Apr 30, 2021 / 06:14

Looking at history through “Unforgettable Days”

A photo book takes viewers back in time to historical periods of Vietnam and Hanoi in particular in the 20th century.

Towards the 46th anniversary of the Liberation of the South and Reunification Day (April 30, 1975 - April 30, 2021), photographer Dao Van Trinh (also well-known as Dao Trinh), in the cooperation with the News Publishing House, has launched the photo-book “Unforgettable Days” which recorded historical periods of the country, especially Hanoi.

The front cover of Dao Trinh photo book entitled "Unforgettable Days".

The book includes 120 black and white photographs, selected from hundreds of his spools of roll film shot during 20 years, starting from Liberation Day of Hanoi when the French troops left the country on October 10, 1954 to the National Reunification Day on April 30, 1975.  

Born in 1934 in Hanoi, photographer Dao Trinh began studying photography when he was very young, at the age of 16. Since then, photography has become his passion.

He loves to save the beautiful snapshots of people and life. Having worked for Hanoi Culture and Information Department, Hanoi's Vietnam Film Studio as well as a photo journalist in different battles in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Dao Trinh has to his credit voluminous collections of photos.

Girls carrying straw hats to offer Hanoi people (1963).

“I have been interested in Vietnamese history since I was a child so photography helps me keep the truthfulness of all events through my lens,” he said

Years of shooting street life and portraits of Dao Trinh have been resumed in “Unforgettable Days”. It vividly portrays the lively atmosphere in the rearguard of the North in the context in which the North Vietnamese people were building  socialism and providing aid to the fronts in the South.

Through Dao Trinh’s sensible and delicate eyes of a photographer and a reporter, the beauty of ordinary people in daily life working and fighting to protect the country, especially in Hanoi, his homeland, were depicted so full of life and vibrantly. 

A teacher playing with children at a kindergarten in Thanh Hoa Province (1965)

The book reminds the generation of people who fought in the war. Those were the heroic moments of President Ho Chi Minh’s soldiers marching in Hanoi on the Liberation Day on October 10, 1954, in which people waved flags and flowers or peaceful scenes of Hanoi’s iconic Turtle Tower on Hoan Kiem Lake along the Temple of Literature and streets before the arrival of the US.

Working in the field and ready to fight (1967)

Besides Hanoi, other localities, in the fierce years of the war especially in 1972 when the US bombed on the North, also appeared in his photos with the ruins of residential areas, markets and factories.

His photos showed the difficult time but also the courage and beauty of the young men and women as well as elders who fought in the battlefields in provinces of Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, among others.

Every Saturday morning, people gather to clean individual shelters (to avoid bomb attack) (1964)

When the war ended, in his photos shined the beauty of workers in the factories in Haiphong city and the coal mining sites in Quang Ninh province, the peasants in the field, teachers in the classes giving lessons to children, and so on.

During 46 years after the reunification in 1975, many events happened at different times have been faded by time. Fortunately, they were recorded by the lens and passionate eyes of photographer Dao Trinh as well as other war photographers and journalists, becoming a precious historical documentary archive. It provides the current and next generations the information of the past to better understand the meaning of peace.

Women in Hang Dao Street welcome Viet Cong soldiers returning home (1954)

The photo book “Unforgettable Days” is also an interesting source for historians, social scientists, and those who want to learn and research unique life and culture of the war time, according to Le Xuan Thang, former Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists. “Each character of the past is like a seed of vitality, bringing the soul for each photo as a witness lasting together with history,” he said.

Godard Trang Tien (Trang Tien Plaza today)(1953)