Capturing snapshots of life from Asian and European perspectives

Ms Lee and Ms Tilmantaite with their winning shots, selected from more than 1,500 entries submitted by professional and budding photographers from 50 Asef partner countries.
Ms Lee and Ms Tilmantaite with their winning shots, selected from more than 1,500 entries submitted by professional and budding photographers from 50 Asef partner countries.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

It was Ms Lee Ju Shen's first entry in a photography contest.

But the global environmental manager's shot of a flock of pigeons surrounding an old woman feeding them in Thimphu, Bhutan, won her the Asia Jury Prize in the "On the Go" competition organised by the non-profit Asia-Europe Foundation (Asef).

"I'm really honoured by this win," said the 47-year-old, who took up photography as a hobby three years ago. "I'm not a professional photographer, but I'm glad to share my passion with everyone."

Along with Europe Jury Prize winner Berta Tilmantaite, 30, from Lithuania, Ms Lee received her award yesterday from Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Ministry of Finance) at Lasalle College of the Arts.

Ms Tilmantaite's work features a woman sleeping on a boat next to crashing waves in Myanmar.

The winning images were selected from more than 1,500 entries submitted by professional and budding photographers from 50 Asef partner countries.

The ceremony took place at the Singapore launch of an exhibition of selected competition entries as part of Asef's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting, a biennial forum where European and Asian leaders discuss political, economic and cultural issues in the two regions.

The exhibition showcases the differences and similarities among Asians and Europeans via photography, and is themed around the motion and pace of life.

Ms Lee said: "My photo was taken in a very Asian environment... but the concept of birds in flight is universal - you see a similar image wherever you are."

Ms Gwen Lee, director of the Singapore International Photography Festival and one of the three judges of the contest, said: "Selecting the winners was a difficult decision for us. But ultimately, we were struck by the underlying narratives in the (winning) images - of time movement and motion. They have a real quality that makes a viewer pause and stand still - that was what we were looking for."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'Capturing snapshots of life from Asian and European perspectives'. Print Edition | Subscribe