The winner of the coveted ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu 2013 was announced at an award ceremony at the Chan Hampe Galleries last evening. The evening belonged to the young but highly regarded Sarah Choo who picked up the top prize which carries a cash prize of $30,000. Along with the top prize, two Discernment Awards each worth $8,000 were also given out, with Sim Chi Yin and Darren Soh picking them up. A Eternal Discovery Award worth $1,000 plus a bottle of Martell Cordon Bleu was also presented to Sim Chi Yin for having the most number of public online votes.
The award which recognises the top photographer in Singapore, is one which is decided on by a jury made up of both international and local members presided by Madame Agnes de Gouvion Saint-Cyr Sarah, a photography curator. Also on the jury is Mr Gueorgui Pinkhassov, a Magnum Photographer; Ms Emmeline Yong, Partner, Objetcifs Centre for Photography and Filmmaking; Mr Venka Purushothaman, Provost, LASALLE College of the Arts; and Ms Charmaine Leung, Marketing Director, Pernod Ricard, Singapore.
Speaking at the ceremony, Madame de Gouvion Saint-Cyr explained the decision which was made by the jury after a long debate. It was felt that Sarah Choo’s works “masterfully addresses the theme of solitude with her multidisciplinary approach of photography.” She also added that Sarah’s series on teenagers suffering from anorexia and eating disorders, work which she is not able to show publicly out of respect of privacy for those she photographed, “displays a very accurate use of the photographic medium based on strong pictorial know-how such as a sense of composition, framing and the use of light”.
Besides the cash prize, the winner Sarah Choo also wins an organised trip to a photography festival of her choice in France which will present her with an opportunity to network with galleries, curators and agents based in Europe.