Free-to-use photography app Agora shares the final results from its latest competition, #Work2020 which gathered 9,767 photo submissions from amateur and professional photographers all over the world. Vietnamese photographer @ptkhanhhvnh won the contest with 'Washing water lilies', the photo that collected the most votes by Agora users, therefore awarding her with a $1,000 cash prize.
What does 'work' mean? In this competition, photographers have shared their own definition of this universal concept through some impactful images. It's fascinating to discover how people work around the world and spot the differences between cultures, and contexts and countries.
Octavi Royo, Agora's CEO & Co-Founder
Winner: 'Washing water lilies' by @ptkhanhhvnh (Vietnam)
Location: Chau Doc An Giang, Vietnam
The women were washing water lilies, a flower that grows in many lakes in the western rivers of Vietnam. They use boats to go everywhere to pick water lilies, then wash and sold them at the local market. This is has been the traditional work for women living in Western Vietnam for generations. This edible flower is also a delicacy for locals and tourists.
@ptkhanhhvnh, #Work2020 Hero
My journey with photography has been difficult, especially as a woman and as a single mom. I take pictures alone and have had many life threatening experiences, such as staying in a cemetery alone at night waiting for the sunrise, wrestling with waves at Hang Rai, Phan Rang seashores, climbing mountains, or wading into swamps. Sometimes I forget I'm a woman.
@ptkhanhhvnh, #Work2020 Hero
Discover the #Work2020 finalist entries:
'Feeling the heat' by @ahinesdesign (USA)
Location: Greenville, USA
As the photographer for the City of Greenville, I try to capture our city staff at work in a wide variety of different tasks. A scheduled live-burn training exercise provided the perfect opportunity to capture firefighters in action. The image is one of a larger series that illustrates the various roles firefighters perform during a fire emergency, highlighting the danger inherent in the job, the serious and professional attitude with which they approach their jobs, and the camaraderie present within our city’s public safety staff.
'Oyster Harvest' by @alexclifford (UK)
Location: Grouville Bay, Jersey, UK
The crystal clear waters surrounding Jersey create a unique environment for oysters to flourish. Growing in this kind of environment gives Jersey Oysters their unique flavor, not one to be missed! Oysters are a local delicacy and can be farmed throughout the year. Jersey exports over 1,000 tons of oysters a year with 80% being exported to France. This photograph shows the scale of one of the oyster farms on the eastern side of the island and evidences the hard work the farmers have to experience to deliver the local delicacies to our restaurants!
'Working in the heights' by @phamhuytrung (Vietnam)
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
'Making soy sauce' by @azimronnie (Bangladesh)
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
The people from Cu Da village near Hanoi, Vietnam have been making soy sauce for about 400 years. In the past, every local household used to store several jars of soy sauce to use all year round. Today, soy sauce is made not only for the villagers' own use but also to be sold outside the village. The soy sauce is made from glutinous rice, salt, soybeans, and water (the sauce is more delicious if it is made with rainwater!). The rice used in the recipe is a special variety of sticky rice that is grown mainly in the northern delta and midland provinces. The sticky rice ferments for several days in an incubation chamber and 6 days later, it looks like a soft green-lentil cake and is getting moved to a salt tank. The soy sauce is later sold in big supermarkets in provinces and cities nationwide and is exported to other Asian countries.
'Work in the office' by @a.rosenthal (Germany)
Location: Cologne, Germany
At first, I almost ran past these windows. It was late afternoon and a little dark outside. I turned around briefly, and when I looked back I noticed the scenery behind the shop windows. There were people at their desks at work, an interesting insight that I just had to hold on to. Due to the house facade and the evenly arranged windows and also the light from the inside, it was a very exciting atmosphere.
'Drying' by @momin21a (Bangladesh)
Location: Narayanganj, Bangladesh
Hundreds of meters of newly dyed, bright red cotton strips are rolled out to dry in the sun across green fields in the Narayanganj district of Bangladesh. Some of the strips of cotton are almost 500 feet long: the workers can cover up to 100 hectares. One strip takes typically 4 hours to dry, before getting replaced by another newly dyed piece of cloth. They fold it up and replace it with another, newly dyed strip. The demand for these clothes is very high during the winter because seasonal clothes are made with this red cloth. The cost of the cloth is very low: only $ 0.40 for a three-foot-long piece. The workers in these fields earn five to seven dollars per day.
