Contest Raised Awareness On Sustainable Management Of Malaysian Forests Among Photography Enthusiasts
Kuala Lumpur, 7 December 2017 – Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Nature, or photos of it, inherently exudes a sense of peace and deep understanding found only in the presence of greenery, colourful wildlife, and blue oceans. While many of us tend to get caught up in the routine of city living, our instinct to draw close to nature in strenuous moments often seem to come almost naturally.
With the aim of inspiring people to appreciate mother nature and forest in particular, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council’s (MTCC) inaugural photography contest themed “Experience Forest, Experience MTCS–PEFC” mobilized participants to snap their best shots of the lush forests and its landscape, its wildlife and indigenous people as well as those contributing to preserving this heritage. The 21 winners of the Contest were announced and received their prizes at the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival (KLPF) 2017 – the largest imaging event in Malaysia, on 25 November 2017.
“The MTCC Photography Contest provided a platform for photography enthusiasts to explore the beauty of nature through their camera lenses. In Malaysia, our tropical forests are especially precious because of its biodiversity and long-standing role as a support system for our society. As such, we wanted to give photographers an avenue to be in touch with nature and appreciate this precious resource through the hobby of capturing images,” said MTCC CEO Mr Yong Teng Koon.
“Most people are also unaware of the work done by forestry people to protect and care for our forests. We wanted the public to be informed of the efforts needed to manage our tropical forests and to appreciate the caretakers of this national heritage. Our collaboration with PCP Publications for the photography contest was fitting to communicate this message to the public, some of whom are already passionate about both nature and photography,” shared Yong.
A shot capturing a magnificent waterfall at the Royal Belum State Park in Perak as seen through a hollow log earned Abdul Hafiz bin Abdul Hamid the overall grand prize. The photo bagged him a cash prize of RM2,000.
“I am very touched and proud to have my photo chosen as the Grand Prize photo of MTCC’s inaugural photography contest. My hope is that this photo will be a source of inspiration to other photographers to produce many more creative images of local forests and introduce Malaysia’s natural beauty to the world,” said Abdul Hafiz who is a technical officer by profession.
First prize winners in each category received RM1,200 each. Two merit prizes of RM600 per category, and five consolation prizes of RM200 each per category were also awarded. In addition, all winners received a photobook courtesy of PCP Publications. The winning photos were displayed for viewing at the KLPF 2017; showcasing varying takes on Malaysia’s wonderful natural heritage.
Entries were shortlisted and judged based on several criteria, namely creativity, relevancy to the theme, originality and overall impact. The judging panel for the contest were made up of PCP Publications editor-in-chief, Jessica Chan; MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon; and Founder and Director at Nusantara Photography, Ashraf Saharudin, who himself is a nature-loving person with more than 10 years of experience in the photography industry.
Commenting on the contest submissions, Yong said, “We were very impressed by the quality of the entries as they truly captured our Malaysian forests in their raw beauty. The winning photos were particularly successful in depicting the splendor of our forests and, in our opinion, were able to instill in its viewers a sense of gratitude toward Mother Nature.”
Organised in collaboration with PCP Publications, the contest which was held from 5 July to 15 October 2017 garnered a total submission of 837 photos from 95 photographers across three categories.
Category 1 (Forests and People) required participants to capture images of people involved in the field of forestry responsible for the sustainable management and well-being of Malaysia’s forest resources, including foresters, forest rangers, forest researchers, auditors and indigenous peoples. Category 2 (Forests and Forest Landscapes) sought for shots capturing a forest’s natural beauty, diversity and uniqueness in form and structure. They included the geological or climatological features and natural environment of the Malaysian forest. While Category 3 (Forests and Animals) invited participants to capture images of animals in the wild including mammals, birds, amphibians or reptiles.