2019 AAS Photo Competition Banner Image (Winners)

We are excited to announce the following winning photos. These photos were selected from 170 submissions showcasing not only the beauty and culture of Asia but the hard work of our members. We sincerely appreciate the support and contribution received for our first annual photo competition.

Captions were written by the entrant.



Drying Apricots for a Living, Baltistan

Photographer: Carmen Brandt

Location of Photo: Skardu, Baltistan

Country: Pakistan

Year: 2017

Dried fruits, especially apricots, are one of the main agricultural products of the otherwise economically underdeveloped region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Girls and young women put them on the grass or on walls and roofs to dry them in the sun.




Hui Muslims

Photographer: Tom Cliff

Location of Photo: Zhongwei City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

Country: China (PRC)

Year: 2000

Chinese Hui Muslim men gather to play and watch music on their Friday afternoon off work. Ningxia has a high concentration of Chinese Muslims. Beside the empty ground on which they gather is a temple that serves three of the major Chinese faiths – Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism (Taoism).




Namahage in Anzenji, New Year's Eve

Photographer: Michael Foster

Location of Photo: Anzenji, Oga City, Akita Prefecture

Country: Japan

Year: 2017

Namahage demon-deities in the hamlet of Anzenji, Oga City, Akita Prefecture. The Namahage ritual takes place on New Year's Eve; in 2018 it was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.



Intha Fisherman on Inle Lake at Sunset

Photographer: Kevin McGahan

Location of Photo: Inle Lake

Country: Burma / Myanmar

Year: 2018

I teach and conduct research on Southeast Asian politics at the National University of Singapore. I bring NUS students to Inle Lake to learn about sustainable development practices. The photo reveals the traditional fishing practices of those who reside on Inle Lake for their livelihoods.



The Demilitarized Ribbons of Reunification

Photographer: Joowon Park

Location of Photo: Korean Demilitarized Zone

Country: South Korea

Year: 2019

Ribbons expressing desire and hope for reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula decorate a portion of the border that separates North and South Korea.



Away All Diving Boats

Photographer: David W. Plath

Location of Photo: Fuseda district, Mie prefecture

Country: Japan

Year: 1985

AMA---Japanese female divers---on the Shima Peninsula launch boats that carry them over reefs where they hunt for abalone, their main commercial catch. NOT pearls. They dive 6 months a year, twice a day. Some continue to dive in old age. From field research (beachwork?) in the 1980s.



Roses of Nagaland

Photographer: Myat The Thitsar

Location of Photo: Layshi Town, Naga Self Administrative Zone

Country: Myanmar (Burma)

Year: 2019

It was taken at the Naga new year festival held in Layshi town of Naga SAZ in January 2019. While traditional societal norms are still strong, the role and right of women are now reconsidered. Photo shows a Naga women group is waiting their turn for the new year dance.



Indonesian Qasidah Group "Nasida Riya"

Photographer: Anne Rasmussen

Location of Photo: Semarang, Java

Country: Indonesia

Year: 2017

The music group, Nasida Riya, now in their 4th generation, has been performing Islamic popular music since the 1980s. Still growing strong, this is the line up of veteran members, all of them instrumentalists, singers, and composers, at the Festival Dugderan in Semarang, Java in Spring 2017.




Scholars of Faith

Photographer: Usha Sanyal

Location of Photo: Shahjahanpur

Country: India

Year: 2012

These are madrasa students in a girls' madrasa in the Indian town of Shahjahanpur. They use the classroom space as a dormitory at night. Their stacked bedding may be seen behind the students, against the back wall.





Photographer: Brooke Schedneck

Location of Photo: Analaya Bhikkhuni Aaram, Chiang Rai

Country: Thailand

Year: 2019

This is a photo of female monks, who are part of the Analaya Bhikkhuni Aaram, in Chiang Rai province. I attended a ceremony there, where they consecrated a newly offered Buddha statue. In this picture, they are beginning the chanting for this ceremony.



Painting Faces: A Chinese and Operatic Artistry

Photographer: Carol Stepanchuk

Location of Photo: Stern Auditorium, University of MIchigan Museum of Art

Country: United States

Year: 2019

As part of an artist residency to appreciate the art form of the painted face role in Chinese opera, Li Yang, a member of the National Peking Opera Troupe, demonstrated the practice of hand painting operatic face patterns on himself and U-M Professor Joseph Lam, here as the character CaoCao.



The Shape of a Year

Photographer: Charles Zuckerman

Location of Photo: Nam Noy Watershed, Khammouane Province

Country: Laos

Year: 2018

Scrutinizing feet from a sacrificial chicken, two Saek men search for signs of the coming year. Teng Village, Nakai-Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area, Khammouane Province, Laos.