BMW Asia and Leica Camera Asia Pacific – an internationally operating, premium segment German manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products – have jointly organised the first-ever BMW Photo Cup presented by Leica Camera. The two winners of the Singapore National Rounds have emerged to be Mr. Andrew Bi (49 years old) and Mr. Djohni Chandra (50 years old) with 2,852 votes and 2,242 votes respectively as of the closing date.
Hosted across five countries, Singapore (2 winners), Indonesia (1 winner), Vietnam (2 winners), Philippines (1 winner) and Myanmar (1 winner), contestants are provided with a Leica T Camera System over a one-day period to take part in the photo contest. During which, the contestants are brought to various interesting sites; including a fully operational hangar at the Singapore Changi Airport against the backdrop of a Singapore Airlines A380, the Voc Galangan - an atmospheric café in Jakarta that occupies the premises of a beautifully restored warehouse that dates back to 1628, as well as the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for photo opportunities. Limited to submitting only one photo each, the submitted photos are subsequently posted onto the official website for public voting over the period of seven days after each National round is completed. The contestant(s) with the most online votes emerges as winner(s) of the National round. He/she will then become a finalist representing his/her country to square off against other regional finalists in the Finals hosted in Namibia from 6 to 13 October 2015.
In Namibia, all finalists will be put through a spectacular adventure as they drive and explore a highly varied terrain comprising gravel and sand tracks, dunes, canyons, dried river deltas as well as steep mountain passes and beautiful coastal roads. The drive adventure will also be punctuated by stopovers like a boat trip in search of dolphins, stays at ranches and farms with high-class facilities - far out in South-West Africa. The finalists will be driving a BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, which will be their perfect companion over the eight-day period.
A principle IT engineer with a passion for driving and photography, Mr. Andrew Bi expressed his excitement be one of the finalists representing Singapore in the Finals in Namibia. Mr. Bi said: “I am thrilled with this rare opportunity. The inspiration behind my winning photo in the National round came from the thought of combining the excellent driving performance of a BMW car and the stylish yet excellent optical from a Leica camera. I’m looking forward to the trip already and can’t wait to capture the beauty of Namibia with my camera as I drive on the varied terrains on a BMW X5.”
The other winner from Singapore is Mr. Djohni Chandra who is an Executive Director, and has been taking photos as a hobby for over 20 years. He said: “Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go to Namibia, I also get to represent Singapore while doing something that I’ve always been passionate about. This is simply too good to be true.”
“The BMW Photo Cup presented by Leica Camera represents the partnership between BMW Asia and Leica Camera, and our aim to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience that money cannot buy. People want to capture beautiful and memorable moments with a camera to share them with their loved ones. Through a regional contest like the BMW Photo Cup, we’ve successfully created such a platform by combining a unique BMW experience like a Multiday tour of driving in Namibia and the chance to capture those beautiful moments with a Leica camera. The partnership is indeed a dream come true for those who are passionate about photography,” said Ms. Sonja Piontek, Marketing Director of BMW Asia.
“It was a fantastic experience to join hands with BMW Asia to create the first BMW Photo Cup and to offer a dedicated Leica T –Camera System to each participant to capture their moments that remain unforgettable,” said Mr. Sunil Kaul, Managing Director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific. “Pictures speak louder than words, for over 100 years famous photographers from around the world have been capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments with their Leica cameras. For many it was the first time to experience a Leica camera with a Leica Akademie instructor who ensured that the joy of photography was the key objective. The joy came from the overall experience provided and using the Leica T – Camera System as the philosophy of this product is ‘easy to use hard to forget’. Through this partnership we made new friends of the brands along the way.”
The BMW Photo Cup is supported by Mr. Mathias Heng, a highly experienced photojournalist who had spent time travelling to countries experiencing conflict, war and natural disasters. Mr. Heng’s works have appeared internationally in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Australian, The Age and newspapers throughout Asia and Europe. Besides mainstream media, his images have also appeared in books and magazines worldwide.
Mr. Mathias Heng, who is also the Lead Instructor of Leica Akademie in Asia, shared his insights on how to take better pictures in an exotic venue like Namibia and what to look out for. He said: “Be observant, remember to look around you and don’t just focus on your main subject. Your framing is equally as important as your main subject matter. And to always have your camera switched on in order not to miss a decisive opportunity to shoot.”