Stunning £90k prize-winning photo of Vietnamese mum and baby sparks controversy as behind-the-scenes shot proves it was all set-up

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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.

Edwin Ong Wee Kee’s photo Vietnamese Mother won the £90k grand prize
Edwin Ong Wee Kee
But he has since been accused of staging the photo when this behind-the-scenes image appeared
Facebook

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.

CONTROVERSIAL PRIZE-WINNER

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 AsiaOn Kee's winning photo

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.


“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.”

Another winning photo: A group of Flamingo birds are looking for food on the crucial Kuwaiti coastal area of Alsulaibekhat where the region is rich in crustaceans and shrimp
Abdullah Alshatti
Cities of Sand and Fog: An epic visual journey through the contrast and diversity of landscapes of the United Arab Emirates
Victor Romero Peña
Night Meal, Portugal
Tibor Kercz
Evacuation of Disaster Victims, Indonesia
Muhammad Fahrur Rasyid
A refugee child is rescued by volunteers on the island of Lesvos
Sandro Maddalena
A young boy plays in a street filled with water after heavy rains in Sabang, Central Jakarta
Fanny Octavianus
An elderly resident outside a Soviet-era apartment block in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Aun Raza
A small bird swoops in on a bird of prey mid-flight almost bullying him while he transports his next meal
Chen-Kuang Chen
A dad gives his kid a bath in a bombed out house in Gaza
Wissam Nassar
The Great Return March: On March 30, 2018, the Palestinians began a new form of peaceful popular struggle demanding their right to return to the territories from which they were expelled in 1948
Sulaiman Hejji
My Favorite Ghost
Ana Filipa Scarpa
Vanishing White, Lake Baikal, fresh water lake on earth during the coldest period in winter
Wong Yoong Wah
A baby humpback whale, interacting with a freediver in the clear waters of Tonga
Karim Iliya
Salt Lakes, Hungary
Daroczi Csaba Attila
Born to Ice, Canada
Paul Nicklen
UNITALSI volunteers, the most important Italian organization for the pilgrimage of the sick and the disabled
Vito Finocchiaro
The Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia
Sarah Wouters
The Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia
Sarah Wouters
Born to Ice, Canada
Paul Nicklen
Protesters demonstrate for the rights of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East to return to the homes they fled in the war surrounding the 1948 creation of Israel
Haitham Nouraldin
Protesters demonstrate for the rights of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East to return to the homes they fled in the war surrounding the 1948 creation of Israel
Haitham Nouraldin

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