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Photo Contest Proves VOA Fans Love Their Cameras

 1st Place: Raihan Parvez, Bangladesh 'Existence'
1st Place: Raihan Parvez, Bangladesh 'Existence'
A haunting black and white photo of an elderly woman in Bangladesh took first prize in this year’s VOA photo contest, which drew more than 45-hundred submissions from around the world.

“We received 10 times the number of entries we had last year,” says English News Programs Chief Terry Wing, whose division sponsors the contest to showcase the many talented photographers who watch or listen to VOA around the world.

Thirteen judges narrowed the field to 287 finalists, and the winning photo was announced on “Daybreak Asia.”

“Each image is like a window into the photographer’s world, and that’s exactly what the judges wanted to see,” Wing says, “We wanted to invite our audience to give us feedback in a creative way.”

Ultimately, the black and white photograph by Raihan Parvez was declared the winner. Parvez’s photo, Existence, is of an elderly woman from Dhaka, Bangladesh preparing a bowl of grain while three ducklings approach her for food.

“As a judge, it was a really tough job narrowing down the thousands of pictures to a few hundred finalists,” says Indonesian Service Web Manager Ade Astuti. “I was blown away by the level of talent from the contestants coming from all over the world.”

Submissions poured in from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Russia, India, and Serbia, to name a few, but the country with the most submissions was Indonesia.

“I’m really proud of the level of Indonesian participation,” says Indonesian Service Chief Norman Goodman. He says interest was generated largely through outreach by social media, especially through the service’s more than one million Facebook fans.

The winner will receive an Apple iPad with Retina Display. A gallery of the top photos can be found at