Asia’s 50 best travel photos on display

On the sunny shores of Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia, local squid fishermen spend months on rickety wooden platforms, hoping to land as many large catches as possible. These platforms often attract an abundance of marine life, which in turn draws the attention of whale sharks, considered good luck by the local people.(

A whale shark’s visit also proved to be good luck for Italian photographer Alex Varani, who managed to photograph an encounter with one of these gentle giants in Cenderawasih Bay. This striking image, illustrating a unique meeting of the worlds of man and nature, took the top prize in Travel Photographer Asia’s 2016 Photo Contest, winning Varani over RM20,000 worth of prizes.

Varani’s prize-winning picture, along with many others of the landscapes, cultures and peoples of Asia, will be on display during Travel Photographer Asia’s exhibition of the Best 50 Photographs of Asia, which will be showing at White Box, Publika in Kuala Lumpur, on May 26.

“It’s a good place to go to open your mind, and take in the beauty of Asia. There are a lot of interesting places here, and it is a great chance for you to see them in ways most people have not seen,” says Ahsan Qureshi, the founder of Travel Photographer Asia (TPA).

Founded in 2014, TPA is a unique travel photography festival consisting of photo contest, photography masterclass, talks and workshops for the professional and amateur photographer. According to Ahsan, the exhibition is a showcase of the best entries received for TPA’s 2016 photo contest, which ran earlier this year. Six out of the 50 photographs on display are from Malaysian photographers. It will be curated by Australian travel photographer Drew Hopper, who is one of the exhibition’s nine-person jury of international photography experts.

Every photograph (taken in Asia, the Middle East or Australia) was judged for its creativity, originality, composition, artistic merit and content.

This is the second year of the TPA contest, which is organised by TPA in association with FujiFilm X. “I have been living in Malaysia for seven years,” says Ahsan, a photographer, who originally hails from Pakistan. “We had a lot of interesting entries this year. Some were from established names, but there were also many amateurs which made it into the top 50,” he adds.

The TPA exhibition will also host photography talks on May 28, which will be panelled by Dr Shahidul Alam (award-winning Bangladeshi photographer/ activist), New York-based travel photographer Tewfic El-Sawy, lecturer/photographer Che Ahmed Azhar, Vignes Balasingam (Obscura Festival director) and Huang Wen (from China’s news agency Xinhua). Admission is free, but only open to the first 200 people who register at Click here for details