Photo contest yields snapshots of national life

A vertical photo depicting a papaya tree rising from a narrow gap between residential buildings in HCM City, taken by Tran Vu Quang Duy, won first prize at a photo contest for young Vietnamese artists.

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Titled Tu Duy Tre, Goc Nhin Tre (Young Thoughts, Young Views), the contest is hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism every two years. The first iteration took place in 2015.

During the three-month submission period, the organisers received more than 3,200 entries from 658 photographers between ages 18 and 35. After an initial round in which submissions were evaluated online, a jury of seven evaluated 180 finalists. The winning photo, titled Mam Song (Living Sprout), won the unanimous support of the jury members. The winner walked away with VND30 million (US$1,300) in cash.

 “It’s really different from traditional angle that photographers have held,” veteran photographer and jury Nguyen Viet Thanh, said of the first-prize photo. “It illustrates a desire for green colour in the middle of a busy city. It reflects the fact that we lack public green space for relaxation. It’s also beautiful in terms of light and layout.”

The jury also awarded two second prizes, four third and 19 encouragement prizes.

 “We were astonished at the young artists’ different views,” said chairman of the jury Ma The Anh, deputy head of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition Department of the culture ministry. 

“They express fresh views on life from the topics selected, the layout and use of light to the content of the photos.”

Deputy Culture Minister Vuong Duy Bien said he saw the artful photos expressing in a creative and vivid way messages about the diversity of life experiences in the country today.

“They also provide us a general view and realistic judgement on the activities of young photography fans,” he said, “From that, the culture management agencies can encourage and provide favourable conditions for them to develop their capabilities.”

Nguyen Quang Huy, a photographer from Da Nang, said he greatly appreciated the event.

“I have used my camera just for few months and I need such a festival to sharpen my skills and knowledge of the field,” he said.

The final 180 photos are on display at Exhibition House at 29 Hang Bai street until October 16.
VNA