POY Asia relies a lot on the Founding Advisors who are all established professionals in Asia. One thing the Founding Advisors have in common is a desire to share their knowledge and opinion. They provided honest counsel before the official formation of POY Asia and will continue to guide this organization and its undertakings in the years to come.
Tanya Habjouqa is a Jordanian-Texan visual artist, educator, and a member of NOOR Images. Habjouqa’s approach to visual storytelling fuses a mordant sense of irony with unstinting, forensic interrogations of the implications of geopolitical conflict on human lives. Trained in anthropology and journalism (MA: Global Media, SOAS, London), her work on Palestine-Israel has been cited as a powerful investigation of the cross-currents of politics, economics, religion, and cultural production. She is a mentor in the acclaimed Arab Photography Documentary Programme, a co-editor of the Jadaliyya’s academic journal’s visual-audio page and co-founder of Ruwa, a multi-disciplinary creative platform for visual storytellers across the Middle East, nurturing authentic and homegrown visual narratives. She creates bespoke workshops internationally for NIKON Europe, Doha Film Institute, Gulf Photo Plus, SF CAMERA, and ISSP Latvia (among others). Her book “Occupied Pleasures” has received critical acclaim from Time Magazine and Smithsonian. The project won a World Press Photo. She creates long-form multiplatform research projects for clients such as Amnesty International and was an adjunct professor at the Bard Al Quds media program. Habjouqa is in the permanent collections of the MFA Boston, Institut du Monde Arabe, and Carnegie Museum of Art, and is represented by East Wing Gallery. Her project, Sacred Space Oddity (The un/Holy Land) is currently in collaboration with renowned Dutch photobook designer Teun van der Heijden (2022). Habjouqa has served on the jury of the World Press Photo Awards, POY (Pictures of the Year International), the FotoEvidence W Award, FORMAT International Derby, the PH Museum photography grant, and the Joop Master Class.
Born in 1957, Prashant Panjiar works independently as a photographer, photo editor and curator. A post-graduate in Political Science from Pune University, India, he learnt photography on his own and worked on projects focusing on peasant movements and other social issues through his college and university days. Afterwards, he worked as an independent photojournalist for leading international and national publications. Now, as a documentary photographer, he works on issues of health, education and livelihood across Asia and Africa for international non-profit organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, American India Foundation, UNFPA, IPPF & HIV-AIDS Alliance. Since 2011, he has led the curatorial team of the biennial Delhi Photo Festival of which he is the co-founder and co-Creative Director. In 2014 he curated a permanent collection of contemporary photography for the new corporate building of Star TV India in Mumbai. In 2015 as Creative Director he curated, and helped conceive the first edition of Sensorium, a festival of Arts, Literature & Ideas for Sunaparanta, the Goa Centre for the Arts. He was the project curator for Kanu’s Gandhi, the third title in the Nazar Photography Monographs series, and of the resulting exhibition that was on tour from 2015 to 2019. He was also one of the photography curators for the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa for 2016 and 2017. His latest initiative is the multi-disciplinary Goa Open Arts Festival that he co-founded and launched in 2020. Panjiar has served on the jury of the World Press Photo Awards, the China International Press Photo Competition, POY (Pictures of the Year International), Indian Express Press Photo Awards and the National Foundation of India’s annual photography fellowship. Being one of India’s leading photo-practitioners, Panjiar is actively involved in mentoring younger photographers.
Maye-E Wong is a photographer and editor with the Associated Press Global Enterprise team based in New York and serves as a creative engine for enterprise photography for all platforms. She joined the Associated Press in 2003 after starting her news photographer career at The Straits Times, Singapore’s largest newspaper. She is a multiple-timed grant recipient of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis reporting and the International Women’s Media Foundation Fund (IWMF). In 2017, she photographed Rohingya women who had fled Myanmar. This assignment was in Cox’s Bazar and was part of an investigative piece carried out by The Associated Press (AP) on the rapes of Rohingya women by Myanmar’s military, which were both sweeping and methodical. The work won an Overseas Press Club Hal Boyle Award and the 2018 Ancil Payne Ethics in Journalism Award. A former national sailor who had represented Singapore at regional competitions, Maye-E has been able to combine her work and love for sports and has documented major events such as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. She also covered political protests taking place in Thailand and Hong Kong, the devastation of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and Dhaka’s garment factory collapse. From 2014-2018, she worked as AP’s lead photographer for North Korea, where her responsibilities included news and everyday life coverage. She was a Jury member at the 2018 and 2019 World Press Photo Contest and has The National Headliner Awards for her work in North Korea.
As director of photojournalism at the Missouri School of Journalism’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, Lynden Steele oversees the Pictures of the Year International competition, coordinates worldwide exhibitions and manages the POYI archive. He also teaches at the Missouri School of Journalism. Before coming to RJI, Steele worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 2008, most recently as assistant managing editor of photography. The work of his staff has been widely recognized. Notable awards include the 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Domestic Photography, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography and the POYI Director’s Choice in 2015. In 2014, his staff, along with the Post-Dispatch’s graphics and metro team, won an EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher for Best Use of Photography on a Website and the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Breaking News for staff coverage of Ferguson. Prior to his work in St. Louis, Steele was a picture editor at the White House and edited the photography book “Portraits of a Leader: George W. Bush.” Steele began his career as a staff photographer at the Monroe (Michigan) Evening News, and also worked as a staff photographer for Copley newspapers. He received his bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the Missouri School of Journalism. Steele and his wife, Jody Mitori, who is also a Missouri School of Journalism graduate, have three children.
Kay-Chin Tay is a Singaporean documentary photographer. A 1992 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, he worked for more than a decade in newspapers in Singapore and the United States, working his way up from photographer to presentation editor. After turning to independent photography, Kay Chin worked with the photography and film group Objectifs to co-found Shooting Home, one of Southeast Asia’s first photography workshops. In that year he was also named one of 12 Hasselblad Masters of the world. In 2010, he co-founded PLATFORM, a photography collective to promote photojournalism and documentary work in Singapore. Leading up to the 50th anniversary of Singapore attaining political independence, Kay Chin and the PLATFORM team launched an initiative to publish 20 books by 20 Singaporean photographers. In 2015, an exhibit featuring all 20 books was held at Jendela (Visual Arts Space) at Esplanade–Theatres by the Bay. Kay Chin has exhibited in the USA, Turkey, Australia, China, South Korea, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. His photographs are collected by institutional and private collectors around the world. In 2018, he was invited by Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, to curate the exhibit, Singapore Unseen. He is a nominator for World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass from 2019 to 2021. He was a judge at the 77th Pictures of the Year competition and a faculty member for the 72nd and 73rd Missouri Photo Workshop.