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The Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards [KLPA] is an annual global portrait photography prize seeking the very best and fresh entries from photographers of all levels. Initiated in 2009, KLPA is recognised as a significant and vital award in the photography calendar, supporting and rewarding contemporary portraiture practice especially in the South East Asian region.

"To become a finalist in the KLPA 2023 was for me an amazing experience in my professional journey as a photographer.


It was a great honour for me to be among the finalists with their incredible work. Even though I couldn't physically be present during the exhibition time, I still felt engaged in the entire event through the videos and photos shared by the organizers. I was impressed by how my artwork was handled, and printed in a large size with precision and care for the details. There has been an amazing amount of effort put into setting up the entire exhibition.

I also would like to express my gratitude to Steven Lee, the founder director of KLPA, for responding to my request to send the exhibition catalogue. I now have the opportunity to hold it in my arms and scroll through these pages and all the incredible works.

I am certain that anyone who aims to participate in the next KLPA editions will find great pleasure in the opportunity. This is something you don't want to miss!”

~ Olga Steinepreis, Germany

KLPA 2023 finalist


"I feel deeply grateful to have my work selected for the KLPA Portrait Award and to be part of such a rich examination of intimacy in pictures. The recognition and support have been wonderful. This has truly been a highlight for me in my photographic career, and gives me added inspiration for my work."

~ Allison Plass USA

KLPA 2023 1st Prize

Allison Plass portrait_edited.jpg

"Being a part of KLPA was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a photographer. Meeting the KLPA team, fellow photographers and having my work exhibited in KL was such a rewarding, enriching and heartfelt journey.

One of the best decisions I have ever made was to enter the awards."

~ Carole Mills Noronha

KLPA2022 Winner Carole Mills Noronha visited the opening of the exhibition at GMBB to receive her prize. September 2022.

"During the jury process of KLPA, the most rewarding time is the deliberation on the submissions and the not-unexpected questions on what constitutes portrait photography. Each submission is fully considered, and the varied opinions and perspectives from the jury members are 'food for thought' on portraiture in today's contemporary context of social media platforms. After two full days of considering the submissions, there are images that powerfully stay in my mind. And I believe these photographs have touched me .. and perhaps words are not sufficient for the emotions elicited by them." 


Director, Singapore International Photography Festival | KLPA2018 Jury


KLPA2020 Ilham Gallery walkthrough by Acacia Daud

KLPA2020 Ilham Gallery walkthrough by Acacia Daud

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Dan Nelken with Valentine Willie, ILHAM Gallery Creative Director, Kuala Lumpur


DAN NELKEN, USA. 2019 1st Prize Theme Category. "I entered the KLPA for the global exposure it would provide. The award carries with it additional exposure opportunities for the winners at several other photography festivals around the world that have partnered with KLPA.

Attending the ceremony in Kuala Lumpur provided me with an opportunity to meet several judges and an unexpected benefit of meeting many active members of the Kuala Lumpur photographic community who befriended me.  The monetary award was generous; a bonus was receiving an original art sculpture that served as a trophy to commemorate my first prize placement.  Further, KLPA printed and framed my images for exhibition at no extra charge and did a fabulous job. Pro printers produced exhibition quality prints I was proud to endorse. Other competitions charge a fee to print, frame and hang your images, which is costly and a disincentive to enter. Not so here. And this step eliminates expensive international shipping costs.


More than all of the above, my work was in the company of terrific portrait photographers — some just starting out and others already with a list of well-deserved exposure. I was honoured to be selected as a winner among this global talent."

JEANNE TARIS 2019, from France posing next to her winning entry at ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. She met with Julia Durkin, director of the Auckland Festival of Photography at the awards and has been invited to exhibit at her festival in June 2020.

Jeanne also gave a talk about her work at the Leica Store in Kuala Lumpur.


SANDRA CHEN-WEINSTEIN, winner of the 1st Prize in the 2017 Open Category, said “this contest is very helpful to all emerging photographers for getting acknowledgment and recognition for their achievement.” After only a few weeks following the award announcement, Chen-Weinstein said “I am very fortunate to be featured on the cover of The European Photography Magazine as a result.”


KATHRIN TSCHIRNER, 1st Prize winner in the 2016 Portrait category, says, “The KL Photoawards is more than recommendable. It was noticeable that the organisers have a real interest in photography. The event has been implemented with great attention to detail, recognisable by the good prints and a really masterful hanging in the beautiful rooms of the White Box Gallery.”

"It has been such a wonderful and unique experience to take part in the Kuala Lumpur Photoawards 2016. Not only did I have the honor to accept one of the Select Juror’s awards, my work was also featured in a beautifully curated show. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to physically be there, thanks to the KLPA team who made it possible. I met local and international talents who were also finalists and winners and have maintained several relationships since then.


Furthermore, I was able to present my work to the community in an Artist Talk where I also got very encouraging and valuable feedback. I look forward to see what future editions will bring! Thank you for the opportunity and congratulations on the success!"


ALIA ALI, USA 2016 Select Juror Finalist


Dan Nelken USA at ILHAM Gallery, 2019


Awards, ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur 2019


Awards, ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur 2019


Awards, ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur 2019


Kai Yokoyama and his finalist entry, KLPA2019, ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur


Jeanne Taris, France with her winning portrait entry, 2019. Ilham Gallery.


Dan Nelken, USA sharing with visitors at the Walk & Talk event, ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, September 2019


Julia Durkin of Auckland Festival of Photography, Steven Lee, KLPA Director, Dan Nelken USA, Jeanne Taris, France, Patarit Pinyopiphat, Thailand and Munirah Rohaizan of KLPA.


KLPA2019 exhibition, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur


Ilham Gallery, 2019


Ilham Gallery 2019

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KLPA 2019 jury : L -R Kong Yen Lin, Enrico Stefanelli, Steven Lee, Tom White, Hasnoor Hussain, Charmaine Poh - KL Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, May 2019


Public screening at Auckland Festival of Photography 2019


Screening at Photolux Festival, Lucca, Italy 2019


Lucia Herrero, Spain, KLPA2018 Grand Prize Winner


Lucia Herrero, Spain, KLPA2018 Whitebox, Kuala Lumpur


Awards Evening, Kuala Lumpur, September 2017


Margaret Mitchell, Scotland, KLPA2017


Margaret Mitchell, UK presented her certificate and award, KLPA2017


Tim Franco, France, White Box Publika, Kuala Lumpur 2017


Sohphee from Photo Media, with Ian Teh


All present winners, finalists and organising team, KLPA2017


Sandra Chen Weinstein, USA talking about her work


Heiko Tiemann, Germany KLPA2016 - Whitebox, Kuala Lumpur

Photos by Munirah Rohaizan, Tang Chun Cheuh and others

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