The nation's first experimental photography contest was officially launched on Jan. 18 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to encourage photographers to experiment with their art.

The contest is being co-sponsored by the ministry's Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition, and Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA) to promote creativity and experimentation among Vietnamese photographers with a view to reaching international levels, said Vi Kien Thanh, head of the department.

"The first contest for experimental photographers held by the ministry of culture will be a chance for the photographers to show off their experimental art which is expected to follow diversified photographic trends from throughout the world," Thanh said at the launching ceremony in Hanoi .

Professional Vietnamese photographers have known about experimental photography since the 1970s, but they have only been really engaged the form in recent years, said Vu Quoc Khanh, VAPA's chairman.

"Experimental photography is a diverse style that includes alternative processes, techniques and creativity. The contest will not be easy because an experimental photo requires painting and graphics," Khanh said.

The best photos will be displayed in Hanoi in May and in HCM City in June.

An unlimited number of entries may be submitted by each photographer before April 13. Each photo must measure at least 50cm by 75cm.

The organisation board will revoke prizes if copyright violations are discovered. /.