BURO Impact Awards 2023: Celebrating Annice Lyn as our Voice of the Year

BURO Impact Awards 2023: Celebrating Annice Lyn as our Voice of the Year

Leading with intention


By Sarah Hani Jamil

In a remarkable journey spanning just eight years, 31-year-old Annice Lyn has achieved milestones that many seasoned photographers strive for throughout their entire careers. From having her photo grace the cover of Times magazine to being recognised in the 2021 Forbes 30 under 30, and covering the Olympic Games on three distinct occasions, Annice’s career is a testament to her talent and dedication.

Behind her soft-spoken and poised exterior lies an inner strength that resonates in her art. As a photojournalist, she is driven by the belief that art should capture the real and raw moments in life. Ahead, read all about our Voice of the Year.


Annice wears: Black blazer, shirt, pants and tie, all Zalora.


Finding her calling

Annice’s journey into photography began with an unexpected twist, initially aspiring to be a figure skater inspired by Disney’s Ice Princess. Despite the unconventional pursuit of a winter sport in Malaysia’s tropical climate, she dedicated herself to figure skating from the ages of 13 to 18. An unfortunate injury at 18 led her to choose between studying architecture or continuing in the sport.

“I got into an accident by colliding with a public skater. I couldn’t walk; I was in a wheelchair for three days and crutches for two weeks. It was then that my father sat me down and asked me to pick between my studies or to pursue figure skating,” she reveals.

Opting for the former, Annice went on to discover the basics of lines, shadows, highlights, texture, and shapes in her architecture education at UCSI University, forming a foundation for her future in photography. “From there, everything fell into place. Moreover, it was my experience in figure skating that I discovered my passion for sports photography, despite having no prior training in the field,” she continues.


Annice wears: Trench coat, Loewe. Accessories, Talent’s own. 


Discovering her style

When Annice first pursued her career, she started off as a wedding and family photographer. It was then that she discovered the profound impact images could have on society. Beyond taking aesthetically pleasing photos, she aimed to create photographs that provoked thought and conveyed significance, along with capturing real human emotions. 

“I feel like I can learn something from everyone I photograph, be it a mother, father, an auntie selling on the roadside—there’s always a story to tell from a particular person,” she shares.

Over the years, photojournalism has shifted her perspective on social status. “In the end, it doesn’t matter who you’re interviewing, whether it’s a Prime Minister or someone from the oppressed community. I have to bring the same energy, enthusiasm, attention and hard work to everything I’m working on,” she continues.

Annice’s professional approach involves meticulous preparation and asking the essential questions. “My tip would be the ‘5Ws, 1H’ method in any situation. What assignment is this? Why am I doing this? Who am I shooting today? Where am I going? How do I execute it? These are some of the questions I ask,” she reveals. 

With recognition comes backlash, a reality Annice faced head-on. “Things are easier when nobody knows who you are,” she acknowledges. Understanding that not everyone would see eye to eye, she emphasises the importance of mental resilience and staying true to her ethical principles. “I have to accept that not everybody will see eye to eye, and that’s what separates me from others.”


Annice wears: Black blazer, shirt, pants and tie, all Zalora.


Becoming the voice she needed

Recognising the lack of support she experienced when she started photography, Annice co-founded Women Photographers Malaysia with close friend and fellow photographer Aisha Nazar during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation aims to provide a sense of community, empowerment and comfort for aspiring photographers.

“When I first started on this path, I didn’t have the right support. So in a way, it’s more like a healing project for me as well because I went through many unfavourable encounters at the beginning. Ultimately, I want to turn this into a positive light and hope that Women Photographers Malaysia could be that support for the girl who was once upon a time like me.”


Annice wears: Trench coat, Loewe. Accessories, Talent’s own. Shoes, Charles & Keith.


Lessons from the global stage

Having represented Malaysia at three Olympic Games, Annice has learned valuable lessons about adaptability, recognising her voice, and being prepared for anything. “If I were to pick my favourite moment, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was when I really felt like the whole country was rooting for me. But in terms of fairness, I will say all three taught me a lot of things.

“The 2018 Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang taught me as a beginner to expect the unexpected. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics taught me to recognise my voice, and then the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics taught me to be ever-ready for anything,” she shares.

Acknowledging the unseen challenges of photography, Lyn advises younger photographers to embrace all opportunities that come their way, even the seemingly undesirable ones. Reflecting on her own experiences, Lyn says, “Everybody always sees the highs of the job I have, but they never see the real nitty-gritty of photography. I always tell aspiring photojournalists that there are things that you want to do, and there are things that you need to do—and you need to do both. Because if you do that well, you’ll be trusted with bigger and better opportunities. At the end of the day, you need to get the job done!”



Editor-In-Chief, Text and Interview/ SARAH HANI JAMIL. Creative Direction / SARAH TAI. Styling / SARAH HANI JAMIL AND SARAH TAI. Assisted by / EVE LYN LAU. Photography / HERRY CHIA EE | HERRY STUDIO. Assisted by / EURI ERFE, BIRDY LEE AND DAVID ONG. Videography / JIMI RAZAK FOR STUDIO KARYAWAN. Video Editor / DENNIS KHO. Makeup / EZAD IBRAHIML. Hair / LEX SE FOR GHD.


Check out the 2023 BURO Impact Award winners here.

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