|April 17, 2009|
By Irene Tham
A PICTURE of a stork making a perfect landing has made 67-year-old Vincent Foong (above) the Amateur Photographer Of The Year at the Sony World Photography Awards.
First, he topped the competition's natural history section - which was reported last month. Then he beat seven other amateur category winners to the top prize of US$5,000 (S$7,500).
The first Asian to win, he received the award at a gala dinner at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, last night.
The Professional Photographer Of The Year was American David Zimmerman, for a picture of a desert scene.
The contest, in its second year, drew 60,000 entries from around the world.
All 12 judges were won over by Mr Foong's picture, which captured how storks survive an inherent design flaw - their spindly legs - which often leaves them with broken limbs.
Judge Jurgen Schadeberg, a German photographer, said the image 'showed humour, pathos and good timing'.
British judge Zelda Cheatle was charmed by the photo's simplicity and said: 'I love the expression on the bird's face.'
Mr Foong, who helps at his family's interior design firm, took up photography in the 1970s. He photographed people and buildings until he switched to birds five years ago.
This has meant making solo trips to remote corners of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
His winning shot was taken on a trip near Muar, in Johor. For more than a year, he drove there at 3am every other Saturday to spend the whole day photographing birds.
In a telephone interview, he said: 'The family time I missed during the last five years has finally paid off.'
He is planning a book of his work from the past.
Making the trip to France meant missing elder daughter Alena's 16th birthday, but she said: 'Of course I don't mind him not being here. I'm so proud of him. His winning the award is like a birthday present to me.'
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