Meet the Hero behind the photo!

Drum roll please, it’s time to meet the Hero of #Music2019… 🥁🥁🥁👇

Introducing Khanh Phan, (aka @ptkhanhhvnh), our #Music2019 Hero from Vietnam whose brilliant photo has won her $1000 + 100,000 ⭐️s!

Get to know her now and discover the inspiring journey of hardship and hard work that lead her to photography and incredible shots like this👇

“Hi I’m Khanh Phan, I’m 34 and I’m from Vietnam. I was born in Quỳnh Phụ, Thái Bình, a largely agricultural area of the country where my parents were farmers. I currently work at the bank as a bank teller but photography is my passion!

Following the breakdown of my marriage 2017 in I was devastated and began losing faith in life. I knew I couldn’t continue like this forever and needed to get over it and so bought a camera in order to pursue a new hobby. At first I just took photos of flowers in nearby parks until I realized that my beloved country Vietnam has so many hidden natural and cultural scenes that only few places in the world have. I started visiting various new places and met and learned about different regional customs and practices. I posted my resulting photos on social media which became very popular amongst my friends.

Our #Music2019 Hero – Khanh Phan from Vietnam

Photography has changed my life and got me through difficult times and is now one of my few personal joys. At first, I received strong opposition from my family. My mother sustains that photography is a dangerous profession for a woman as I am often out of the house on my own before sunrise and after sunset, if not all night. She also worries about my financial stability and ability to provide for my son if I pursue photography professionally as photographic equipment is very expensive. My income is around $600 per month which is just enough to raise my son and still have a small part left over to invest in photography equipment and travel expenses. I often have to take pictures alone and have experienced many life-threatening experiences such as staying overnight in a cemetery alone, wrestling with waves, climbing mountains, or wading into swamps. Sometimes I forget I’m a woman!

Vietnam is a country of feudal dynasties and society is very patriarchal. Despite Vietnamese women’s increasing knowledge about how to fight for gender equality, a few participating in politics and holding important positions in the state, gender discrimination is still very apparent. In addition to having to work for a living, women are also expected to be responsible for most if not all child and family-member care, do the housework meaning we rarely have the time to do the things we love. In order to pursue my passion for photography, I have had to sacrifice my happiness.

I have never taken any photography or photoshop classes and have researched and practiced on my own accord for the last 2 years. Finally, after all my hardwork, I began to receive some awards such as the Sony World Award 2019, Skypixel 2019 and the Drone Award of Siena 2019. Many other institutions are yet to recognize my ability and efforts and for the simple fact of being a woman still underestimate my work and believe that I have just been lucky in winning awards. I’m so glad that my mother believed in me and supported my work, helping me to reach these successes.

Khanh’s winning #Music2019 shot – Children dancing with goongs

My winning photo “Children dancing with gongs” was taken during the festivities of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The children wore traditional costumes of the Gia Rai ethnic group and were happily dancing this dance that has been passed down from generation to generation. The picture was taken in the afternoon when the sun was about to set, and was shot in the moment when the sunlight was leaning against one of the boys. It was taken with a Sony A7rii and a 16-35 mm Canon lens, a Sigma MC mount 11.

I discovered AGORA through a friend of mine and I was extremely happy and surprised to become a winner! I will use part of the prize money given to the goong team to help fund their practice and tradition, take my son for a delicious meal and save the rest for the next project. I am currently working on a personal, environmental and community based photo project which I am saving money for.

I want to thank AGORA from the bottom of my heart for supporting my passion of photography!”

The guest judge for this Contest has been AGORA Hero Oscar Penelo

#Music2019 Guest Judge – Oscar Penelo

We called upon Oscar Penelo (aka @oscar_penelo), our #Blue2019 Hero, photographer to lend the Community a hand with choosing the Hero! See what she has to say about why she chose this winning photo! 👇

Guest Judge’s selection criteria: “I chose @ptkhanhhvnh’s shot as the winning photo as it is an extremely dynamic image perfectly fitting with the theme of the contest with a scene full of movement and joy. It directly transmits lots of energy on top of having fantastic light and composition! Well done!”

On behalf of the entire AGORA Team, congratulations to Khanh Phan for becoming the Hero! 👏🎉

There is a new Hero every week, so don’t forget to check out our previous winners such as the #Summer2019 or the #Colorful2019 Heroes.

Questions for the AGORA Community:

What do you think about our latest Hero’s winning photo? 🤩

Have you ever participated in an AGORA contest?

What Contests would you like to see in the future?

Leave us your thoughts below! 👇