Two identical photos of Ly Hoang Long (L) and Nguyen Trong Nghia that won prizes in two different competitions abroad
Vietnamese photographers are taking teamwork to new levels, Thanh Nien has discovered.
A photograph by Nguyen Trong Nghia that won the top prize from the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) in Turkey this month is almost identical to one shot by Tran Van Tuy.
Spot the difference. One (L) was taken by Pham Ty, the other taken by Tran Nhat Quang.
The latter had also won a top FIAP prize at another prestigious contest, the 2014 International Trophy Gipuzkoa.
Earlier, a photo by Tran Nhat Quang titled Net Weaving was a replica of one by Pham Ty.
Both won top honours at two different contests in Dubai and the US last year.
But Nghia told Thanh Nien that neither he nor Tuy is a plagiarist, claiming instead that the two had gone together on a trip to find their muse.
“Similarity in creativity is a normal thing.”
But photographer Tran Viet Van, who has also won several international prizes, was scathing, saying it revealed the plight of Vietnamese art.
“I even know a boatman in Tuyen Lam Lake who has tripled his posing fee after many photographers hired him to ‘pose in the same way he had in an award-winning photo’.”
Long Thanh, who has been in the jury of several national photo contests, told Thanh Nien he felt bored seeing so many similar works. “All of them are weeded out, of course,”
Vi Kien Thanh, the head of the photography division at the culture ministry, said a self-respecting artist would never join a large group for shooting pictures.
“Their behavior has not violated the law, but it’s a stupid thing to do,” he concluded with a sigh.