The fact that the photographer has set it up instead of looking for a natural moment has caused much controversy.
At the HIPA award, the winning photo of Malaysian photographer Edwin Ong Wee Kee generated mixed opinions because it was staged. According to Picsofasia, this raises the issue of “industrial” photographers capturing arranged scenes then submitting them to contests with the hope of winning and being famous.
Etienne, the founder of Picsofasia, said the beautiful photo taken in Vietnam has spread widely, but its backstage has surprised many people. During a photo tour, the group of more than 10 travel photographers gathered around the only subject – the woman and the child – shooting at almost the same angle. The woman seems to be used to posing as well.
If you learn about travel and photography, you can confirm that this is not the right way to capture people. The story is more attractive when one has submitted to HIPA and won the prize. On the contest website, the photo is described as the emotion of a Vietnamese mother with a language disorder but still optimistic to transmit strength to her son. However, after looking behind the scenes, many people quipped that perhaps it should be changed into the feeling of a Vietnamese mother when disturbed by rude people. The face of the mother evokes a real sense of discomfort.
There won’t be much discussion about the photographer’s quality and image processing skills because it’s too good. The problem lies behind that. After this award-winning work, it is likely that other people also want to travel to the northern mountains of Vietnam, looking for a poor-looking woman who is hugging the baby, shooting, blurring the background and using the work that goes to the exam.
Common photo contests are now primarily for commercial purposes instead of photography alone. It is mostly not marked by a team of judges who are really knowledgeable about travel and photography. The result is a high award that is often given to a boring moment, usually a copy of the idea of the previously taken work. A professional travel photographer will know that but these competitions are not.