Hong Kong amateur photographer’s stunning snap wins National Geographic People’s Choice award

Daniel Cheung takes home prize for his ‘fantasy world’ image capturing a jumping girl in a red dress in a tunnel of light

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 June, 2018, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 June, 2018, 10:53pm

A Hong Kong amateur photographer who found a “decisive moment” when capturing an image of a leaping girl in an illuminated tunnel was voted the winner of People’s Choice award in the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year competition.

Daniel Cheung Sung-lok, a photography lover who started shooting five years ago, is the only Hong Kong local to win a prize in this year’s contest. “I’m overjoyed and proud to be recognised as a Hongkonger,” Cheung told the Post.

His winning photograph, titled “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, shows a girl in a red dress running in a “fantasy world” with shining lights. Cheung said he got the photo by chance when he attended a digital art exhibition called Teamlab in Shenzhen, where the “accumulation of light points was used to create sculptural bodies”. “I saw a girl in red ran around in the tunnel and I waited a bit,” he said. “When she ran again, I pressed the shutter.”

He used a Sony A7 camera.

He said the photo looks like a scene in Japanese cartoons. “I think it’s creative, so I decided to join the contest by National Geographic for the first time.”

The contest this year received 13,000 entries themed on nature, cities and people, from around the world, and 13 winners, including Cheung, were selected.

In 8 pictures: National Geographic prize-winning teen Hong Kong photographer’s stunning journey to success

The People’s Choice Award is the only award chosen by readers based on votes, with the rest decided by judges, the including grand prize, second place and honourable mentions.

Cheung said his photo, which was among the 15 entries shortlisted by editors of the travel magazine, won 1,973 votes from readers, the highest among all the pictures in three categories under the People’s Choice Award.

As well as his winning photo, Cheung also submitted another titled “That someone in the crowd”, capturing a person standing in a crowd in inside an MTR station.

“I hope to win more international recognition with pictures showing distinct features of Hong Kong in the future, ” he said.

Another photo titled “Alone In the Crowds”, by Gary Cummins, a photographer based in Canada, picturing a view of a vacant sports amenities in Hong Kong, won this year’s honourable mention in the Cities category.

“With so many people living in small spaces, it’s strange to see all these amenities empty,” Cummins wrote in the photo caption, “As a solo traveller, I’m often alone in crowds and this photo resonates with me.”

Another People’s Choice shortlisted photographer, David Tsui, based in Hong Kong, captured the contrast of a quiet street in Macau and a modern luxurious hotel in a picture he called “The Invasion”.

In past years, Hong Kong photographers have won a number of honours in the same contests. Last year, Andy Yeung won the second place in the Cities category for an aerial shot of Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom, while in 2016 two Hongkongers won grand prizes in the People’s Choice category and second place in the Cities category respectively.

Additional reporting by Zoe Law