The Story Behind an Award-Winning Image
This week I was honored to be awarded a Silver Honors of Excellence in the 2016 Wedding and Portrait Photographers International print, album, and filmmaking annual competition for a portrait that I shot last May during my travels in Vietnam. I thought it would be interesting to share a little bit about my subject and how I made the portrait.
I was staying in Hoi An, which is a historic and beautiful town on the coast of central Vietnam full of merchant houses, temples, and warehouses dating back centuries to when the town was an important port, but it also has become quite touristy. Wanting to get away and see more, I booked a Vespa tour of the surrounding countryside and during the tour we stopped in a small village that produces the colorful dyed straw mats that are so common in the country.
We'd been chatting for about 20 minutes (well, my guide chatted) with the women of the family while they worked the looms and I shot photos. As we were finishing up and getting ready to leave, their mother quietly appeared in the doorway. They explained that she was their mother, the matriarch of the family, but mostly blind and so did not do very much weaving any more. As this all was being explained to me, grandmother came forward and crouched in the doorway. I asked if it was okay to make a portrait of her and they said yes, so I quickly composed and shot 5 or 6 frames - just one of those moments when you know that what you are capturing is going to be really good, maybe one of the best I would shoot on my trip - which turned out to be true. Here's the award-winning image.
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