Two Filipino photojournalists win 1st Prizes in Pictures of the Year Asia

Ezra Acayan Pictures of the Year Asia
Ezra Acayan and Lisa Marie David’s winning images at the POY Asia 2023. POY Asia social media photos.

Filipino photojournalists Ezra Acayan and Lisa Marie David have been awarded first prizes in the highly regarded Pictures of the Year Asia (POY Asia) 2023 contest modeled after POY International, the world’s oldest competition for photojournalists and documentary photographers.

Acayan’s photo for Getty Images and David’s photo for Reuters were awarded winners in the third edition of the prestigious contest created to provide a platform for photographers from Asia and showcase the world from an Asian perspective.

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Acayan won first place in the General News category, while David took first place in the Nature & Environment category in the photography contest held live online from April 7 to 9, 2023, where judges evaluated 12 categories and recognized the Photographer of the Year, 9 first places, 22 finalists, and 30 Awards of Excellence.

This year’s POY Asia winners hail from 20 different countries across Asia, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, Palestine, Russia, Singapore, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, UK, and Vietnam.

Ezra Acayan
General News, First Place

Ezra Acayan’s winning photograph in the General News category which awards “A single photograph of a news event or social issue for which planning was possible”, shows Filipinos protesting election results outside the Commission on Elections building in Manila.

Acayan won against finalist fellow Filipino photojournalist Lisa Marie David and another from India, and three Excellence Awardees from Thailand, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.

Acayan’s winning photograph caption which played a significant role in the judging process reads:

A Catholic priest talks to police standing guard, as Filipinos take part in a protest against election results outside the Commission on Elections building on May 10, 2022, in Manila, Philippines. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. took his oath as the next Philippine President on June 30, 2022, completing a once unthinkable political revival of his family 36 years after his dictator father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who was accused and charged of amassing billions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth as well as committing tens of thousands of human rights abuses during his autocratic rule, was ousted by millions of Filipinos in a people power revolution. Marcos won the presidential elections with a massive 31 million votes after mounting a hugely popular campaign based largely on disinformation to whitewash his family’s sins.

Ezra Acayan won against two other finalists and three Excellence Awardees in the General News category. POY Asia screengrab.

This year’s first-place win is Ezra Acayan’s third year in a row to win in the POY Asia after being named the Photographer of the Year at the inaugural Pictures of the Year Asia in 2021 and winning first place for Covid Picture Story in 2022.

Acayan has also received several more awards from Picture of the Year International (POYi), the National Press Photographers Association, and the Society of Publishers Asia.

Ezra Acayan is a photojournalist based in the Philippines with a decade of experience covering politics, climate change, and social injustice. Since 2019, he has regularly worked on assignments for Getty Images. In 2021, he was awarded a World Press Photo Award in the Nature Stories category for his work on Taal volcano’s eruption, and — together with a team of Getty Images photojournalists covering the global outbreak of COVID-19 — was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for his work.

Lisa Marie David
Nature and Environment, First Place

In the Nature & Environment category which awards “A single photograph that increases the understanding and appreciation of nature and our environment” and where “Photographers are encouraged to explore the relationship between human and nature/environment”, Lisa Marie David’s winning photograph depicts students attending their first day of in-person classes at a flooded school in Macabebe, Pampanga province, Philippines.

David won against two other finalists from China and two Excellence Awardees from India and Singapore.

Lisa Marie David bested two other finalists and two Excellence Awardees in the Nature and Environment category. POY Asia screengrab.

David’s winning photograph caption reads:

“Students attend the first day of in-person classes, at a flooded school due to high tide, in Macabebe, Pampanga province, Philippines, August 22, 2022.”

Lisa Marie David is a Filipina freelance photojournalist based in Manila, Philippines. She is a contributor at Reuters.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino photojournalists Ezra Acayan and Lisa Marie David for winning top honors in the 2023 Pictures of the Year (POY) Asia competition.

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