Washington, D.C., 17 November 2014 - Seven Vietnamese photographers were recognized in the 2014 CGAP Photo Contest, which aims to highlight stand-out photography depicting financial inclusion around the world. Through strong photography, CGAP showcases the different ways in which poor households manage their financial lives and raises awareness about the importance of formal financial services for people at the base of the economic pyramid. In Vietnam, 79% of the adult population is “unbanked” and lacks an account at a formal financial institution.
Vietnam’s Tran Dinh Thuong, who submitted the photo “Traditional,” received a special mention. His photo depicts a woman transporting ceramic pots at a kiln. The judges appreciated the symmetry in the image and remarked that he captured the photo at exactly the right moment. Six additional photographers from Vietnam were designated as finalists in the competition, which received a record number of 4,820 entries from professional and amateur photographers in 95 countries.
Overall, East Asia and the Pacific was very well represented in the winning set of images. Fifteen of the 30 winning images were from the East Asian region, including the first prize winner, Soh Yew Kiat of Malaysia. His photo, “Cormorant Fisherman,” depicts a man in China practicing the vanishing craft of cormorant fishing – a traditional technique thousands of years old that involves training birds to catch fish.
The judges selected “Cormorant Fisherman” because of the poetic and evocative way it tells a story. Cormorant fishermen, like the one in the photo, are typically involved in the tourism industry and their businesses benefit greatly from easier access to financial services.
“The photo captured a timeless image, paired with a modern story,” explained Meghan Dhaliwal, Multimedia Projects Coordinator for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “It’s mythical-looking, and his clothes mirror the shape created by the wings of the bird,” she added.
In addition to the compelling story behind the winning image, the judges said it was technically excellent. “The focus is on the fisherman, but the viewer can still see the beautiful details of the background,” said Indira Williams Babic, Senior Manager of Visual Resources for the Newseum.
The 2014 Grand Prize is a $2,000 gift certificate for photography equipment.
A full gallery of the 30 winning photos can be viewed at www.cgap.org/photocontest.
The judges also selected second and third place winners as well as 27 regional winners, finalists, and special mentions, which were chosen for both technical excellence and depiction of the stories and faces behind financial inclusion.
The 2014 panel of judges consisted of Indira Williams Babic, Senior Manager of Visual Resources at the Newseum, Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio, Manager of Photo and Digital Assets for The Red Cross, and Meghan Dhaliwal, Multimedia Projects Coordinator for The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers, and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives.