The Hanoitimes - Despite closing his seventies taking pictures, Vu Huyen still amazed both the photographers community and the public, once again, when he released the aesthetic yet sincere photo-book People around Me.
Photographer Vu Huyen is known as a researcher, a photo critic and teacher of photography. Nevertheless, he is most famous as a photographer who has captured breathtaking moments for half a century. Before becoming a critic, he used to work at the Vietnam Pictorial magazine, residing in and outside of the country for many years. Only when he assumed the role of leadership in the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists that he took up critic activities. 100 printed works in 120 pages of People around Me help him convey the memories of his eventful life.
His photo “Thanh Giong,” or Giong Saint was taken at 9:09pm on September 9, 2010. “I took this picture at the time when the statue was about to be inaugurated as commemoration of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long. I was invited to the inauguration. Anticipating that being on time would miss the ideal location to take picture, I rode my motorbike to the Soc Son peak. Four hours later, a packed delegation of government representatives and monks climbed up the Soc Son mountain. Everybody was tired . Along with that, there were 5,000 Buddhist monks, who took up all the ideal positions. When the 500m2 cloth covering the statue was pulled down, I pressed the shutter incessantly. That day I came home late almost at sunrise and stayed hungry but happy with the picture I managed to shoot. So far, a lot of people ask me for this photo to print out or to hang at home.” This simple story of a picture shows the style and professionalism of Vu Huyen. If he had not predicted the situation and taken initiative in the afternoon, he would have not been able to save this rare moment.
Photo "News" of Vu Huyen.
The book does not begin with an introduction, but a statement “Shooting is to speak directly about people and what relates to their fate.” Therefore, each work of Vu Huyen is sincere without going through any retouch or set up. Each frame tells a story of life and the artistic work of the author.
People around Me by Vu Huyen is loved because of the photographic attributes portrayed in the collection. For example, walking into the Louvre museum of France, everybody often takes pictures of paintings and statues. However, Vu Huyen shot a woman in a wheelchair crying as she saw the painting. The photo Dinner in the River is the author’s affection for fishermen living by the Red River Delta who are honest people and confident in life. Perhaps, years of experience in holding the camera, being a critic and journalist and teaching have helped Vu Huyen detect occurrences and works to directly reflect life through photos. The work Story of two People is a photo like that. Even though the faces of two people could not be seen in the photo, the audience can still see the war and separation.
Photographer Vu Huyen explained how he took “Thanh Giong” photo.
Another thing contributing to the appeal of People around Me is the optimistic attitude in combination with humor in each photo. An example is the work Art is not for all depicting a vegetable street vendor watching the display. Or Lunar New Year shows a man sitting on the pedicab and holding a lollipop with a sincere smile. The smile shows up a simple happiness, warmth and tranquility.
Closing Vu Huyen photo-book, impressive moments with many level of emotions still linger in viewers’ mind. Behind the work are the dedication, hard-work and sacrifice of the author’s nearly 50 years holding the camera.
Nguyen Tung - Ho Ha