A STUNNING photograph that won a $120k (£90k) competition has caused controversy as a behind-the-scenes picture reveals it was staged.
The Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA) awarded Malaysian Edwin Ong Wee Kee the grand prize last week for his photo shot in Vietnam of a mum carrying two children.
But since then another photo was released showing a group of around a dozen photographers crouched around the woman, who sits on the ground posing for them.
HIPA is an internationally renowned photography competition and is the world’s biggest single contest prize open to the global photography community.
It was launched in 2011 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Hope’, and other prize-winning photos included protesters demonstrating for the rights of Palestinian refugees and Kazakh eagle hunters of Mongolia.
HIPA wrote about Kee’s photo: “[H]is photo documented an intense humanitarian moment.
“The feelings of a Vietnamese mother whose speech disorder did not prevent her from feeling hopeful and evoking a sense of strength for her children.”
While staging photographs for the HIPA isn’t against the rules, Kee appeared to promote his image as a spontaneous shot.
PND Pulse wrote about the photo: “Although he describes himself as a keen enthusiast, his full time profession is as a traditional Chinese medicine physician.
“His roadside shot of a Vietnamese woman and child was not planned and came about due to an unforeseen stop.”
Staging a photo and winning a competition, is THE fastest way to reach this stage
Pics of Asia
But photographer and Street Photo BD Magazine founder Ab Rashid proved this wrong when he shared a behind-the-scenes photo yesterday taken at the same time as Kee’s winning shot.
Multiple other photographers gather, taking near-identical shots to that which one Kee his grand prize.
Pics of Asia wrote about the photo: “Another classic photo of a photography tour group gathered around one subject, shooting the same image from almost the same angle.
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“Staging a photo and winning a competition, is THE fastest way to reach this stage.
“This is the fastest shortcut you can take to obtain fame. Fame that will of course make you become very rich.
“Because we all know that once you have won a competition, it rains money and National Geographic just can’t get enough of you for their exotic assignments around the world.
“It is sad, very sad.”
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