Do Thi Tham
Visions of clouds, rice terraces before the harvest, dawn over rapids and sunsets in the tidal season… Nature scenes continue to draw the gaze of Vietnam’s talented photographers.
At first sight, landscapes seem the easiest photography subject since nature does not change over time. Nevertheless, many photographers find this theme challenging. Veteran photographer Hoang The Nhiem said: “Nature never changes. It stands still forever, so what needs to change is ourselves, to gain a new vision and inspire our viewers.”
A renowned photographer among the “cloud hunters” in Vietnam’s northern highlands is Le Viet Khanh, known as “Khanh the Melancholy Wolf”. Tracing his creative path over the last decade, we can easily discern the passion of a selfless and dedicated artist. On his personal Facebook he posted:
“Those sun-drenched trails in the wind, the high azure sky and unbearable chill paralyze our rational mind with illusions of feelings…”
Stumbling down narrow crooked lanes leading deep into woods that few have traversed, I sometimes discover unexpectedly breathtaking photo angles…”
He has revisited some destinations over many years. His efforts have borne fruit in the form of rare photographic works. They feature clouds swirling over hamlets that “…after four years of relentless ambushing, I finally managed to capture the clouds swirling over Ngai Tro Hamlet”. Other outstanding works include his four season photo album of “The Legendary Duya za Tree” in Troan Then Hamlet, and the changing appearance of the roof of Man Coi Church of Sapa throughout the four seasons of the year.
Committed to Hanoi themes, young photographer Xuan Chinh boasts a rich collection showcasing rewarding moments in this old citadel and millennia-old capital. He said: “Hanoi never stops keeping us taking photos, although the city changes a lot, in terms of space and time.” His two impressive solo exhibitions “Little corners of Hanoi” hosted seven years apart (2010 and 2017) speak well of his love of this city. They revealed urban streets, hidden corners, rows of trees, or flower seasons and scenery on the city’s outskirts. Xuan Chinh has fallen for the city’s romantic and old fashioned charm, its eternal antiquity, serenity, and the relaxed vibe of its streets. This photographer is working on a new “Little corners of Hanoi” to give viewers more “close-ups” of his beloved Hanoi.
With his elaborate light exposure techniques, photographer Andre Luu is a master of enchanting landscape photos. He graduated from a professional training course at the New York Institute of Photography as a teenager. Following a hiatus to run a business, it was not until 2011 that he decided to return to landscape photography. Given his knowledge in precise engineering, Andre Luu rose to fame as a “tweaker” of equipment to fit his needs, such as tripods, ball heads and color corrected headlamps used to illuminate dark backgrounds. Other photographers appreciate his willingness to share his knowledge about technology, techniques, tools, and even unique shooting locations.
“Photography should be fun and bring happiness. We are happier if we share the fun from photography. To thrive, photographers must learn to cultivate our minds and share information to go further together,” said Andre Luu.
A late-comer, having just started in 2012, Tran Bao Hoa is based in the far flung destination of Quy Nhon. Mr. Hoa started out taking ordinary themes and portraits. However he grew devoted to landscape photography. He has blazed his own trail by digging deep into a variety of original themes. The photo albums displayed on his Facebook page and his entries to photographic contests are quite varied, such as an album “Seasons of the sea, “Golden harvests all over”, “Dreamlike Vietnam in the mist” or “Floating rafts – the charm of the coastal region”. These sophisticated works reveal his perfectionist eyes and mind.
This brief introduction to photographers dedicated to landscape photography in Vietnam shows that the base is growing and improving. With advanced cameras and appliances, better road access to remote areas, etc, the community is expanding. More people are also buying landscape photos, which encourages the photographers. Audiences can expect more works that capture our proud and beautiful country.