Lake captured in photo book

Published: 10/06/2011 05:00



Photographer Quang Phung has dreamt of showing off his Guom (Sword) Lake
photographs for decades.

: A photo from Around
Sword Lake and Beyond by photographer Quang Phung. The book features 100 photos
of the life and scenery around Hoan Kiem Lake.

With the publishing of the
bilingual Dao Quanh Ho Guom (Around Sword Lake and Beyond) pictorial by the Van
Hoa Thong Tin (Culture and Information) Publishing House, Phung’s dream has
finally come true.

Nearly 100 photos from Phung’s
large collection, shot during the past 10 year, are set to introduce Vietnamese
and foreign readers to life around Sword Lake in downtown Ha Noi.

The photographs express sentiments
on city life from past until present with all the historical changes in between,
he explained.

In the first of three parts,
entitled The God-given Quiet Space and Beauty, the photographer portrays the
beauty of Sword Lake and its significance in the lives of generations of

The second part, entitled Social
Stories, depicts the 79-year-old artist’s meditation on the society thriving
around the lake, regarded by many as a mirror reflecting the ups and downs of

The last part, entitled For Human
Soul Self – Improvement, follows the traditional process of making lotus tea at
the Phung Thanh Pagoda on Kham Thien Street.

Once poetic Bao An Pagoda was
destroyed by the French in 1892 and all that remains of it today is the Hoa
Phong (Favourable Winds) Tower.

“I took series of shots of the
Phung Thanh Pagoda, recalling Sword Lake from times gone by,” Phung explained.

Phung takes his photos
spontaneously and never uses photoshop, which has earned him much respect from
local professional photographers.

“I respect true moments, not
arrangements. I often carry my camera around with me for hours in pursuit of a
subject, often ending up exhausted,” he confirmed.

Phung has captured many vendors
around Sword Lake whom he considers part of the cityscape. He often talks with
them and understands the type of lives they lead.

“The vendors react differently and
defensively to a strange lens so I often follow them around discreetly,
portraying them as naturally as I can,” Phung says.

The pictorial includes Phung’s
exclusive portraits of the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, composer Van Cao,
painter Tran Van Can and writer Nguyen Tuan, all of which date back to the early

The book, in part funded by the
Dutch Prince Claus Fund Library and the East Meets West Foundation, additionally
includes an essay by John Klienen, from the University of Amsterdam, based on
veteran photographer Quang Phung.

Phung, born in the Ha Dong District
of Ha Noi in 1932, started taking photos in 1954. The capital has been his
prominent inspiration ever since 1970, having taken thousands of photos in its
streets. Phung’s work, for which he has been awarded a multitude of domestic and
foreign prizes, has been exhibited in many countries around the world.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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