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Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam sparks controversy over doctored winning photo

Monday, October 29, 2018, 16:40 GMT+7
Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam sparks controversy over doctored winning photo
The entries at the Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in Hanoi on October 27, 2018 are uploaded on Canon Vietnam's Facebook page

A speed photography competition has triggered a debate among photographers and members of the public after its grand prize-winning photo was modified, as the entry contains a contentious detail.

The contest in question is the first leg of the Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018, which took place in Hanoi on Saturday.

This year’s competition asked contestants to take pictures in line with three themes including “Vietnam’s Pride,” “Passion,” and “Hard-working.”

The grand prize was handed over to Tran Huu Long, who captured a group of construction workers arranging bricks.

However, Long’s photo has quickly become the talk of the town not long after the competition day was over.

Dog becomes chicken

At the awards ceremony, many still remembered that the background in the winning photo was the signboard of a dog meat eatery, with the word “dog meat” clearly visible.

But in the contest’s result announcement on social media, the same signboard is seen with the text that reads “chicken meat."

Some online photography forums accused the event organizers of doctoring the original photo and criticized that such action was inappropriate and unprofessional.

The grand prize winning photo before and after being touched
The grand prize winning photo before and after being edited

Addressing the issue, Canon’s representative Nguyen Phuong Binh admitted to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday afternoon that the organizing board did doctor the grand prize winning photo.

Particularly, one of the three judges was concerned that the dog meat signboard in the photo would stir up public opinion that the contest advocates dog meat eating while authorities are taking steps to reduce the consumption of this kind of meat, which is a controversial topic itself.

Therefore, the organizers contacted the winner to ask for his opinion before making changes to the detail and secured his agreement.

The organizers believed that the change would not affect the value and spirit of the photo and would help them avoid more problems.

Little did they know that they just jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

Inexperienced 

Despite showing sympathy for the organizers’ decision, several photographers and representatives of the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA) still disapproved of the action.

“The judges chose the work they thought was worth the prize, but they were not brave enough to defend their choice, roughly editing the picture,” said Hanoi-based photographer Pham Hoai Thanh, criticizing it as “an uncultured action.”

Tran Huu Long (middle) wins the grand prize of PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in this photo provided by the organizers.
Tran Huu Long (middle) wins the grand prize of the PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in this photo provided by the organizers.

VAPA chairman Vu Quoc Khanh also thinks that the organizers of such a competition should not get involved in the content of the entries for any reasons.

Artist Dzung Art, likewise, said that “the excuse made by the organizers is also very funny,” adding that the way they addressed the issue proved that they were “inexperienced.”

However, Dzung Art also said that this is just a small incident in a contest that has brought a lot of positive values to the community, suggesting that it does not deserve so much harsh criticism.

The artist hoped that the Canon PhotoMarathon organizers would learn a lesson from this small mistake for better organization in the next events.

On November 3, the second leg of the Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 will be held at Hoa Lu Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City. Registration opens until November 1.

Below are some of the winning photos of the contest in Hanoi.

An entry by Le Minh Duc in "Vietnam's Pride" theme at Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in Hanoi on October 27, 2018 is seen in this photo provided by the organizer
An entry by Vu Tuan Anh in "Passion" theme at Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in Hanoi on October 27, 2018 is seen in this photo provided by the organizer
An entry by Pham Thanh Tung in "Passion" theme at Canon PhotoMarathon Vietnam 2018 in Hanoi on October 27, 2018 is seen in this photo provided by the organizer

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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