Vietnam Art Books -- Vietnamís Photography - a half century of growth (April 26, 2003)

Vietnamís Photography - a half century of growth (April 26, 2003)


Pham Huynh -- Vietnam photo

Vietnam's Photographers' Association has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and received the Ho Chi Minh Order, one of the highest distinctions conferred by the State in recognition of the Association's achievements obtained during the two wars of resistance and national development.

Fifty years ago on March 15,1953, President Ho Chi Minh signed a decree to establish the State Enterprise of Cinematography and Photography in Doi Co of Viet Bac northern mountainous region which is now Dinh Hoa district of Thai Nguyen province. Many famous Vietnamese cinematographers and photographers began their careers at that memorable event and matured through their practice in resistance zones such as Viet Bac, Dong Thap and Dong Nam Bo. This is how Vietnam°Įs photography has progressed.

Looking back through history, Vietnam's revolutionary photography took shape from the Association of Patriotic Photographers of Hanoi and Saigon in 1937 and 1938. The sector grew rapidly during the August Revolution in 1945 and then excelled in the two wars of resistance against French and US imperialists. The most worthy photos taken during this period featured revolutionary activities, many of which have become valuable archive treasures and invaluable historical proof of Vietnam's revolutionary heroism against the enemy's brutality. Several photos have been awarded the Ho Chi Minh Award such as 'Uncle Ho at Dong Khe Front' taken by Vu Nang An in 1950; the photo collection 'Troops Marching South' taken in 1946-1947 by Nguyen Ba Khoan; The photo collection 'Saigon people fighting US aggressors' by Vo An Ninh in 1952 and several others.

Troung Huu Hung
Photographer Vu Nang An, who took the photo "Uncle Ho at Dong Khe Front' recalls how he photographed it in 1950, "I received an order from the Front Command to take pictures of President Ho Chi Minh. Uncle Ho was in the watchtower some 15 kilometres from the Dong Khe Front, which was engaged in fierce combat. From the watchtower, Uncle Ho observed how Vietnamese artillery fired on the French post in Dong Khe. He was calm with a cigarette on his hand. I thought that was a perfect posture for a photo. I took two shots one after another right after he sat down. The second shot was a great success."

Nguyen Nang An, now more than 80 years old, no longer works as a photographer. But whenever he looks at photos taken by younger generations he always gives the advice that the art of photography should preserve the national soul and mettle. He said he wishes Vietnam's cinematography and photography would renovate to be worthy of the current era.

After the national reunification in 1975, Vietnamese photographers gathered and established Vietnam Photographers' Association. From 30 members present at the inaugural ceremony in Doi Co - Thai Nguyen, half a century ago, the Association now boasts thousands of members and is a member of the International Federation of Photographic Arts and of the Asia-Pacific Regional Association. Each year, the Vietnam Photographers Association organizes hundreds of photo exhibitions at home and abroad.

Last year, the Association won 40 gold, silver and bronze medals at regional and international contests. Secretary General of the Vietnam Photographers Association, Le Phuc, evaluates the Association°Įs contributions, "Each year, there are about 200 photo contests held and sponsored by the International Federation of Photographic Art and national or regional photographic associations or organizations. Vietnam has taken an active part in such international events. Several Vietnamese photographers have used their own money to take part in photo contests in Europe, America, and China. Last year, Vietnam Photographers Association received 20 awards from the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre, which holds annual photo exhibitions. Many members of Vietnam Photographers Association have won grand prizes, first prizes or gold medals at such events. For example, photographer Thai Phien from Ho Chi Minh City won a gold medal at an exhibition in Italy. Vietnam has so far received with more than 100 awards from the International Federation of Photographic Art, a great achievement as a member of the Federation for the past 10 years."

The past 50 years have seen vigorous growth of Vietnamese photographers. During current global integration, Vietnamese photography has maintained its national identity and highlighted the noble aspirations of Vietnamese people. As people's living standards improve, Vietnamese photographers grow in numbers and professionalism.

Reprinted with permission from VOV - Voice of Vietnam radio

     

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