What better way to delve into the world of photojournalism than by speaking to those who live and breathe this visual form of storytelling? We highlight 6 photojournalists, their best images and the stories behind them.
Social documentary and humanitarian photographer
“My most memorable project is shooting in Nepal a week after the earthquake in April 2015. I was at the epicentre, a village called Barpak, in Gorkha district. Until I got there or even weeks after, I only saw images of sobbing and frowning people in local and international media, but what I actually witnessed in Barpak was a sense of resolution rather than dissolution. People were providing for themselves and trying to rebuild their lives.
When I was there recently to cover a 'one year later' story, I saw the same attitude. Nobody did a positive story at the time, so I decided to do one for Huffington Post to highlight the unsurpassable strength and courage of Gorkhali people. I realised how mentally strong these people are. It made me feel positive at a time of distress. The world needed to know how strong, resistant and positive these people are.”
Multimedia journalist and documentary filmmaker
“This is Zebolon Simantov, the last Jew in Afghanistan. I had heard of Simantov, who was said to be living in Kabul. My fixer and I walked all around the city asking people if they knew him and where he lived. We finally found his apartment above a cafe.
He was a very good storyteller and he even brought me on a tour of an abandoned synagogue in the building, which used to be filled with Afghan Jews praying back in the day. They are all gone now.
Simantov's wife and children have also left for Israel. They want him to join them but he refuses because, in his own words, ‘I am an Afghan Jew! So I stay in Afghanistan’.”
“Think you’re having a rough day at the office? Imagine what this rider felt after a grueling race spanning 230km across the tours of Malaysia. I had waited anxiously for the riders to complete the race and amidst all the commotion, the sight of Gong Hyo Suk caught my eye.
Down but definitely not out and with his emotions riding high, I quickly captured this visceral moment. It’s definitely one that stood out for me at Le Tour Langkawi 2016. I love that I get to bring my audience as close as possible to the professional peloton, and capture behind the scenes emotions that you don’t necessarily get to see on television.”
“While most know Malacca for its historic colonial towns and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this image portrays the rarely-seen side of Malaysia’s unofficial historic capital.
I shot this image at Pantai Klebang, a coastal town in Malacca famed for its sand dunes, looking very much like that of deserts. While most would shoot Klebang in the day, I chose to capture its beauty at night and was surprised at how the place was transformed. I love how travel exposes me to new imagery and experiences. After all, travel is about exploration, and an adventure of continuous discovery."
Geng Hui Tan
“I was covering DBS Marina Regatta 2015 and SEA Games 2015 Traditional Boat Race, which were held concurrently. Throughout the races, I could feel the adrenaline rush even as my eyes were locked and focused through the viewfinder and my right index finger ready to capture any moments.
You could see the whole crew was very committed and very determined to make Singapore proud. I was happy to capture this moment, and happy for them too, for winning the Bronze medal for Singapore.”
“My image of SEA Games 2015 volunteers taking a wefie is my most memorable photojournalism moment. It represents my amazing experience at the Games. We were under the hot sun and heavy rain, exhausted, chased by deadlines, so much drama (I even lost my phone during that time) but we were in high spirits, inspired by the fighting spirit of the athletes and the human spirit of our volunteer friends.
To be able to capture the winning hugs, tears of joy or defeat and to be able to share that story, for me is a privilege of photojournalism that needs to be earned.”
Profile of writer
Azmin Zainal has been in love with the written word ever since she could well, read. Relatively new to all things digital, so show her some love. Still searching for the meaning of life, whatever that is. Loves coffee, good conversations, fried chicken and Roger Federer. Not necessarily in that order.