Khanh Phan’s aerial shot of women in conical hats harvesting water lilies has won the third prize at the Malta International Photo Awards and €500 ($596) in cash.
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The photo description by the MIPA Travel Award 20/21 reads: “There are many tourists who come to southern Vietnam to experience the feeling of boating along the rivers… and they can see these images.”
Taken in a pond in Moc Hoa District in the Mekong Delta province of Long An, the photo captures the women washing flowers with long stems before taking them to sell or cook.
“Women in the Mekong Delta have been doing this for generations and they are taught how to row boat when still young,” Khanh said.
Water lilies, which blossom during the rainy season, are used for decoration and to make tea. Their stalks are edible and can be eaten raw with either fermented paste or braised sauce or cooked in sour soups and hotpots.
Along with other aquatic resources, water lilies help locals earn an additional income, especially during the flooding season which peaks annually in October.
Khanh, a native of the northern province of Thai Binh, lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.
In 2017 she bought her first camera to pursue her passion for photography.
Khanh said being a woman makes a photographer’s job difficult since she has to go alone to places hard to access to take pictures. But her hard work and passion have paid off, and she has won 30 awards at home and abroad in the last three years.