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Fresh faces give photography new life

(No.1, Vol.5,Jan-Feb 2014 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)




As passionate photographers, many youths of Ho Chi Minh City have spared no effort to record unique, impressive moments in nature and human life that occur around the country. They have become the ambassadors that promote the beauty and liveliness of Vietnamese heritage.
For Pham Manh Tuan, the photographer of ‘Rai Cave in peace’ (Binh Yen Hang Rai), winning a runner-up prize in the ‘Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2014’ was a pleasant surprise. A young doctor at Ho Chi Minh City’s Blood Transfusion and Hematology Hospital, he fell in love with photography in a very natural way. From a few pictures taken with friends and family here and there, Tuan gradually discovered the meaning and the attractive power of the layout, lines and colours in each picture that only intensify with time. And so, he decided to engage himself in amateur photography, focusing on landscapes.
He began saving to buy a professional camera costing a hundred millions, studying photographic techniques, and spending time finding inspiration in Ha Giang, Kien Giang, and Binh Thuan provinces. In his own words, although he is not a professional photographer, and with most of his time being spent at the hospital, following his passion dictates that each photo requires a lot of thought and hard work.
To capture the ‘Rai Cave in peace’ the way he wanted, Tuan had to go three times. Each time, he had to wake up at four o’clock in the morning, calculate the frame and light, and wait for the perfect moment. To him, pressing the camera button means triggering the sublimation of his feelings. It is also the time when the sense of responsibility for the moment and the beauty and value of the subject reaches its peak.
Tran Minh Trung’s way to photography was more obvious. Since he was a student at the University of Architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, Trung loved artistic pictures. Now an ad designer, he is even more attached to the hobby. While most of his peers choose to take pictures of nature, Trung’s topic is about the human condition.
‘Cham smiles’ (Nu cuoi Cham) is one of his better works. Human life is an infinite source, but his favourite object throughout his works is children. Perhaps it was this love that emboldened him to breach the rules in ‘Cham smiles’. According to him, people present in a picture should not be standing in a line. But he could not help but to capture the moment that life sparked so brightly in the eyes of the playing kids. Holding the camera up as high as possible, he managed to give considerable depth to the picture. Maestro Hoang Giang Hai, a member of the jury of the ‘Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2014’ remarked, ‘Cham smiles’ has successfully captured the glow of happiness in the face of children playing around a sheep herd. Although the post-processing was a little immature, it did not affect the overall quality of the piece.’
Although none of her photos won a prize, the exhibited ‘Last rays of the sun’ (Cuoi Ngay Nang Tat) and ‘Rock soul’ (Hon Da) show how much effort Nguyen Thi Kien Trinh put into her works. Being a petite lady is a nuisance for a photographer, but she remedied it
with her inexhaustible enthusiasm. Photography is a major part of her inner life, Trinh said. She invests all the income from her business in her passion for photography. Right now, she is brewing ideas and saving money for her new album, ‘Beauty of the sea’ (Ve Dep Cua Bien).
In the ‘Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2014’, Ho Chi Minh City has the largest number of photos and photographers, among whom the most noticeable are the young non-professionals. According to artist Hoang Giang Hai, this new wave has brought a fresh breeze into photographic art, making it livelier by communicating newer ideas about the values of nature and human life to the viewing public.

Translation of an article by Le manh in NHAN DAN ON 25 NOVEMBER, 2014
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