok as a constant reminder of the 2,100+ political prisoners currently languishing in jail.

Full details of the awards and exhibition can be found on the FCCT website

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