Eli Sepe is IPA Filipino ‘Photographer of the Year’


A young photographer’s photo essay about the Philippines’ brutal war on drugs has earned him the top prize of the 2018 International Photography Awards Filipino.

The “The Enemy in the Dark” story of Basilio “Eli” Sepe beat other entries to win as IPA Filipino “Photographer of the Year”.Sepe, an Advertising graduate, said the photographic essay started as his college thesis.

“The killings have become normal. Nothing has been changed. And the enemy remains in the dark,” he said.

The IPA Filipino entries were evaluated by jury panels coming from 45 international jury-members and six local jury-members of IPA, a sister-effort of Lucie Foundation.

The regional IPA winners will be part of the Lucie Awards, popularly known as the “Oscars” of photography in New York to vie for the global Photographer of the Year title with a total of $22,000 over-all cash prize.

Sepe was a former staff and photography editor of the Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas.

The 23-year-old lensman is one of the youngest members of the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines and an Angkor Photo Workshop 2016 alumni.

Currently, Sepe is an independent photographer based in Manila and has done multimedia work for various local and international news agencies.

Earlier, another young Filipino photographer Ezra Acayan has been awarded the prestigious Ian Parry Scholarship 2018 Award for his work in documenting the Philippines’ campaign against illegal narcotics.

The 24-year-old Acayan is a former Reuters stringer in Manila and has been documenting the drug war that claimed more than 27, 000 lives.