Photographer Khanh Phan’s work entitled “Floral Dress” has won the Grand Prize in the 2023 SkyPixel Annual Photo & Video Contest. The results were announced early this month.

The award-winning photo of waterlilies by Khanh Phan

According to Khanh Phan, the photo, taken in October 2022 in Long An’s Moc Hoa District, shows waterlilies collected by local women that look like a flower dress in the water. Her photo beat out 60,000 others submitted by photographers from around the world.

In the caption of the work submitted to the contest, Khanh Phan wrote: “These women are harvesting waterlilies and forming a floral dress on the water. This beautiful scenery can be seen during the flood season in the southern provinces of Vietnam including Long An, Tien Giang, Dong Thap and Vinh Long “.

Waterlilies are grown in many rivers and lakes in the regions, not only to beautify the landscape but also as a great source of food for the locals. During the high water season, locals use small boats to collect waterlilies, a work that has long been practiced by women in the southern part of Vietnam.

These women have been taught to boat by their mother or grandmother since they were children.

In the photo, these girls are so beautiful in their conical hats and ba ba or a type of traditional Vietnamese shirt for women, busily harvesting the flowers. The flowers are then washed and sold at the market or taken home for food.

The photographer said that the local women had supported her a lot to take the “Floral Dress” photo. The women spend half a day harvesting these waterlilies and keeping them fresh. They also spent another four hours in the water arranging the waterlilies as requested by the photographer.

Khanh Phan won the Grand Prize of 2023 SkyPixel Annual Photo & Video Contest. Photo courtesy of the photographer

“Through the photo, I want to spread the beauty of Vietnam’s land and people to the world, while honoring these simple and hardworking local women,” Khanh said.

According to judge George Steinmetz, Khanh Phan’s delicate composition makes the whole picture look like a flower in bloom. “Each detail is composed of hundreds of blossoms. This clever echoing of dots and planes is compositionally perfect with the two flower farmers adorning it,” he said of the winning photo.

Meanwhile, photo judge Anne Farrar wrote that: “The color, clarity and composition are excellent, set against still dark water that recedes to allow the subject to shine. We can see intentionality on multiple levels. As much a sculpture as a picture, the floral dress has been beautifully arranged.”

SkyPixel Annual Photo & Video Contest, the eighth of its kind, was open to any content shot with a drone or a handheld camera. It marked the world’s largest aerial photography award held annually by DJI, a technology company based in Shenzhen, China.

The 38-year-old photographer has already won several international awards, including the Tokyo International Foto Awards and Travel Photographer of the Year.

Below are some photographs of waterlillies recently shooted by Khanh Phan:

Waterlilies can be found all over Vietnam, but the flowers are most abundant in the Mekong Delta area.
The vibrant white and purple flowers are not only ideal for decorating the home, but also a rich source of food for local residents.
 Foreign tourists are always amazed to see the beautiful images in the Mekong River region that they can hardly find in their countries.
Waterlilies in the Mekong Delta are an endless source of inspiration for photographers.
Waterlilies are arranged in the shape of the letter S, simulating the image of Vietnam on the world map.
The beautiful yet useful type of flower is harvested all year-round by women in the Mekong River Delta.