Rohingya picture an 'uncomfortable' win

From left: Straits Times executive photojournalist Neo Xiaobin with Mr Masfiqur Sohan and Mr Patrick Brown at a panel discussion on conflict and refugee crises, at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday.
From left: Straits Times executive photojournalist Neo Xiaobin with Mr Masfiqur Sohan and Mr Patrick Brown at a panel discussion on conflict and refugee crises, at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

But images help show vulnerability, crisis' impact: World Press Photo winners

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 yesterday.

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. But he said it was important that the world see 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.

  • THE WORLD PRESS PHOTO EXHIBITION 2018

  • PRESENTED BY THE STRAITS TIMES

    When: Till Oct 28. Opens daily, 10am to 7pm. Admission is free.

    Where: National Museum of Singapore, Levels 1 and 2.

  • WHAT'S ON TODAY

    11am: The Rohingya Crisis: Documenting the recent mass exodus, by Mr Patrick Brown.

    1pm: Photojournalism today: A global perspective as a local photojournalist, by Mr Masfiqur Sohan.

    Guided tours: Available every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm. Register for the talks at str.sg/WPP2018

  • SUPPORTERS AND PARTNERS

    Presented by: The Straits Times

    Worldwide partner: Canon

    Venue supporter: National Museum of Singapore Outreach partners: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung; NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information; and Singapore Press Club.

    Logistics partner: Sun Paradise

    Publicity partner: Weber Shandwick

    Hotel partner: Orchard Hotel Singapore

Both men also spoke at a panel discussion last 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 of Singapore.

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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'Rohingya picture an 'uncomfortable' win'. Print Edition | Subscribe