Shuchi Kapoor

Chennai, INDIA
Shuchi Kapoor

Shuchi Kapoor is a documentary photojournalist from India and is the Co-Founder of the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation — an initiative that facilitates learning and promotion of photography as practice and an art form. Shuchi works at the intersections of visual storytelling as a medium of critical inquiry, research, and education, and is deeply curious about regimes of representation and visual cultures. She is a Dart Asia-Pac Fellow and was awarded the fellowship on Trauma & Journalism (2015). While her origins are from Gujarat & Delhi, she is currently based in Chennai, India where she shapes community engagement, inclusivity initiatives, education programs, and partnerships at the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation and the CPB Learning Lab.

Lam Chun Tung

Hong Kong, HONG KONG
Lam Chun Tung

Born in Hong Kong, Lam Chun Tung started his career as a photojournalist in 2000. He worked with a variety of news media including Ming Pao and HK01 and currently works as Director of Photography for Initium Media. He served as Chairman of the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association between 2011 and 2012. Apart from his photojournalistic practice, Lam has collaborated with NGOs to produce photography projects on the underprivileged, including the elderly, ethnic minorities women and prisoners. He is now devoted in documenting social and political issues in Hong Kong whilst exploring personal photo projects.

Yuki Tanaka

Tokyo, JAPAN
Yuki Tanaka

Yuki Tanaka is features visual media editor at Bloomberg News based in Tokyo. Tanaka has worked as a photo editor for various international photo agencies in Tokyo and United States for total of nearly 15 years, covering a wide range of topics from sports and celebrities, to disasters and environmental issues. Tanaka enjoys working with the unique role of photography, how in a moment, it evokes curiosity and influences people on how they decide to spend their mind and time next. Since joining Bloomberg’s photo features team in May 2023, she has been in charge of assigning photographers/videographers and laying out photos/videos for the feature stories coming out of the Asia Pacific region. Tanaka studied Spanish at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in Tokyo, and received BAs in Journalism and Spanish Language from State University of New York, at Purchase. She received MA in Media Studies at The New School University in New York City, where she studied the role of media in social change, while freelancing as a photographer and photo editor for agencies.

Forough Alaei

Tehran, IRAN
Forough Alaei

Forough Alaei was born in 1989 in Iran, where she studied law. She was also a keen painter. Forough started photography in 2015 and became a photojournalist. In a short time, she became fond of documentary photography and filmmaking. Forough had a World Press Photo tour through many countries in 2019. She also won three first prizes in 2019 for her work on Iranian female football fans including World Press Photo (Sports Category), POYi (multimedia daily life category), and Istanbul Photo Awards (sports category). Forough won Getty Images’ Editorial Grants in 2020. She also had some solo and group exhibitions in different countries such as Switzerland, Germany, France, and the US during 2021-2023. Her works have been published in different media such as Time, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Paris Match, Le Monde, Foreign Policy, Marie Claire, NZZ Newspaper, Amnesty International, Refinery29, De Volkskrant, Zeit and others.

Steven Lee

Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
London, UK
Steven Lee

Steven Lee is the founder director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards(KLPA). Since 2009, KLPA has been recognising and rewarding top international portrait photographers through it’s open calls, focussing on the best in contemporary portrait photography. More recently, Steven is also the co-founder of Exposure Plus Photo Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which has just completed it’s 2nd edition in 2023. Since 2016 he has participated as a regular portfolio reviewer several international festivals including Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival in Kobe, Auckland Festival of Photography, Photolux, IWPA, Format and UPPA. Steven is also a nominator for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award since 2020 and World Press Photo 6X6 Global Talent since 2018. Steven began his career as a photographer specialising in fashion, portraiture and travel documentary and spends his time between London and Kuala Lumpur and runs photography workshops in professional personal development.

Saiyna Bashir

Islamabad, PAKISTAN

Saiyna Bashir is a Pakistani photojournalist currently based in Islamabad, with a focus on documenting issues of migration, gender, healthcare, and climate change. After graduating from the Columbia College, Chicago, with a Masters in journalism in 2015, Bashir worked as a staff photographer for Cap Times in Madison, Wisconsin. She has photographed acid attack survivors – women with backgrounds of domestic violence; as well as the heartbreak and joys of the transgender community in Pakistan. She regularly contributes to media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Telegraph among others.  Her recent work was titled “Covid-19 in Pakistan beyond the headlines.” which was supported by the National Geographic Society. Bashir also works as a consultant photographer for UN agencies and other International NGO’s including Unicef, UNHCR and WHO.  Saiyna is currently working on a climate change related project which is being supported by the National Geographic Society.

Wan Chantavilasvong

Wan Chantavilasvong

Wan Chantavilasvong is an independent urban researcher, a photography artist, and a conservation diver based in Bangkok, Thailand. She began her photographic journey through her travels to different continents. As she becomes more curious about the environmental impacts and social issues, she has also started to explore ways photography can be used to capture her unique thoughts, open new gateways for more questions, and remain curious about the world.

