A behind-the-scenes snap of the international prize-winning picture has revealed that the photograph was apparently staged.
Malaysian photographer Edwin Ong Wee Kee won the $120,000 grand prize at the Hamdan International Photography Awards with a stunning portrait of a mother carrying two children.
But one keen-eyed photographer decided to capture the scene behind the lens, which shows that the picture may not be as ‘unplanned’ as first believed.
This is Edwin Ong Wee Kee’s stunning photograph of a Vietnamese women carrying two children that won him the grand prize in the Hamdan International Photography Award, worth $120,000 (£90,000)
The theme of the HIPA contest was ‘Hope’, with winners inclunding Mr Kee being unveiled on March 12th.
Writing the congratulate Mr Kee on his award, the HIPA said: ‘His 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.’
Industry magazines who spoke to Mr Kee about his photo were even told that the snap was ‘unplanned’ and came during an ‘unforeseen stop’
Photography magazine PDNPulse wrote: ‘In the world’s biggest single contest prize open to the global photography community, Malaysian Edwin hit big with his single image taken from a recent photo trip to Vietnam.’
‘Although he describes himself as a keen enthusiast, his full time profession is as a traditional Chinese medicine physician.
However, photographer Ab Rashid then published this picture on Facebook, which apparently shows Mr Kee (left foreground in white shirt) taking his award-winning photo surrounded by a dozen other snappers
‘His roadside shot of a Vietnamese woman and child was not planned and came about due to an unforeseen stop.’
But now a newly seen photo appears to show a little more planning and posing than Mr Kee originally describes.
Photographer and Street Photo BD Magazine founder Ab Rashid shared this behind-the-scenes photo apparently taken at around the same time as the winning photo.
It shows a crowd of photographers that are gathered around the mother and two children at the same time as Mr Kee, and likely means his photo was just one of a large number of nearly identical photos from the portrait opportunity.
The international competition, based in Dubai, attracted 19,000 people from 121 countries in its second year, and has a total prize fund of $450,000.
The three main categories for the award were portfolio (story telling), aerial photography (video), and general, which earnt the winner a maximum of $25,000.
But by taking home the grand prize, Mr Kee won $120,000.
The theme for the ninth season (2019-2020) of the award has been announced as ‘Water’.