Vietnamese firewalking photo hot-foots into final round of Smithsonian contest

By VnExpress   March 6, 2017 | 12:42 am PT
Vietnamese firewalking photo hot-foots into final round of Smithsonian contest
Binh Duong's photo of a man walking on fire in Ha Giang Province, as posted on Smithsonian's website among its annual contest's finalists.
The Pa Then ethnic group use burning coals to cleanse their souls, but not necessarily their soles.

The Smithsonian magazine has announced the 70 finalists for its 2016 photography contest, including a piece picturing the hot-foot Vietnamese firewalking culture.

A man walking barefoot across burning charcoal, throwing up sparks as he goes, is among the 10 finalists in the travel category at the 14th annual Smithsonian photo contest.

Photographer Binh Duong from Hanoi captured the image in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, where the Pa Then ethnic group perform a fire dance every new year to pray for prosperity and to exorcise spiritual demons. Vietnam's government lists the practice among its intangible cultural heritages.

The 70 finalists range across seven different categories that also cover the natural world, people, sustainable travel, altered images, mobile and the American experience. They were selected from more than 48,000 snaps submitted by photographers from 146 countries and territories.

They are available to view on the contest's website for voting through March 27 for the Readers’ Choice award. The Grand Prize and category winners will be announced on March 28.

Two years ago, Ho Chi Minh City photographer Pham Ty won the Grand Prize of $2,500 with a photo of two women sewing a giant fishing net in central Vietnam.

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