Joshua Irwandi


Joshua Irwandi (Jakarta, 1991) is a documentary photographer represented by VII Photo Agency Mentorship program and a National Geographic Explorer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Irwandi received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Exeter, and pursued graduate studies in photojournalism and documentary photography at London College of Communication. While working in West Papua, Indonesia, Irwandi was embedded as museum staff at the Asmat Museum and focused on a long-term project on the Asmat people. His project ‘Not A Blank Canvas’ has been awarded the National Geographic Society storytelling grant in 2021. Irwandi’s work is part of Forhanna Foundation Fund for Young Talent and National Geographic Society’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists grants. He was exhibited at Breda Photo Festival in the Netherlands. One of his images, ‘The Human Cost of COVID-19’, sparked controversy in Indonesia when it went viral after publication by National Geographic. In 2021, he was selected as one of the speakers for the National Geographic Society’s Storytellers Summit. Recently, he was awarded the 2021 World Press Photo Award in General News, Grand Prize winner for Lucie Foundation, and selected as a finalist of The Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography, among several other awards. Irwandi’s work has been featured in National Geographic, NHK, The Times of London, The Globe and Mail, CNN, TIME, and The Guardian.

Jessica Lim

Jessica Lim

Jessica Lim is currently the director of Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops(APFW), a non-profit international photography event. She has worked for most of her career supporting the work and efforts of visual storytellers from the majority world. She has been based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, since 2011, where on any given day she has a good chance of meeting water buffalos. In 2022, Jessica served as Chair of Regional Jury (Southeast Asia/Oceania) and Global Jury Member for the World Press Photo Contest. She has participated in numerous photo festivals in the capacity of guest curator, reviewer or jury member, in cities such as Hamburg, Hong Kong, Auckland, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Gülbin Özdamar Akarçay

Eskişehir, TURKEY
Gülbin Özdamar Akarçay

Born in 1980, Gülbin Özdamar Akarçay received her B.A., M.Sc., and PhD in Journalism from Anadolu University in Turkey. She is a documentary photographer, researcher, and curator who tries to understand the cultural, ideological, environmental, and sociological order of the world, as well as the ordinary structures of daily life. Also an academic, she produces documentary and uses photography to conduct visual ethnographic research and produce photographic installations that are highly conceptual. Many of the photo-essays, installations, and social projects she has launched concern social issues: projects protesting violence against children and women, migration, identity; installations about cultural diversity, gender, mindset, and the environment. Her recent project involves working with refugee women and sugar factory workers in Turkey. She was the curator of “Intimate Revolt” exhibition which was supported by FAMU in Prague. “Intimate Revolt” exhibited in several countries such as Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Turkey. She was also the driving force behind the Living Woman Photography Group, which advocates for women and children who are victims of violence. The group’s projects resulted in photography exhibitions between 2011-2022. Apart from promoting the works of others, she has held many personal exhibitions which include “Face of Prisoners” (2002), “Children of Maticni” and “Narodni Divadlo” (2007), “My Self reflexive Diary: The Balkans” (2017) and “Don’t look at me like that” (2023). She was a post-doc fellow at Department of Anthropology in University of Toronto Scarborough and was selected for the World Press Photo seminar organized in Turkey in 2002-2004.

Statement of Judging Ethics

The mission of Pictures of the Year Asia is to recognize excellence in the photojournalism and documentary photography. “Show truth with a camera,” remains the guiding principle as articulated by POY founder Cliff Edom in 1943.
Pictures of the Year Asia selects judges who apply the highest journalistic and ethical standards to their selections as well as their own actions as jurors.
We recognize that our profession is a close network and that judges are also working journalists. We carefully consider any potential conflicts and then counsel all members about their obligations to be fair and impartial.
The judging process is an open forum for all to observe in person or virtually. Our goal is to conduct POY Asia with transparency and integrity.
The decisions regarding the winning entries reflect the collaborative effort of the entire judging team. Just as the results are viewed as an example of excellence in visual journalism, the judging process itself sets a standard of professionalism.

Judging Process

Before the judges meet online as a group for the ‘live’ judging, each judge will have 2-3 weeks to cast his/her individual votes. These individual votes are then collated and images/projects that meet the minimum votes required are moved to the next round.
Right before the beginning of ‘live’ judging for each category, all works that do not make the first cut will be shown again and any one judge can request that an image or story be brought back for consideration.
All ‘live’ judging sessions are shown real-time on the @poyasia Facebook page.
Everyone is welcome to watch the discussions.

How are POY Asia judges selected?

Many POY Asia judges are/were recommended by Founding Advisors of POY Asia – Prashant Panjiar, Maye-E Wong, Tanya Habjouqa, Lynden Steele and Kay-Chin Tay.
Judges from our previous competitions have also made recommendations.
Obviously, we look at past awardees.
Our volunteer coordinators are great resources when it comes to surfacing names for consideration.
Admittedly, we often ‘stalk’ photographers on their social media accounts for a long period to see what they are up to.
In our selection, we have many crucial factors to consider. One of them is geographical. Asia is a huge continent which can be subdivided into regions. We try, though not always successfully, to find judges in places not previously represented.
While professional standing, influence in community, experience, are all important elements, we also feel strongly about engaging deserving but underexposed individuals.
Finding one good judge is easier. But to assemble a group of 10 that’s diverse, balanced, dynamic and not afraid to challenge each other, is much harder.
Once a judge agrees to help us, it is our responsibility to make sure they get all the support and training needed to do the job well.
POY Asia judges are not paid and all of them are volunteering their time for a common goal in mind — to elevate our profession.
We cannot thank them enough.