Every February, “concerned” photographers from all over the region as well as from Europe and the US converge on Yangon to share their latest powerful stories with a large audience in the heart of the city. More than 200 artists works and short photo-documentaries will be shown this year, half of them from ethnic States where we recently gave training and organized local photo festivals.
Reflecting the urgency of the threats to humankind, the theme of these works is more and more related to environmental issues.
WE HUMANS by Christophe Loviny, founder of the Yangon Photo Festival
One of the benefits of having an annual event like the YPF is the opportunity to look back at the previous year. When we read the everyday news we get the feeling that humanity is on the verge of nervous breakdown and as young activist Greta Thumberg likes to repeat: “Our House is on Fire!” But it seems that something finally has clicked during the last year, thanks to the 17 year-old Swedish girl. The impact of the “Greta effect” on tens of millions of young people and their parents is the start of a global awakening. For many years, climate change and other environmental issues were the preserve of a few scientists and activists. It is now gaining such momentum that there is finally some real hope that we will be able to tackle the issue by changing our daily habits and demanding that our leaders act decisively. We humans can save ourselves from self-destruction…
Multi award winning photographers Franck Seguin and Pascal Maître are coming to this 12th edition with strikingly beautiful images which are an ode to our planet and a plea to protect it. Lucie Awards founder Hossein Farmani has also curated an exceptional collective exhibition by some of world’s most renowned “concerned” photographers, including Tom Jacobi, Steve McCurry, Paul Souders and Sebastian Copeland. A few years ago, Fausto Podavini came to the YPF to show his poignant work about Alzheimers. This time he returns with a five year long project about the construction of a megadam in the Omo valley of Ethiopia, a reflection on the deep contradictions of so-called ‘development’ investments. On the other hand , a collective exhibition by Kesan about the Salween Park project shows us how Karen indigenous communities manage to preserve their extraordinary biodiversity. We humans can save ourselves from destroying our forests, our rivers, our wildlife…
Fausto Podavini – OMO Change
We have also proven to be experts at killing each other in the name of ethnicity, religion or nationality, but multi YPF awardee Hkun Lat is bringing us an amazing fraternization story reminiscent of the Christmas Day truce of 1914 during World War 1. In the narrow no man’s land between their positions on the frontline in Northern Kachin State, Myanmar Army and KIA soldiers have built a hut. They call it the ‘Peace House’. There, they drink, exchange food and take selfies together. “We humans are brothers” said a soldier.
In the last twelve years, our organization has trained more than a thousand young men and women from all over the country to produce short documentaries about the most important issues affecting their lives, such as child labour, land grabbing or gender discrimination. One of our special projects takes place with disabled people in IDP camps. Mizumi, a lovely 14-year old girl who was born with Down Syndrome, is coming to Yangon for the first time to exhibit her photographic work at the YPF. In her laughing eyes, we humans are extraordinary, together with the pigs, the flowers, the stars, the wind in the trees, the smell of origano…
Our Facebook e-magazine Myanmar Stories reveals the life of ordinary heroes whose individual dignity, courage and grace touch our hearts. These stories are produced by young photographers from all over Myanmar during the Yangon Photo Festival and PhotoDoc Association intensive training programs. It has become one of the most popular media in the country with a record audience of more than 150.000 views as average per story. Together they form a vibrant and moving portrait of one of the most diverse and fascinating countries in the world.
MYANMAR STORIES NOW ON INSTRAGRAM
The PhotoDoc team is very excited to launch their Myanmar Stories Instagram account. Be the first to see our latest stories and follow us on @myanmarstories. We will post new content every week, and to celebrate our new account we will also repost our best stories from the past 12 years.
THE STORY BEHIND JOHN MOORE’S WORLD PRESS PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2019 “GIRL CRYING ON THE BORDER”.
Our friend John Moore has won the World Press Photo of the Year 2019. We had the chance to have a large exhibition of his work about undocumented emigration to the USA at the French Institute (IFB) during the last YPF. The special correspondent for Getty Images told us the story behind the photo he took while he was following a border patrol agent in the Rio Grande Valley on June 12, 2018.
The selection of the World Press Photo of the Year 2020 will be exhibited from February 20 to March 14 at Maha Bandoola Park.