Unplanned delay helped ST photojournalist snap Trump-Kim image chosen for Time's top 2018 photos

The Straits Times executive photojournalist Kevin Lim's photo of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from the back was featured in Time magazine's Top 100 Photos of 2018.
The Straits Times executive photojournalist Kevin Lim's photo of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from the back was featured in Time magazine's Top 100 Photos of 2018.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Despite being the only pool photographer for Singapore at the Trump-Kim summit, Mr Kevin Lim's photos were widely distributed to media outlets around the world - such as Reuters and the Associated Press - earlier this year.

The 36-year-old Straits Times executive photojournalist's skills were further recognised on Wednesday (Dec 5) when his photo of United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from the back was featured in Time magazine's Top 100 Photos of 2018.

Deputy director of photography at Time Andrew Katz also chose Mr Lim's photo as one of the images for an Instagram post on the photo package on Saturday.

Mr Lim acknowledged that getting picked for the Top 100 was not an easy feat, and that it was "definitely an honour" and recognition for the effort he had put in.

However, he would not have got the shot if not for what seemed like a series of unfortunate events at the time.

While covering the historic meeting earlier in June, he faced a number of administrative and security delays. As a result, by the time he reached the designated area for photographers, there was no space left for him in the photographer's pen.

 
 
 
 

With time running out, he had no time to feel upset. Instead, he quickly climbed onto a nearby platform meant for video crew.

The platform was packed as well - Mr Lim said there was "barely enough space to stand or move there" - but he sensed an opportunity with the elevated view it offered.

It was this unplanned vantage point that allowed him to snap the perfect shot. While photographers in the pen had their view obstructed by the leaders' entourage, Mr Lim had a brief chance to get a clear shot of the leaders - and he took it.

"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise... The opportunity revealed itself for barely a second," he said.

Mr Lim said he was grateful to his supervisor, ST photo editor Stephanie Yeow, for putting her faith in him and sending him to cover the event.

He added that the feature was not just an honour for him, but for Singaporean photographers as well.

He said: "It goes to show that there are good photographers in Singapore. It's just that we never really get a chance to get in touch with matters on the world stage... Opportunities like (the Trump-Kim summit) don't come every day."

And when such opportunities do present themselves, Mr Lim said his photo is proof that he and other Singaporean photographers "can stand toe-to-toe with other international photographers".