CGAP Announces Winner of 2014 Photo Contest

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2014 / PRNewswire — The first prize winner of the 2014 CGAP Photo Contest is Soh Yew Kiat of Malaysia. A panel of three judges selected his photo, “Cormorant Fisherman,” from a record number of 4,820 entries from professional and amateur photographers in 95 countries. The winning photo depicts a man in China practicing the vanishing craft of cormorant fishing – a traditional technique thousands of years old that involves training birds to catch fish.

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The annual CGAP Photo Contest, which was launched in 2006, aims to highlight stand-out photography depicting financial inclusion around the world. Through strong photography, CGAP showcases the different ways in which poor households manage their financial lives and raises awareness about the importance of formal financial services for people at the base of the economic pyramid.

The judges selected “Cormorant Fisherman” because of the poetic and evocative way it tells a story. Cormorant fishermen, like the one in the photo, are typically involved in the tourism industry and their businesses benefit greatly from easier access to financial services.

“The photo captured a timeless image, paired with a modern story,” explained Meghan Dhaliwal, Multimedia Projects Coordinator for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “It’s mythical-looking, and his clothes mirror the shape created by the wings of the bird,” she added.

In addition to the compelling story behind the winning image, the judges said it was technically excellent. “The focus is on the fisherman, but the viewer can still see the beautiful details of the background,” said Indira Williams Babic, Senior Manager of Visual Resources for the Newseum.

The 2014 Grand Prize is a $2,000 gift certificate for photography equipment.

A full gallery of the 30 winning photos can be viewed at

The judges also selected second and third place winners as well as 27 regional winners, finalists, and special mentions, which were chosen for both technical excellence and depiction of the stories and faces behind financial inclusion. Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio, Manager of Photo and Digital Assets for the American Red Cross, was particularly taken by the third prize winner from Tanzania. She noted that the image, entitled “Smallholder”, taken by Hailey Tucker, was dynamic: “You can tell that the woman in the photo has a tough life, but in that moment she is completely in control.”

A popular vote on determined a People’s Choice winner: “Golden Dusk,” submitted by Vishal Singh, of India. The picture depicts a boatman leading a sightseeing tour at Konark beach in Odisha, India. According to Singh, a nongovernmental organization provided the tour guide with his boat, which affords him his livelihood and the ability to support his family. The photo received 1,393 votes.

The 2014 panel of judges consisted of Indira Williams Babic, Senior Manager of Visual Resources at the Newseum, Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio, Manager of Photo and Digital Assets for The Red Cross, and Meghan Dhaliwal, Multimedia Projects Coordinator for The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.