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The winner in the open category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Ung Ratha.

Picture perfect in the city of ghosts

The sixth annual Canon PhotoMarathon yesterday concluded with 18 winners taking the stage, a group winnowed down from more than 1,000 contestants who had spent the day taking pictures across the capital on a series of designated themes. Some had gathered at Koh Pich Buildings G and H as early as 6:30am for registration.

Addressing the crowd in an opening speech, the president of Canon Singapore Pte Ltd, Noriko Gunji, welcomed contestants in what she called “one of the most difficult and exciting live photo competitions in Cambodia”.

“You must have enough stamina to complete three topics in a day, and also produce impressive photographs,” she said.

The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Saran Sopheareach.
The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Saran Sopheareach.

Organised by authorised Canon agent i-Qlick, the PhotoMarathon is heralded as the largest photography competition in Cambodia. “The aim of this event is to grow the photography culture in Cambodia,” i-Qlick’s regional marketing manager Kevin Chua said.

Chua highlighted the means of topic selection as a major difference in this year’s PhotoMarathon, noting that it now had “a little bit of lucky draw element to it” to heighten contestants’ sense of excitement.

“Previously, we announced the theme,” he said. “Now we invite one of the participants to go up there and randomly draw [to decide] which one of the themes will be chosen before each round.”

The winner in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Or Sereiromnir.
The winner in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Or Sereiromnir.

The PhotoMarathon comprised three differently themed rounds that started at 9am, 12pm and 3pm, respectively, each producing six winners: three in the open category, and three in the student category.

Yet, many contestants shared the view that bagging a prize was not of the essence.“Winning alone is not important; it’s the experience,” said Sim So Vannkiry, 30, a fifth-time participant in the PhotoMarathon. “I can learn from the talent and the style of other contestants.”

For 27-year-old Lim Houng, joining the competition was partly to learn from Phan “Miller” Phearith, a photographer she had discovered would be part of the jury in this year’s competition.

The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Som Sokchamreun.
The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Som Sokchamreun.

“I saw his portfolio around one or two years before, and I started to be interested in [the] photography field,” said the executive director at First Solutions, a company that provides photography services.

The competition also invited contestants of different nationalities and age.Ayeesha Hafiz Shrastha, a 12-year-old Bangladeshi national who had been awarded third place for the theme “Life and Shadow” last year, was hopeful to bag an award again this year.

For 59-year-old Belgian national Bernadette Vincent, a first-timer in the contest, the possibility of winning was not a primary concern.“I’m joining for fun,” she said. “If I win, it’s a bonus!”

The winner in the open category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Veal Chanraksmey.
The winner in the open category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Veal Chanraksmey.

The 18 winners were each awarded a new Canon DSLR camera and the opportunity to join the photography clinic at December’s Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap, where one grand prize winner will be selected to join other regional winners for a Canon photography clinic in Japan.

“We believe photography shouldn’t be a one person thing where you have gear, and you just shoot [photographs] by yourself,” iClick’s Chua said. “Just by being here, just by being a participant [and] having a tag [a participant’s hand stamp], you are one of them, you are one of us.

“This is how we bring people together.”

The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Noun Sonisa
The winner in the student category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Noun Sonisa

Winners:
“Simple Pleasure” (Open) First: Ung Ratha, Second: Hem Chanthol, Third: Sam Prathna; (Student) First: Saran Sopheareach, Second: Ung Sokleap, Third: Long Lysong

Second place in the open category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Hem Chanthol.
Second place in the open category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Hem Chanthol.

Third place in the open category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Sam Prathna.
Third place in the open category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Sam Prathna.

Second place in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Ung Sokleap.
Second place in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Ung Sokleap.

Third place in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Long Lysong.
Third place in the student category under the theme ‘Simple Pleasure’ by Long Lysong.

“Refreshing” (Open) First: Veal Chanraksmey, Second: Niki Mariager-Lam, Third: Sarith Chomroeun; (Student) First: Noun Sonisa, Second: Tay Theararithyrack, Third: Seng Gechkheang

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Second place in the open category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Niki Mariager-Lam.

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Third place in the open category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Sarith Chomroeun.

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Second place in the student category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Tay Theararithyrack.

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Third place in the student category under the theme ‘Refreshing’ by Seng Gechkheang.

“Music and Life” (Open) First: Or Sereiromnir, Second: Bin Sakvisal, Third: Chor Chunguong; (Student) First: Som Sokchamreun, Second: Saran Sopheareach, Third: Nou Va VannakThe Phnom Penh Post is a media partner of the 2016 Canon PhotoMarathon. To view all 18 winners visit phnompenhpost.com.

Second place in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Bin Sakvisal.
Second place in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Bin Sakvisal.

Third place in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Chor Chunguong.
Third place in the open category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Chor Chunguong.

Third place in the student category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Nou Va Vannak.
Third place in the student category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Nou Va Vannak.

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Second place in the student category under the theme ‘Music and Life’ by Saran Sopheareach.

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RichyB's picture

I joined the Photomarathon yesterday and had a great time but the winning shots were mostly disappointing. Most shots were set up and displayed very little skill. The winning shot for the open category 'refreshing' was done with editing and this was strictly against the rules. The same in the music and life category. How was this possible???? This is a slap in the face for those who went out and tried to get that defining moment shot - the sort of photography that should be encouraged. After all it was a 'photomarathon' not a 'go home and take photos of your friends' event. Poor judging and coments (good exposure and rule of thirds repeated every time). You might think that I just a disgruntled competitor who didn't win but that is not the case. When competitors cheat or produce poor shots (a flower!!!!) this discredits the event and the judges.

Jeppe's picture

Hi Richy,

I dont think it is fair to say that people have cheated. It is possible to do double exposure in-camera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcu8SdcsYnY) as well as changing the shape of bokeh'ed lights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw1RuzHF5BU). One of the criteria (I was there as well), as to be creative, which I think these two shots actually do rather well.

I didn't see anything related to these shots having to be "that defining moment" shots, so I don't see why using models/friends would be a concern? I agree that having one of the topics be more photojournalistic or street photography in style would have been interesting though - I had hoped a lot for the "capture the moment" topic for topic 3 instead of music and life, but the way that they drew the topics seemed fair.

I agree with the judge comments though, they were at times a bit shallow and lacked constructive criticism, but to be honest, I don't think that people really came there for individual criticism, and if they did, they would have walked home disappointed.

Ahmilk's picture

Hi Mr. RichyB,

I'm sovanny from i-Qlick. respond to your comment, can you give me which winning photo you have concern on? i will explain you more detail about those photo. thanks.

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