Hello, 2018 !

[ ※日本語版は英語版に続いて記載があります。]

We are happy to announce our program for the 2018 PhotoSymposium Asia!

After a successful inaugural event in May this year, we have been encouraged by your positive feedbacks and will once again be returning to The KL Journal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur in May 2018 for our second symposium with a vitally important and challenging topic.

Date : 11 – 13 May, 2018

Venue : The KL Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The masthead or topic of discussion will be “PHOTOGRAPHY AS A MEDIUM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE”. Although social change photography encompasses headline grabbing activism and advocacy causes; to a greater extent, it is evident in a large proportion of photo projects that we come across day to day – on social media postings, in online websites and in photography books.

Part of being a photographer today is to be socially aware and conscious of events that are happening around us. As photographers, we are always inquisitive – questioning, challenging, probing – even if we aren’t photographing.

The nature of photography and it’s power to influence decision makers throughout history is well known, and yet, when it comes to personal projects that may be more mundane, these are often only ‘ideas’ left behind in the corners of our minds. so often than not, the mind is willing but self doubt and insecurity gets the better of us in pursuing that story.

How do we get those amazing ideas off the ground? How do we do research and identify strategies? How long should projects take? Who are the target audiences? How do we create effective campaigns? How can we express artistically and effectively through photography, the issues raised in these projects?

These are just some questions that are often raised by photographers.

© Mitsu Maeda - My Recollections series, 2012
© Mitsu Maeda ~ A caregiver cuts her toenails, Kochi 2012 – My Recollections series on dementia

Closer to home, there are social cause stories that need to be told and shared to a wider audience – stories covering sensitive issues such as domestic abuse, dementia, autism, family or gender issues, discrimination; issues on environmental and greening, urbanisation,  vanishing trades or arts etc –  may be developed by concerned photographers with a little guidance and knowledge of the process.

We are assembling a set of speakers who are known for their works in advocacy and social change photography – from photojournalists and activist film makers, documentary photography to visual art based projects. The dedication to their causes have been resolute, as may be seen by the accolades they have all achieved in their careers.

– SL


  1. Manit Sriwanichpoom, Thailand
  2. Mahi Ramakrishnan, Malaysia
  3. Azrul Kevin Abdullah, Malaysia
  4. Noriko Hayashi, Japan
  5. Zann Huizhen Huang, Singapore
  6. Nurul Huda Rashid, Singapore

>Go to Presenters Profiles

>Get Delegate Tickets Here

>Go to Schedule of Symposium 2018


今年5月に開催された2017年写真シンポジウムは、多くのプレゼンターや参加者たちが集まり、多くの議論が交わされ無事、閉幕しました。様々なフィードバックもいただき、2018年5月、第2回アジア写真シンポジウムを、第1回と同じ会場であるKL Journal ホテルにて、開催いたします。

日程 : 2018年5月11日〜13日

会場 : The KL Journal Hotel(マレーシア クアラルンプール)

第2回シンポジウムのメインテーマは、「社会を変える媒体としての写真」です。 社会を変える写真、というと、新聞・雑誌のヘッドラインに載るような活動や主義主張を含みますが、明らかに私たちは、日々ソーシャルメディアやオンライン、または写真集などで、より多くの写真プロジェクトを目にします。







– SL


  1. Manit Sriwanichpoom(タイ)
  2. Mahi Ramakrishnan(マレーシア)
  3. Azrul Kevin Abdullah(マレーシア)
  4. 林典子(日本)
  5. Zann Huizhen Huang(シンガポール)
  6. Nurul Huda Rashid(シンガポール)







It’s Good to Talk.


A total of 50 host, guests, presenters and delegates participated in the symposium over the weekend of the 19 to 21st May, 2017 held at The KL Journal hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The initial feedback from everyone was an overwhelming success. Despite some shortcomings, namely the time management aspects – over run of presenters allocated time slots, minor technical difficulties causing delays, and hence the incompleted Focus Group feedback sessions – the weekend was well received and the question in many delegates minds is when the next one will be scheduled?

Going forward, we will need to improve the obvious matters, as pointed out above, and also reduce the number of presenters and allocate more time for dialogue sessions.  The topic of Education and Opportunities within the Asian context was the main attraction which the feedback from delegates have indicated so far. It is vital that as organisers to a dialogue based event – not a photo festival or exhibition – we have to bear in mind that the main topic of discussion must and should be relevant to photographers and followers, especially the younger artists who may be pursuing careers in this field.


The presenters – Zhuang Wubin, Eiffel Chong, Daniel Boetker-Smith and Jessica Lim all gave excellent accounts within their own specialities about the overall state of photography in the region, the educational opportunities and alternative provisions for self-education and personal development in the South East Asian context.

Our Japanese presenters – Takeki Sugiyama and Naoko Ohta, both shared their personal views on the current state of Japanese photographic practice. Takeki had originally intended to share the summary of his recent survey made in Japan, but decided he needed more time to analyse the data into more meaningful findings. Instead, he presented a simplistic but extremely relevant understanding of the typical ‘young Japanese’ photographer undergoing the ‘rites of passage’ in entering an industry full of pitfalls, brickwalls and closed doors.

