More than 1,000 participants turned out yesterday for the fifth annual Canon PhotoMarathon.
The event, organised by authorised Canon agent i-Qlick, brought together students and amateurs in a nine-hour test of talent and speed that began promptly at 9am.
I-Qlick’s Kevin Chua said the sheer number of participants this year increased the contest’s challenge, noting that the queue to register had wrapped around Koh Pich Buildings K and L. “They started lining up at about 6:45am,” he said.
The PhotoMarathon consisted of three rounds, each with a different theme – “Life and Shadow”, “Unity” and “New Phnom Penh” – with contestants allowed to submit one photograph per round for consideration. Each round had six winners: three in the open category, and three in the student category.
The atmosphere was festive throughout the day, with merchandise booths set up and music booming throughout the auditorium.
Kosal Puthyratanak, a 24-year-old freelance photographer, returned from the first round before noon with a photograph of a woman silhouetted against the sky that he said had to be among the 50 best photographs taken on the day. “After three years [of experience as a photographer], I want to see . . . if I can pull [off a win],” he said.
Jessica Lim, the Asia coordinator for the Angkor Photo Festival and a returning judge in the PhotoMarathon’s open category, noted that skill and creativity had increased over the past few years, making it more difficult to select the winning photographs.
“Compared to the first year, the standards have definitely improved,” she said. “You see a lot more people being more original, more daring in the way they pick the subjects.”
Chua said that Cambodia’s PhotoMarathon was unique in its inclusion of students, emphasising the effort to nurture young people interested in photography — of which there are an abundance in Phnom Penh. Companion events in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia feature only an “open” category.
“As a very young generation, you may not think they can take good photographs,” Chua said. “But here we are proving that amateurs and students can still take good photographs.”
Amateur photographer Chhay Hong, 19, who has had her camera for only a year embodied that promise. Hong said she was excited to be on Koh Pich – not to win, but to gain valuable experience.
“This year, I was willing to do anything,” she said.
The 18 winners were each awarded a Canon DSLR camera, as well as the chance to participate in a photo clinic during the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap in December. A grand prize winner, selected there, will go on to attend a Canon photography clinic in Japan alongside other regional winners.
Winners: “New Phnom Penh” (open) 1. Sok Chanvutha, 2. Ou Vunnarun, 3. David Chhunka (student) 1. Deng MengSreang, 2. Sony Sanisa, 3. Va Sovanpong; “life and shadow” (open) 1. Yin Phearun, 2. Or Sereiromnir, 3. Cedric Delannoy (student) 1. Tay Thearaithyrack, 2. Chao Lychou, 3. Ayeesha Hafiz; and “unity” (open) 1. Soun Sayon, 2. Ren Chetra, 3. Ah Meng (student) 1. Sony Sanisa, 2. Pun Solita, 3. Vanna Sousata.