Water lilies harvest shot nets Vietnamese lenswoman top int’l prize

By Hoang Phong   March 9, 2020 | 09:27 pm PT
Khanh Phan’s aerial capture of two women in conical hats harvesting pink water lilies in the Mekong Delta has won an international prize.

The stunning capture won the most voted photo award at the Agora Work 2020 competition.

The photo taken by Khanh Phan captures women wash water lilies in a pond in An Giang Province.

The photo taken by Khanh Phan captures women wash water lilies in a pond in An Giang Province.

Agora, a global photography social network announced late last week the final result of the competition which gathered 9,767 photo submissions from amateur and professional photographers all over the world.

Khanh’s photo, titled ‘Washing water lilies’, captures women washing pink water lilies with long stems in a pond in An Giang Province, creating a sublime scene. It collected the most votes by Agora users, earning her a $1,000 prize.

Water lilies are used for decoration and making tea in east and southeast Asia. Their stalks are edible and can be eaten raw with fermented paste or braised sauce as dips, or cooked in a sour soup or hotpot.

Women in the Mekong Delta use small boats to go pick these water lilies, wash and sell them at local markets. They have been doing this for generations.

The water lily season in the Mekong Delta lasts from early September to mid-November. Along with other aquatic resources, water lilies help people earn an additional income, especially during the flooding season which peaks in October every year.

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 that being a woman makes her photography journey more difficult. She goes to take pictures alone in places difficult to access. She has had to climb steep inclines, wade through mud, wait for dawn in a graveyard and get hit by waves in Hang Rai, a popular destination in the coastal town of Phan Rang.

However, her hard work and passion has paid off. Over the past three years, she won 30 awards at home and abroad.

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