Thursday, 23 Nov 2017
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MY HANOILIFESTYLE

Old photographer spends the whole life capturing Hanoi

Updated at Friday, 08 Sep 2017, 12:26
The Hanoitimes - A peaceful old Hanoi with bicycles on Hang Can Street, a simple corner of Hang Mam Street, ... each photo is a passing moment, but to the photography artist Le Vuong, it was memory.

Living in the whole century, witnessing the ups and downs of land and people in Hanoi, Mr. Le Vuong always nourishes the passion of photography. His thousands of pictures about Hanoi is an invaluable material and also the meaningful gift he presents to the homeland, which is his endless source of creative inspiration.
Hanoi in the past
I found and met the photography artist Le Vuong in the old house on Tran Quoc Toan Street with old iron doors and wood stairs. The small room on the second floor is like a mini museum with many paintings by Vietnamese artists in the early twentieth century. On the wall of the living room, he hung paintings of Le Pho, Nguyen Do Cung, Nguyen Sang, Bui Xuan Phai and Nguyen Tu Nghiem beside his works. On the other side of the wall, he dedicated his favorite works, including the moments of ancient Hanoi in the past ... At the corner is portraits of President Ho Chi Minh with his signature "To Mr. Le Pho". That simple layout recalls a feeling of an old and elegant style.
Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee presented "Bui Xuan Phai Award - For Love of Hanoi Awards" to Mr. Le Vuong in 2016. Photo: Anh Quy
Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee presented "Bui Xuan Phai Award - For Love of Hanoi Awards" to Mr. Le Vuong in 2016. Photo: Anh Quy

At the age of 100, wearing hearing aids, Mr. Le Vuong is no longer healthy enough to talk for a long time, the weak legs also do not allow him wandering around the streets to record changes of Ha Noi street. But he kept his hearty smile and warm voice to tell interesting stories in the photographing life. After opening the album "Moments" with hundreds of photographs he had taken, Mr. Le Vuong said, to take a moment, he had to press six times continuously. But shooting is just a technical operation, a perfect photo depends on the understanding and thinking of the photographer. Because the photo not only shows the talent of the photographer, but also shows the value for life. This is true for the old artist starting the career from 18 years old ...
The work: "Long Bien Bridge in early morning mist".
The work: "Long Bien Bridge in early morning mist".
With the camera in hand, Mr. Le Vuong had wandered all the corners of Hanoi to record the pace of life, people and landscape of the capital. His photos always have their own beauty and precious architectural values. When being away from Hanoi, he realized that the urban with skyscraper building and luxury life did not belong to him. His heart belongs to the tile roofs, small houses, crowded walls and narrow alleys... Because to him, behind these old things is the amazing beauty to discover and record. In a heavy breath, Mr. Le Vuong whispered, "Looking at the old black and white photos, I found Hanoi in the past is very beautiful, from hawkers to women picked up bottles, both wore the traditional long dress. But now, even their sound is different from the past".
Pieces of memories
Throughout the story, he and his son, the former chairman of the Hanoi art Photography Association- Mr. Le Cuong, talked about Hanoi in the past, the story of painter Nguyen Sang came to his house ... for meal; the meeating of president Ho Chi Minh with painter Le Pho in France in 1946 ... These pieces of memories are cluttered but full of artist spirit, just like his pictures, not too sophisticated but emotional.
The art work "The Huc Bridge".

There was a time that the old artists no longer found the essence of Hanoi people. He left to the mountain, shooting all mountain, costumes, meals and habits of ethnic minorities. He has had many great works winning in international photography competitions, but in the end, he still recognizes value of Hanoi people and scenes, in which he "plays" as hardworking "secretary" to record each change. Moreover, Mr. Le Vuong also portrays Hanoi far beyond the dimension of prejudice. These includes the suburban villages and historical vestiges marking the ups and downs of the capital. His passion with photography was not only influenced by his uncle Le Pho, but also developed during his working time at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. "Relatives of Le Pho" is a "trademark" for him to represent the museum to work with contemporary artists.
I spend the whole life for the photography passion. Now I still want to dedicate, but I am not healthy enough. My happiness is when people can see the value and beauty in my photos.
 
Tu Anh - Thanh Binh
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