NST photographer wins MPOC award

KUALA LUMPUR: A black and white photo by New Straits Times photographer Sairien Nafis has won second place at the World Palm Portraits Photography Competition, earning US$1,000.

The international competition, organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), now in its third year, received more than 5,000 entries from more than 45 countries.

Sairien, a well-travelled photographer, received the award from MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor at the 2015 Palm Oil Industry Leadership Award dinner here last night.

"I've always viewed photography as creating art in journalism as I'm a newsman at heart. I'm happy to dedicate the award to my wife and three-year-old daughter. They are my inspiration," Sairien said.

To gain a better insight into oil palm seeds production, he visited Paloh and Kekayaan Estates at Johor owned by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd in June this year.

There he met up with scientists and documented the intricate process of tree breeding and production of designer oil palm seeds.

Through painstaking research and development, oil palm planters reap the benefits of high yielding clonal palms. This is how Malaysia is able to feed the world with more nutritious cooking oil, and at the same time, safeguard biodiversity.

Sairien submitted his shots to the World Palm Portraits Photography Competition. Judges liked his black and white perspective shot at Kekayaan Estate featuring flocks of long-legged white birds feeding on insects.

During his career, Sairien's other notable assignments include covering Japan's tsunami and earthquake disaster in 2011 and daily lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan.