When we created POY Asia three years ago, we made a lot of effort to ensure that our chief mission — promoting Asia-based photographers and Asia content — takes precedence.
That is why we included the clause ‘All images must be taken in Asia’ in our rules.
In the past, we have disqualified images taken outside of Asia. It was a straightforward decision.
But this year, we faced a challenge — many Asian photographers have gone to Ukraine to cover the war and quite a few have already entered these images in POY Asia 2023.
What do we do with these images?
We recognise that Ukraine is a big story, but there are also many ongoing conflicts in Asia.
Neither can we ignore the effort and risk taken by many Asian photographers to bring us the images.
After much considerations, here’s our decision:
All images of Ukraine entered in category 1 to 11 will automatically be moved to a new non-competition category – The War in Ukraine.
Those who have not but intend to submit images made in Ukraine should put them in this additional category.
The maximum number of images per photographer for this special category is 30.
However, images taken in Ukraine cannot be included in a portfolio for the Photographer of the Year, Asia category.
As the archive is a POY family effort, those who have submitted images made in Ukraine to 80th Pictures of the Year International(POYI) need not submit them to POY Asia 2023.
We will curate these images with the help of our judges and ensure that they are archived in the growing POYI archive housed at the University of Missouri. The archive, publicly accessible, is a great resource for educators, historians and researchers.
Together with the images entered in the other POY family of competitions, they will become important documents in the future.
Thank you for your understanding.