San Latt / April 16, 2021
A Kachin photojournalist from Myitkyina, Kachin State has been awarded the world’s 2nd prize from World Press Photo contest 2021 for the picture ‘Temple and Half-Mountain’.
A photojournalist Hkun Lat was awarded for his ‘Temple and Half-Mountain’ picture that shows a Buddhist temple which occupied one half of a mountain, while the other has been carved away by heavy machinery mining for jade in Hpakant jade mine of Burma’s Kachin State.
Hkun Lat told The Kachin Post that he is so happy for being awarded by World Press Photo. You can see half of the mountain in picture is raze the other half is intact, Hkun said. The reason he chose to take this picture is to depict the ruling government’s practice of keeps ignoring the environmental damages in Hpakant jade mine, even though they make billions of dollars from jade industry.
For 2021 World Press Photo contest, more than 4,200 photographers worldwide submitted about 70,000 images documenting unprecedented world event, from the COVID-19 pandemic to social justice protests.
NayanTara Gurung, the jury chair of 2021 World Press Photo contest, commented ‘Temple and Half-Mountain’ “presents a stunning overview of what we, as the human race, have designated to be ‘rare and valuable’ and sheer velocity with which we have ravaged and remodelled the earth for natural resources, money and power. It make us question what we preserve and why. It paints a pretty bleak picture of what we are leaving behind for future generations.”
Hkun Lat currently works at Frontier Myanmar Magazine on assignment. He is a former stringer photojournalist at AP Images.
Hkun Lat became impassioned in photography in 2011 when the civil war broke out between Kachin Independence Army and Burma Army in Kachin State of northern Burma. His work focus on ongoing issues in Burma including civil war, natural resources and environmental concerns, election, drugs and opium eradication movement in Kachin State.
He previously received two 1st prizes and a 2nd prizes at Yangon Photo Festival, Highly Commended award for Ian Parry Scholarship 2019, Merit award at Human Rights Press Awards 2020, and Award for Excellence at SOPA 2020.