YPF 10th Anniversary
Do you remember Yangon ten years ago? The country was on its heels from Cyclone Nargis and the Saffron revolution. Having electricity a few hours a day was a good reason for celebration. There were no traffic jams but holes in the rusty taxis and bus floors. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest with no sign of being freed in the near future. Sim cards cost $3000 and most people had never heard of Facebook. Still, despite the absence of press freedom, we sensed that the developing access to the Internet and the proliferation of digital tools signaled the start of a media revolution based on visual storytelling. We felt it was the opportune moment to start training “concerned” photographers interested in using the power of images to change and educate their society, not just to record it.
Ten years later, we have empowered a whole new generation of journalists and activists from all over the country to produce relevant multimedia content on human rights, social justice, cultural heritage and environmental issues. Their short documentaries are published every week via our Facebook magazine Myanmar Stories, with a reach of up to 1.3 million viewers per story.
In February 2009, there were only a few hundred who attended the first Yangon Photo Festival in the gardens of the French Institute. Last year, an audience of over 100,000 throughout Yangon enjoyed free admission to the exhibitions and screenings by 80 local and international photographers. This February 2018 we hope that there will be even more audience. At the Secretariat, a unique exhibition supported by the Goethe Institut and curated by Lukas Birk will present the history of Myanmar photographers. Thanks to the local government and YCDC, we will again inaugurate the festival with two nights of screenings by YPF laureates at Maha Bandoola park, together with the famous World Press Photo Awards exhibition, unique portraits of celebrities from the 80’s by U Sann Aung, “Swedish Dads”, a touching series by Johan Bävman, and work about Myanmar by international artists like Garcia de Marina, Marylise Vigneau, Aun Raza et Beatrice Minda (at the River gallery).
The French Institute will host the 10th anniversary party on February 16 with the opening of three major exhibitions by renowned photojournalists Paula Bronstein, Adam Dean and Alessandro Penso. On February 24, the festival will culminate there with its Photo Night Awards. Like every year, Myanmar photographers will compete in front of a jury composed of international personalities to win Canon professional cameras and a trip to the World Press Photo Awards ceremony in Amsterdam.
The PhotoDoc Team