Powerful image is an 'uncomfortable' win for photographer here for World Press Photo Exhibition

Patrick Brown said that his World Press Photo win "sits uncomfortably" on his shoulders because of the subject matter. PHOTO: PATRICK BROWN

SINGAPORE - As part of a six-month stint covering the Rohingya crisis, photojournalist Patrick Brown had to shoot the bodies of Rohingya refugees - including children - who died after their boat capsized as they were fleeing Myanmar.

"How does one do that with dignity, as a journalist, as a photographer and a storyteller? How does one do that with dignity for the people who died?" said the 49-year-old, speaking to journalists at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre on Friday (Oct 19).

It is important when depicting such scenes that the subjects be treated with respect, he said.

Though his photo of the gruesome scene clinched first prize in the general news-singles category in the World Press Photo competition, he admits the win "sits uncomfortably" on his shoulders because of the subject matter. However, he said it was important that the world sees the consequences of the ongoing crisis.

Mr Brown was joined by another World Press Photo winner, Mr Masfiqur Sohan, who said photos of the crisis help highlight the vulnerability of the refugees.

The 23-year-old won third prize, singles, in the general news category, for his photo depicting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh watching their houses burn across the border in Myanmar.

Both men also spoke at a panel discussion on Friday night on the topic of covering such conflicts, part of a series of events to mark the World Press Photo Exhibition, which will run until Oct 28 at the National Museum.

Presented by The Straits Times, the exhibition showcases 161 photos by 42 photographers from last year's contest.

The outreach partners for this year's exhibition are German think-tank Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and Singapore Press Club.

KAS media programme Asia director Christoph Grabitz said: "All these powerful photos have something in common: They are capturing moments of pure honesty and appeal to the common humanity of each and every viewer."

The World Press Photo Exhibition is open daily from 10am to 7pm, with guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit str.sg/WPP2018

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