It feel almost bizarre to say it, but I actually JUST had my very first camera in my life. Although I wouldn't say photography is my strongest suit, it has always been something I often appreciate (as a major instagrammer), as I feel like photography often captures - not only does it capture a moment of time, but also a collective memory that belongs to you and me, or a group of people. It could be a share of laughter, a sheer moment belongs to you and the people in the photograph. As a spectator, it captures your mind, your train of thoughts while you're looking at a photo, and some very good ones even makes you question about life, the society, morality.. and here are a few remarkable ones that have captured me from the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition.
'We are taking no prisoners' by Alessio Romenzi
What is the meaning of war? That question reminds me of a project I did in high school, questioning the role of UN in warfare, where do they stand and where should we stand? We might be living thousands of miles away but war is happening right a the moment we speak, I think these photos captures the fragility and vulnerability, even as soldiers. The offensive to liberate Sirte, self-proclaimed capital of the so-called Islamic State in Libya was launched in May. It took months of fighting, hundred of American airstrikes, hundred of soldiers dead and more than thousands injured. The offensive has been slow and fierce. The Libyan soldiers were actually mostly civilians with no military training. The leaders of the operation also considered it their priority to save the civilians (women and children) trapped. But in the last weeks of the offensive, the distinction between civilians and militants became vague; some women, allegedly the wives of ISIS, blew themselves up while soldiers were trying to save them.
'The Longings of Others' by Sandra Hoyn, Germany
Why her? You may wonder. Looking at these photos make me feel lucky, this probably feels cruel to say but I do feel very lucky to be born in a free society where me as a woman still have rights to choose, to voice out and to act the way I want because these rights do not come naturally, nor should it be earned. These collective of photos are taken from a brothel in Bangladesh which has existed for some 200 years. More than 700 sex workers live and work here with their children and their madams. Many of the women were either trafficked or born inside the brothel's walls and in this way their livelihood is secure. Their customers are policemen, politicians, farmers, fishermen, factory workers and groups of teenage boys. The brothel is a place with its own rules and power hierarchies, which are completely different from mainstream society. The most vulnerable stage is when a young sex worker enters the brothel, when she is called a bonded girl. Officially, sex workers must be 18 years old, but most are underage and bonded girls are usually 12 to 14 years old. They have no freedom or rights; they belong to a madam, have debts and are not allowed to go outside or keep their money. From the moment a woman has paid her debts, she is free to leave, but very often, they don't and can't.
'The Twins Olympics Dream' by Yuan Peng, China
This series was taken in a sports school in Jining, in Shandong province where Liu Bingqing and Liu Yujie are twin sisters, who have liked gymnastics since their childhood. They have studied, trained and grown up here.. But as you look at the photos, it makes you wonder.. do they really? Do they know why they are there? What are dreams? The hangings on the wall says "Olympics is my dream" but it almost felt ironic looking into the pain and tears of these children.