'Cleaning for life' by @nguyenvuphuoc (Vietnam)
Location: Saigon, Vietnam
This worker was cleaning the streets of Saigon before the New Year festivities. She was surprised to see me taking so many pictures of her, because she considered that there were nicer things to shoot. I thanked her after the shoot because she gave me a lot of inspiration.
'The Lecturer' by @vellmarty (Ghana)
Location: Have Etoe, Ghana
Here in Africa, teaching jobs don't pay well and most people don't want to venture into it. I want to use this image to tell every teacher out here that it isn't always about the money, but the also the joy and knowledge being shared with others that reprensents a great wealth and service to humankind.
'Rescue men' by @fazembat (France)
Location: Cap Ferret, France
'Feminismo' by @donaldobarros (Venezuela)
'Paddy processing' by @hedayet1000 (Bangladesh)
Location: Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh
The picture shows the process of paddy processing. Some rice is being dried out in the sun.
'Bobbin lace' by @olgacristal (Portugal)
Location: Alta Mora, Algarve
Here's a bobbin lace craftswoman with a lot of patience. It was fascinating to see her working so meticulously.
'The Tunneler' by @theliamman (UK)
Location: London Underground
This location is in an unused section of London's underground. Much narrower than the main tube tunnels, this line was used to transport the city's mail. In 2017 it was turned into a Museum, I was given early access to the tunnels before they opened to tours. I wanted the mood of this image to be somber and still. With the tunnel being many meters under London's busy streets, this peaceful eyes-closed figure is intended to feel distant yet intimate. As if we are in the shadows, observing his moment of solitude.
'Una visita inesperada' by @wmr.valdez (Dominican Republic)
Location: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
The camera is not inside the beehive, even though everyone thinks it is! Apiculture is hard work. This man is going through a lot of effort to keep the bees alive and offer them a safe environment, which is crucial for our planet.
@wmr.valdez (Dominican Republic)
'The mechanic' by @pantelis_glossy (Cyprus)
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
'Hard Work' by @adeelchishti (Pakistan)
Location: Ravi River Lahore, Pakistan
Labour class is the core base of every nation. This kind of work is one of the most difficult jobs in every society. This man has to provide for his family's expenses including children's education, health, food, clothing, transport etc. I was quite depressed with personal issues at the time, but when I met this man and listened to his story, I remained in shock. I realized that his story should be a source of motivation for me. I own better incomes than he does, so why am I disappointed with my life? His story taught me to fight circumstances. I found a teacher in him. He taught me positivity.
'Girl' by @chanthar (Myanmar)
Location: Mandalay, Myanmar
'Older woman cutting a sewing thread' by @jrrriverorbb (Spain)
Location: Nerva, Spain
'Farmer' by @georock888 (Indonesia)
Location: Tangerang, Indonesia
I waited for the moment when the farmer collects the plants and walks away from the river. The water drops were beautiful to capture.
'Work' by @swetun (Myanmar)
'Gold of farmer' by @fdilekuyar (Turkey)
'Color test' by @nctrung (Vietnam)
Location: Qui Nhơn, Việt Nam
'Aquaman' by @priyowiddi (Indonesia)
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
The worker was carrying gallon water bottles to refill the ship during sunset. He works all day long but never complains.
'Colorful Cotton' by @zayyarlin (Myanmar)
Location: Inle Lake, Myanmar
These colorful threads are made from lotus stems and can only be seen at Inle Lake. The worker can be seen hanging the brightly colored garments over wooden bars while she balances on a narrow wooden boat. The threads are divided by color, and then put out to dry underneath the hot sun. I was amazed by the reflection of the water.
