Interview with winner of ISWAN Photo Competition 2017

March 09, 2017
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Zay Yar Lin won the ISWAN Photo Competition 2017 with his stunning photograph (below) of a seafarer painting a ship’s handrail. Zay Yar Lin spoke to us about his winning photo and working at sea, and offered some advice for other seafarers who enjoy taking photos – photography is an excellent hobby for seafarers wanting to relieve stress and be creative.

Congratulations on your winning photo, Zay Yar Lin! Tell us a bit about yourself and your life as a seafarer.

I'm from Myanmar and I live in Yangon, Myanmar. I work as a Chief Officer at a chemical tanker company (MTM Ship Management Co. Ltd). As I'm the head of Deck Department, I am in charge of Safety, deck maintenance and cargo operation and also responsible for navigation duties. Apart from working time at sea, I love to take photos of seafarers working on the ship. I don't like being away from the family when I'm on board the ship.

How did you hear about the ISWAN Photo Competition 2017?

I just saw the ISWAN Photo Competition 2017 on Facebook shared by one of my friends.

Tell us about your winning photo.

I took this photo from the bridge wing which is uppermost deck of the ship. I used to bring my camera on the bridge while at sea to take spontaneous moments around the ship and at sea. The ship was sailing in Gulf of Mexico near United States of America and I was on the bridge deck when I saw this seafarer painting the ship hand rail. Actually, it was a spontaneous moment. When I noticed this seafarer’s painting job on the ship's red deck and the beautiful whirling blue sea, I couldn’t resist taking this spontaneous moment. Luckily, the sun was on low altitude and the sun lighting was very good enough to see the beautiful shadow of the seafarer. I took three or four photos until I got this final shot.

What was your reaction when you found out you had won?

I felt surprised and very happy to know that I had won the Winner. I just talked to my wife and shared happiness of this success.

What do you enjoy about photography?

I believe Photography helps people to see and feel. I love taking pictures that tell stories.

How do you plan to use your prize – a GoPro HERO5 Session camera?

I want to use this GoPro HERO5 Session camera to learn underwater photography.

Do you have any top tips or advice for any other seafarers who enjoy taking photos as a hobby?

Photography is the art of imagination and creation. Try to imagine first and be creative to make photos. Never forget about lighting and composition.

To view the rest of this year’s finalists and overall shortlist, visit our Flickr page here.

The International Seafarers’ Welfare & Assistance Network (ISWAN) is an international charity promoting seafarers’ welfare worldwide, and we directly serve seafarers and their families by providing a 24-hour helpline, SeafarerHelp.

We rely on charitable grants and donations – to help us assist more seafarers in distress, you can donate now on JustGiving or Virgin Money Giving.

Below: Winning photo by Zay Yar Lin

Wining photo by Zay Yar Lin

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