Pinay wins int’l photo contest on sexuality
Cindy Aquino's intimate portrait bags first place in Pride Photo Award

PHOTO FINISH. Cindy Aquino's photograph wins best over-all single photo in the 3rd annual Pride Photo Award. Screenshot from

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MANILA, Philippines – Cindy Aquino’s photograph of two tattooed women sharing an intimate moment won first prize in an international photography contest about gender and sexual diversity.

Out of 3,257 entries to the 3rd Annual Pride Photo Award, her black-and-white photograph was chosen for the “natural tenderness expressed between the two women,” according to Stephen Mayes, one of the contest judges quoted by CNN.

Her photo was hailed the best overall single image in the competition.


The photo belongs to Aquino’s series of photos called “Bond.” The title is a reference to the bandage lesbians use to hide their breasts.

But Aquino sees a deeper meaning in the word.

In an interview with CNN, she explained, “I used the term ‘bond’ to show society that even LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are like normal people [who] just want to be happy with their lives, love and bond with each other like others do.”

For her award-winning photo, she took inspiration from the lives of LGBT Filipinos.

“I know the issues and problems they are dealing [with], especially here in the Philippines. Pinoys are very conservative when it comes to that issue…There’s a lot of discrimination going on, and most of the society still does not accept them.”

Her “Bond” series also won second place in the “extremely normal” category, one of 4 categories in the contest. 

These categories are documentary, gender (portraying persons with a gender identity other than male and female), extremely normal (portraying LGBT as everyday people) and open (photos that didn’t fit into the other categories). 

Other winners

Vietnamese Hai Thanh Nguyen bagged first place in the documentary category for the photo, “The Pink Choice,” which depicts gay couples living together.

First place in the gender category went to Anna Charlotte Schmid’s “The Other Side of Venus.” Her work consists of portraits of awkward adolescents surrounded by rundown buildings in Eastern Europe.

“Apt. 779” by Irina Popova was awarded the top prize in the extremely normal category. Her photos show an apartment in Moscow where 5 to 7 lesbians live together at any given time.

Nicola Frioll’s “Princesses in a Land of Machos” bested all other entries in the open category. She captured portraits of homosexuals in Juchitan, Mexico. – With reports from Pia Ranada/



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