'Harvesting salt' by @caokynhan (Vietnam)
Location: Hon Khoi, Vietnam
The farmer was raking salt. It looked like he was gathering clouds. To take this photo, I used a wide-angle lens. I got so close that it felt like he was throwing salt straight at my face!
'Painting' by @aungmyatthutharnge (Myanmar)
Location: Thilawa, Yangon, Myanmar
The worker was painting the national flag on the wall. I wanted to take this photo with the natural sunlight in order to get the shadow of the painter on the wall. Unfortunately, it was quite cloudy and I did not get the chance to complete my idea.
'Cleaning crumbs of bricks' by @asimijaz (Pakistan)
Location: Gujrat, Pakistan
It was really hard to even keep my eyes open, this guy was doing his duty without any protection. His whole body was covered with dust and crumbs, and he knew that at the end of the day he will get a very small amount in the name of labor. Everyone is struggling to earn money and make ends meet, but this kind of job is tougher than any other: the continuous heat, the burning bricks, and the dust! How hard life can be... He knew this was the only way to make money, and he was doing his job without any other thought.
'Harvesting' by @huybank (Vietnam)
Location: Thăng Bình, Quảng Nam, Việt Nam
'Work' by @mikash (Bangladesh)
Location: Kushtia, Bangladesh
I wanted to create an illusion by filling up the frame with the seller's head.
'Quechuan Weaver' by @mikenzie (USA)
'The pilot is preparing to fly' by @fousky (Russia)
'Fishing' by @phong.khung (Vietnam)
Location: Long Xuyên, An Giang Province, Vietnam
'Tattoo session' by @loeilduvoyageur (France)
Location: Porto Vecchio, Corsica, France
'Vietnamese handicraft' by @tom_rbg (Germany)
'Mandalay Morning Market' by @myominkyaw (Myanmar)
Location: Mandalay, Myanmar
'The sound of Bamboo brooms' by @tuan1368 (Vietnam)
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
A quiet moment amidst a bustling city like Ho Chi Minh City is very rare. And I was lucky enough to catch this moment on a new day: I went to the 10th floor of a business center at 4 am to watch the sunrise over the city. Suddenly, the sweeper appeared in the middle of this quiet space. I quickly changed the lens to capture this moment.
'Paint worker' by @zawzawwai (Myanmar)
Location: Bago, Myanmar
'Pottery' by @thwethwetun (Myanmar)
'Workers destroying abandoned plane!' by @panvelvet (China)
'Weaving coir mats' by @nguyentientrinh (Vietnam)
Location: Hoai Nhon District, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam
Weaving coir mats is a tricky task that is traditionally done by female workers. The main material used is dried coconut husk. These rugs are usually used for flooring, they are not only consumed domestically but also exported to foreign markets.
'District surveillance' by @eugenedemidov (Russia)
Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
'Farmers grow flowers and prepare to sell them in the market' by @anhtrungqng (Vietnam)
Location: Sa Dec, Dong Thap, Viet Nam
Sa Dec is one of the largest flower villages in the southwest region of Vietnam. To avoid flowers being damaged by floodwaters, the locals have thought of new ways to grow flowers on the water.
'Football' by @ionblock (Spain)
'Incense Sticks Making' by @harryhartanto (Indonesia)
Location: Quang Phu Cau, Vietnam
At first glance, some people may find this photo as a beautiful scene: red incense sticks and a local wearing her traditional attributes. But from this photo, I want to highlight the hard work that locals have been doing, working under the blazing sun and wearing a mask to protect them from the wood dust. The locals were very friendly and humble to allow strangers like me to take their pictures.
'Traditional daily work' by @ko_zaw (Singapore)
'Horses at work' by @seplb (Austria)
Location: Vienna, Austria
My goal was to show part of daily life and work in Vienna. I also wanted to have a mixture of old (the fiaker) and new (the electric bus in the background).
'Melukis kain batik' by @erwinsaleh (Indonesia)
Location: Bogor Jawa Barat, Indonesia
'Pottery artist' by @kyawmyintthan (Myanmar)
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
'Dry the dough' by @phamchiconghp (Vietnam)
Location: Tây Ninh, Việt Nam
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