American Photography Open 2018: Meet the Winner, Zay Yar Lin

By David Schonauer   Monday October 29, 2018

You’ve met the finalists.

Now meet the winner of the American Photography Open 2018 contest: Zay Yar Lin of Sanchaung township, Yangon, Myanmar.

Zay Yar's winning image was “Mending Fishing Nets,” a beautifully composed photograph shot in a fishing village in Xiapu County, Fujian Province, China.

“I was shocked,” said Zay Yar when he was told he had won the first-ever American Photography Open competition — a contest open to any photographer at any level using any type of gear.

Zay Yar currently works as an officer aboard a tanker ship. He spends vacations shooting travel photography and hopes to one day be a full-time professional travel photographer.

Hopefully, being named the winner of the AP Open competition will help him achieve that goal. Zay Yar receives $5,000 plus a Tamron 24-70 G2 lens, a SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, a ProMaster Specialist tripod, a Digital Silver Imaging $500 gift certificate for Museum Quality Printing and a PhotoShelter 2 year Pro Account.

Born in Taungdwingyi , Magway, Myanmar, in 1984, Zay Yar graduated from the Institute of Marine Technology and went to sea at age 19. “In 2013, I fell into photography and realized that it was my real passion,” he says. A self-taught photographer, Zay Yar has previously won a number of international photography competitions, and his images have appeared in National Geographic and other publications.

His winning photo was made while he was traveling with friends through China’s Fujian Province. “When I was in a fishing village in Xiapu County, I saw this fisherman's wife mending fishing nets near her home. It was an interesting scene, with light from a big window coming in and illuminating her and the fishing nets, which seemed to form green waves,” he says.

Here are more examples of Zay Yar’s travel photography. (See more at his Instagram page.)

Congratulations to Zay Yar and all our finalists, and thanks to all who entered the inaugural American Photography Open contest and helped to make it a smashing success. Stay tuned for announcements for next year’s AP Open.