Annice Lyn brings much-needed edge to the photography arena
The co-founder of Women Photographers Malaysia is on a mission to champion and empower fellow women photographers with an edge that allows visual stories to be told from a female perspective.
It is important to me to possess the “edge” in order to be different from others in my field. Especially as a female documentary photographer, I believe it gives me a head start in gaining access to, and the trust of, children or women in conservative settings, and honouring them in telling their compelling stories with dignity.
To stand out and have the much-needed edge in the photography arena, I co-founded Women Photographers Malaysia, which serves in part as a personal healing and accountability project for me. It also helps me stay grounded and develop an inclusive culture through visual storytelling. While we are collectively working on championing gender equality especially towards education and opportunity, it is also important that we keep in mind to not step into reverse gender inequality, of oppressing men (or other women in general) just to lift ourselves (women) up.
As a visual storyteller, I do see gender equality progressing by leaps and bounds in recent years. However, there are still significant shortcomings persisting in the realm of visual culture, with the lack of diversity when it comes to visibility of women. Over the years, women (myself included) have fought for equality and recognition in assignment opportunities across the world, but many of our ‘shutter sisters’ still struggle with discrimination and cultural mores that do not allow them to advance as artists and storytellers.
How I overcame this struggle is by surrounding myself with friends and a community that would lift you up to be a bigger person who picks the right battles. I personally believe that the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. If excellence is what you do, then your character is representative of what you do for others.
Looking back, what instigated me to start photography was greatly influenced by both of my parents, who were social workers and heavily involved in the charity field. While I could never bring myself to do half of what they did for society, I tend to follow them during mission trips to photograph and visual document what they do. I strongly believe that with a great platform comes great responsibility. Hence, as a photographer, we use our eyes and our heart to focus on people and make them feel like they have been seen and understood – and their stories, heard.
To be able to see the world differently, through a woman’s perspective.
I really love what Adam Grant once said: “Your worth is not defined by what you achieve or acquire. It’s a question of who you become and how you contribute to others.” Ultimately from afar, we admire talent. Up close, what counts most is character. You can impress people with your skills, but you earn their trust by standing for something greater than yourself. There is no higher achievement than treating others kindly and living with integrity. For me, my line of work is to always be a good person first and photographer second. Get your fundamentals right, your ABCs: Attitude, Behaviour and Character. The rest will eventually follow.