MPA Photo Essay | Top Three | 8th Annual MPA


The Sulphur Mining Workers by Dan Liu

The Ijen volcano complex is a group of volcanoes located in East Java, Indonesia. The Ijen volcano is 2800m above sea level.

The active volcano has an acidic crater lake, which is the site of a labor-intensive sulphur mining operation. The sulphur mining starts at 2am every day and lasts until the afternoon.

One burden of the job is for each worker to transport approximately 100 kilograms of sulphur up and down the volcano repeatedly more than 10 times a day.

The workers are only equipped with primitive protection and every single moment they suffer from heavy sulphur fumes. Their daily wage is around 10 dollars. Dan Liu



Connections by Erik Lieber

I lost both my parents within a year. This series explores relationships and connections within my family. I have taken photographs of myself and my children with pieces of photographs of my parents. I am exploring both visual and emotional similarities and connections. It is an ongoing project. Erik Lieber



Bus Sleepers by Tee Lip Lim

It is well documented and researched that the typical urban dwellers do not have enough sleep in their daily lives and thus a common sight of commuters catching a snooze or forty winks, some more so than others.

Public bus seats transformed suddenly into private beds of sort; Sleepy heads bobbing side to side, the abrupt snoring of a deadbeat bloke, drooling teen head buried deep like an ostrich. The spectrum of commute sleepers ranges from that of austerity to simply lackadaisical mannerism. Occasionally you have your sleep talkers or the graceful leaners.

Traveling on a bus makes for a wonderful theatre of life. I often wonder what are they dreaming, what jobs they do, how hectic are their lives and where are they going? Oh oh… will they miss their destination? What or who will wake them up?

Personally, I had on several instances slept all the way to the bus terminal having missed alighting, but sometimes kind neighborly commuter who knew where I should be alighting will lightly tap on my shoulders to alert me.

In the bus, you witness nastiness as well as kindness, acts of brashness and those of bravery too. The bus is not just a bus for citizens but that for all walks of lives to congregate and share a common space where we seek some form of respite, some to work/read and for the rest of us to just catch some well-deserved zzz…