Announcing the six selected talents from the Asia 6x6 Global Talent Program

Asia is the final edition of the 6x6 Global Talent Program’s first cycle. Beginning in August 2017, the program has spotlighted 36 under-recognized visual storytellers from six global regions. The 6x6 Global Talent Program forms part of the World Press Photo Foundation’s effort to encourage diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives. The first edition in the next cycle will focus on visual storytellers from Southeast Asia and Oceania.

The six selected visual storytellers from Asia are:

Selection Committee

Nominations for visual storytellers from Asia were made by the international community of over 100 6x6 nominators. With Lars Boering, Managing Director of the World Press Photo Foundation, as chair, the online selection committee comprised Ammar Abd Rabbo (Syria), photographer and journalist; NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati (Nepal), photographer and curator; Claudia Hinterseer (Netherlands), Senior Video Producer South China Morning Post; and Kazuma Obara (Japan), photographer.

Nominator Quotes

On nominating Amira Ahmed Yahya Alsharif, Helena Velez Olabarria (Spain), visual researcher, curator, project manager and lecturer, said:

“Pushing cultural and societal boundaries, Amira Alsharif is a female visual storyteller that has been developing her voice in Yemen. Among others, making her way in a strongly male-dominated environment, her stories are gender empowering, and relate to individuals and communities.” - and 6x6 nominator

On nominating Azin Anvar Haghighi, Peggy Porquet (France), Deputy Editor-in-Chief, art director, and curator, said:

“Azin Haghighi has a rare sensitivity in his photographic approach and spends a long time on sensitive projects. This young talent offers viewers unique and disturbing situations and invites them reflect on the current living conditions of Iranians.” 

On nominating Saumya Khandelwal, Daniella Zalcman (USA), photographer, said:

“Saumya Khandelwal is an empathetic and incisive, but still joyful storyteller focused on some of the most critical issues in her home: gender issues and the environment. She's also a role model for younger photographers and takes a proactive role in the photography community speaking, mentoring, and helping to guide the industry wherever possible.”

On nominating Senthil Kumaran Rajendran, Francoise Callier (Belgium), Angkor Photo Festival and Workshops Coordinator, said:

“Senthil Kumaran documents his own country, and usually works on long term projects which allow him to go deeper in his stories.”

On nominating Shahria Sharmin, Shehab Uddin (Australia), Lecturer, said:

“Shahria Sharmin is passionate about, and fascinated with, the evolution of identity, sexuality and gender in relationship to material culture. Sharia questions negative public perceptions towards ‘hijra’ (men who identify as women), which inspired her to explore and express the diversity of human identity. She not only brings the stories of ‘hijras’ to the viewer but also introduces them in a way that creates an emotive bridge between the reader and the people whose stories are being shared”

On nominating Yan Cong, Ruth Eichorn (Germany), Photo Editor and Curator, said:

“Yan Cong has a commitment to tell stories in her own country. She does it with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, mostly over long periods of time. Her work is driven by her humanistic view. Over the years I have known her, her work has become more personal stylistically, and her own unique vision emerged. Her work is honest and empathic.”


The work of the 6x6 talents will be presented during Miami Photo Fest’s nightly multimedia presentations from 27 February - 3 March 2019. This follows the first exhibition of the 6x6 program at LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism in Germany, and exhibitions in Yangon, Myanmar; Kuching, Malaysia; and Maputo, Mozambique.

In addition to the exhibitions, the work of the six talents will also be published and shared on the World Press Photo Foundation’s platforms, including a feature on our online magazine Witness for each of the talents.

For all questions about the program, please contact

Header Image, from left to right, top to bottom: Senthil Kumaran Rajendran (© Karthi); Azin Anvar Haghighi (© Majid Hamed Haghdoost); Amira Ahmed Yahya Alsharif (© Amira Ahmed Yahya Alsharif); Shahria Sharmin © Saadul Islam; Yan Cong © Ye Ming; and Saumya Khandelwal © Reuben Singh.