Naoko made an impasssioned plea to new photographers to embrace all forms of technology to make projects that are innovative and shared some videos on how the Japanese aesthetic is being appreciated by Western commissioners and how on has to adapt to demanding changes within the industry.

Wawi Navarozza shared her beginnings and trajectory in establishing her artistry in photography, through typical foundation studies in art schools in the Philippines, and undertaking post graduate qualifications in Spain. She incorporates a multidisciplinary approach in making art with an intellectual discourse.

Laura El-Tantawy began her presentation with images from her early career as a photojournalist in the USA, and how the turmoil in Egypt later became her focus to create a documentation of her family, peoples and political change, which led her to a Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize nomination. She expresses an opinion where the relative unimportance of craft and formal education, but champions experimentation and artistry.


It is a regret that the Focus Groups were not able to fully complete their tasks of feedback due to the lack of time, however, the questions posed in Days 1 and 2 to the delegates have been read and discussed within the groups. They will hopefully form the basis of a future working mandate. We hope to continue with the Focus Group format as they allow for deeper and freer discussions amongst delegates, and where inhibitions are lessened. The questions posed to the delegates were personal ambitions, knowledge of photography and education aspirations. They were also asked about future topics they would like to be presented.

The Open Portfolio Viewing – at first, an ‘add on’ item to the symposium, proved to be extremely well received by the 11 participants and the rest of the delegates, guests and presenters. This format of open tabletop viewing of loose prints allow casual and frank exchanges and generates invaluable confidence to young photographers who are able to talk freely about their projects, share new ideas through engagements, new edits and feedbacks from the more experienced viewers. It can sometimes be more rewarding than one-to-one portfolio reviews, especially for fresh artists who may not be sufficiently ready with their portfolios.


The value of open and multi-channel dialogue is quite a new experience for Malaysian photographers, and we intend to expand these sessions in future events. At this symposium, the presenters and guests were always approachable by all delegates, without the usual sequestering of participants and speakers as in some other similar events. They shared tables at coffee breaks and during lunch as well. We feel this is vital to the communication, community and confidence building aspects which young photographers require, a support structure where the hierarchy nature that is often looked upon is removed. There should not be a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality.


Lastly, the venue and it’s location played a vital part to the success of the symposium. The facilities offered to us were second to none and the quality and service of the catering was highly commendable too.

Let’s look forward to a second and more successful instalment in the months ahead. The team value any further feedback from our followers, so please send an email to Steven at svllee@gmail.com

[More photos from the Symposium can be seen here. ]





Symposium Schedule 2017

DAY 1 Friday, 19 May 2017
18:30 – 19:30 : Registration Opens
19:30 – 19:45 Welcome speech : Steven Lee
19:45 – 20:30 Presenter 1 : Zhuang Wubin
20:30 – 22:00 Dinner and gathering, paid bar

DAY 2 Saturday, 20 May, 2017
10:00 – 11:00 Presenter 2 : Eiffel Chong
11:00 – 11:30 Focus Group briefing
11:30 – 11:45 Break
11:45 – 13:00 Presenter 3 : Jessica Lim
13.00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Presenter 3 : Daniel Boetker-Smith

15:00 – 15:30 Free time

15:30 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 17:00 Presenter 4 : Naoko Ohta
17:00 – 18:00 Open dialogue & Focus Groups feedback

Day 3 Sunday 21 May, 2017
10:00 – 11:00 Presenter 5 : Wawi Navarozza
11:00 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 13:00 Presenter 6 : Takeki Sugiyama
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Presenter 7 : Laura El-Tantawy
15:00 – 16:00 Focus Group Summary
16:00 – 17:30 Break + Open Portfolio Viewing

Finally, after some 7 months of planning, the Symposium weekend approaches, and in only 2 week’s time, we will meet for the first time in Kuala Lumpur. For the delegates that are joining, here is the schedule of presenters for the weekend.

We hope to see you soon!


Presenters – Update

Block your weekend : 19-21 May, 2017

We have lined up a special selection of presenters for the Symposium, each will be speaking about their area of speciality and personal experiences, centred on the weekend theme of Photography Education and Opportunities. This first and one-off symposium is targeted at all photography followers in the region, students and lecturers, keen enthusiasts and hobbyists – to discuss the importance of formal education and highlight the exposure opportunities for young and emerging photographers.

Come and listen to discussions about photography degrees or diplomas; their practicalities and shortcomings; attending workshops or festivals and self-study opportunities. We also need your feedback and ideas so that we can help formulate future plans to cater for specific requirements going forward.

In addition to the presenters, we have also invited key personalities from Malaysia and Singapore to lead focus groups and further share their points of view with the delegates over the entire weekend. Kevin WY Lee from IPA, Vignes Balasingam form Obscura Festival, Che’ Ahmad Azhar amongst others will be present.

Get your Delegates tickets now – attendance is only for ticket holders.

More information HERE





プレゼンターたちに加えて、議論をリードしてくれる、マレーシア、シンガポールの写真界のキーパーソンである、Invisible Photographer AsiaのKevin WY Lee、Obuscura Festival のVignes Balasingam、Che’ Ahmad Azharらが参加予定。