Joan and her winning photo.
Photo: Joan Pabona
Joan and her winning photo. Photo: Joan Pabona

A domestic worker from the Philippines has taken the first runner-up prize in a photo contest held by National Geographic.

Joan Pabona, a 35-year-old Filipina domestic worker who has been working in Hong Kong since 2013, was announced as first runner-up in the National Geographic Wheelock Properties Youth Photo Competition 2017 (People and Happenings in Hong Kong section).

Titled ‘Sacrifice,’ her black-and-white photo shows a worker in a helmet standing among safety nets used for bamboo scaffolding.

Joan said she took the picture from the home of the family she works for on the 8th floor of a residential building in Happy Valley, on Hong Kong Island.

Joan told Asia Times she started taking photographs when she was in college in the Philippines and further pursued her interest after moving to Hong Kong. She attended photography workshops organized by the social enterprise Lensational. Now she says she often spends her days off walking around Hong Kong with her camera, hoping to capture details of local life.

“Hong Kong (is like) a playground and a second home, I’m always interested (in) people surrounding me,” Joan said.

The photo competition had four categories under the over-arching theme ‘Hong Kong Reminiscence: Place, People & Happenings.’ It attracted 3,518 entries from photographers aged 16 to 40 from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Macau.

For more of Joan Pabona’s photography:

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