A Vietnamese photographer has captured a stunning series of photos of women harvesting long-stemmed waterlilies along the Mekong Delta. The rich, vibrant colors and sweeping lines lift profound works of art from this humble annual practice.
“The ‘Lilies Harvest’ series was taken in Long An province,” photographer Pham Huy Trung, 42, told The Epoch Times by email. “Whenever water season comes—August to November—farmers are eager to crop food and vegetables on the rivers for their family.
“Especially the waterlily,” he explained, “which is one kind of charming and colorful flower that grows around the area of the flooding fields. They look elegant in the middle of dark water.”
Waterlilies bloom in the early morning. As the Mekong Delta resides about 100 kilometers from Trung’s home in Ho Chi Minh City, he starts the day early himself, reaching the delta in sync with the rising sun and the start of the farmers’ lily-washing and packing process.
In Trung’s photos, the faces of the farmers are largely obscured by their traditional conical hats, yet their actions speak a thousand words: lilies, in their thousands, are picked and fanned out across the surface of the water before being placed inside wooden boats for delivery to markets and restaurants.
The shapes and colors of the women and the flowers, says Trung, are “remarkable spirits of the pictures,” imploring the viewer to observe them in peace and silence.
These lilies are found in the color of deep pink-white and are known as “ghost flowers,” which bloom only at night—and grow naturally in the mud of the delta without needing to be tended to. While waterlilies are often sold as decorations, some parts are edible and sold to restaurants, according to VN Express, and the plant can be used to make tea.
Trung left a career in telecommunications to become a full-time, self-taught photographer five years ago. His photos are collaborative; whenever he comes across a beautiful scene, he will research the area and the best time of day to take photos, and will ask his friends for input on how to make the composition as beautiful as possible.
The most challenging aspect of photographing the lilies of the Mekong Delta, according to Trung, was finding harmony between the wind, light, flowers, water, and people. “Thus, patience seems the most important characteristic of a photographer,” he explained.
Trung’s “Lilies Harvest” series, which is also shot with a drone—shared on Instagram among many other of his works—has captured an international audience. He has won numerous awards for his skill in nature photography, including the Sony World Photo Award, SkyPixel Photo Contest, and the 35Award, according to Bored Panda.
For Trung, the future of his art has no limits. He simply plans to “keep walking and finding” precious moments to enjoy and share with the world.
“Every person has a moment of sadness, silence, or happiness in life, but after all, it is the first step for us to go further,” he told The Epoch Times. “Please take a shot of it, make it more beautiful, keep it, and share it.”