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Oct 19, 2023 / 15:12

Hanoi through the lens of photographer Nguyen Van Phuc

The capital is romantic, peaceful, and cosmopolitan in this bilingual photo book by an elderly Hanoi photographer.

Veteran photographer Nguyen Van Phuc, 85, has released an artistic photo book titled "Hanoi in My Heart" as a gift to Hanoi - his beloved hometown - and those who love the city and art.

Renown Hanoi photographer Nguyen Van Phuc. Photo: Thanh Hai

The photo book is a collection of the most beautiful photos of Hanoi taken by the accomplished photographer over the past 20 years. The name of the photo book also refers to the photo exhibition initiated by Nguyen Van Phuc, which is held annually in partnership with the Economic and Urban Newspaper.

"The photos on display show the photographers' deep passion for Hanoi. They are spiritual gifts for the younger generation and travelers at home and abroad, expressing the true spirit of 'live happily, live healthily, live usefully' of the seasoned photographers of the Hanoi Elderly Photography Club," Phuc said at the opening ceremony of the "Hanoi in My Heart" exhibition held recently at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

A prolific photographer with a passion for Hanoi

Called "Hanoi in My Heart" by the author and published by the Vietnam News Agency Publishing House, the artistic photo book takes viewers through an authentic Hanoi, filled with the emotions of a person who has spent most of his life in this land.

The 391 images tell the story of the capital of a thousand years of civilization, where the national culture crystallizes and the spirit of peace and friendship converges before spreading throughout the country and internationally.

 The cover of the photo book titled "Hanoi in My Heart" by Nguyen Van Phuc.

In the first part of the book, "Thang Long - Hanoi", the author takes us around the famous landmarks of the city, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Temple of Literature - Imperial Academy, Ba Dinh Historical-Cultural Relic Cluster, West Lake, "Four Guarding Temples" of Thang Long - Hanoi, Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi Museum, Vietnam National History Museum, Lai Xa Photo Village. These sights are captured from different perspectives: from the past to the present, from day to night, from far and near, from above and at eye level.

The photos depict a Hanoi that is graceful and refined, dazzling and vibrant, modern and developing, yet retaining its ancient features and distinct millennial identity.

As for the second part, "Beautiful Images of Every Region of My Country I Have Visited," readers can join the sightseeing trips to Ha Long Bay, Sapa, Dong Van Karst Plateau, Bana Hills, Hoian Ancient Town or the Central Highlands. Through the lens of a Hanoian, the country takes on a fresh charm that is unique, delicate and romantic.

Published bilingually in Vietnamese and English for broader distribution, the book introduces foreigners to charming Hanoi through the lens of photographer Nguyen Van Phuc.

A tenacious artist

Nguyen Van Phuc's photo titled "Flying Dragon- Thang Long- Hanoi"

Flipping through the pages of Hanoi in My Heart, it is hard to imagine that the author is 85 years old, as many of these photos were taken in 2023, with camera angles that are not at all easy.

The seasoned photographer shared the source of inspiration that helps him persistently create artworks to this day: "As a child of the city, I love Hanoi, from the people to the landscape. I love the simple things about Hanoi: the tranquility of Hoan Kiem Lake on a sunny day, the rows of small medieval houses in the Old Quarter, or the faint scent of milk flowers. Deep in this city is a hidden charm that makes those who have been here unwilling to leave".

"How can I preserve the soul of my hometown?" That's the concern of every artist at all times. While movies record scenes over a relatively long period of time, photography takes a different path.

 Quang Phu Cau Incense-making Village in Hanoi.

"Photography is the immortalization of a moment in life, the art of preserving memories through the artist's images. Each captured moment is priceless, separate and unique, so when we look back, the photos will take us back in time and immerse us in the most subtle emotions that crystallize into a time to remember," said Phuc.

Commenting on the photo book, Vu Viet Trang, general director of the Vietnam News Agency, said: "The scenes of Hanoi are not only shown from the candid perspective of photojournalism, but also have the artistic quality of a photo artist. That's the quality of artist Nguyen Van Phuc, who has spent almost his entire life practicing photojournalism for the Vietnam News Agency.

 "Tran Quoc Pagoda" by Nguyen Van Phuc.

Photographer Tran Thi Thu Dong, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA), enjoyed the simple narrative of the photo book: "As a person born and raised in Hanoi, photo artist Nguyen Van Phuc has fully embraced Hanoians' love [for the city] as well as the traditions of Lai Xa Photo Village - his homeland. These two things have crystallized and blended into each of his photographic moments."

Commenting on the 85-year-old artist, who is still full of energy and enthusiasm for capturing the feeling of Hanoi in every photo, Nguyen Minh Duc, editor-in-chief of Hanoimoi Newspaper, said: "Photographer Nguyen Van Phuc has dedicated his whole life to his passion for photography. The 391 images in the book are, as he said, important milestones in his career as a reporter and photo artist. His timeless works have contributed to the development of the national art scene.

With heavy camera equipment on his shoulders, Phuc is still working hard on every street and corner in the capital to take pictures. Surely he will continue to bring the public wonderful images of contemporary Hanoi.

 Cam Thi Village's Rice-Cooking Contest, Hanoi.

Phuc was born in 1938 in Lai Xa Village, Kim Chung Commune, Hoai Duc District, Hanoi. He was formerly deputy director of the photo center of the Vietnam News Agency. Having held the camera for over 60 years, he has received many domestic and international photography awards and medals, as well as the titles of Excellence Artist of VAPA (E.VAPA) and Especially Outstanding Contributor of VAPA (ES.VAPA).

Phuc is the Chairman of Hanoi Elderly Photography Club, and a member of Vietnam Journalists Association (VJA), International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA), and Hanoi Association of Photographic Artists (HAPA).

 The Dong Da Festival, Hanoi.
 "My dear, Hanoi street..."
 A Festival Night on the Sword Lake .
 The Tay Phuong Pagoda, Hanoi.
 Lotte Building, Hanoi.