Vietnamese photographer wins international contest

Vietnamese photographer Dao Tien Dat has won the silver medal for his photo “Thirsty” at the 9th International Photography Competition recently held in Shanghai, China.

Dat was the only Vietnamese winner in the competition and his work was also awarded the jury board’s special prize for digital photography.

The competition was co-sponsored by the International Art Photography Federation, the US Photography Association and the British Royal Photography

Five persons tell six stories
17:30′ 16/06/2008 (GMT+7)

A photo that will be displayed at the exhibition

VietNamNet Bridge – Four Vietnamese and one American artist will tell stories by photos at 31A Van Mieu, Hanoi on June 21.

The four Vietnamese artists are Na Son, Lam Khanh, Trong Tung and Trong Chinh. They and Justin Maxon will hold the same photo exhibition named “06 Stories”.

Maxon will bring daily stories, Na Son with stories about the elderly in Hanoi and the bridge collapse in Can Tho, Trong Tung with letters, Lam Khanh with children on the Red River, and Trong Chinh with craftsmen in Bac Ninh.

Tears of the camera eye

June 26, 2008

Tears of the camera eye


A new photo exhibition, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, chronicles seven profound yet deeply intimate stories of love and compassion.

New Home for Old Age, by Na Son
Companionship in Poverty, photo by Justin Maxon, featuring a woman named Mui and her child.
Little Children on a Big River, photo by Lam Khanh, from a series on the life of poor children on the Hong (Red) River.

The timeless themes of love and compassion echo through the photographs of a group of young Vietnamese and American artists in an on-going exhibition in Ha Noi.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, chronicles seven stories that muse over seven different aspects of life through the eyes of six photographers. The show takes the form of traditional press photographs, courageously re-imagined to bring a poignant take on the simple yet profound aspects of life that are often overlooked by conventional reportage.

The first story features love in times of poverty. American photographer Justin Maxon spent a month following mother and child, Mui and Pha as they wandered around Long Bien bridge. Mui suffers from mental illness and probably contracted AIDS from her husband.

Maxon captured heartfelt moments depicting Mui and her child caring for each other in the hostile environment of the streets. His photograph of the two bathing each other on the banks of the Hong (Red) River, won first prize at the prestigious World Press Photo in 2007.

The second story is by Vietnamese photographer Na Son. He captures various touching moments of old people living at the Home for the Aged in Ha Noi.

“In this, the first ever private house for the aged in Ha Noi, I was touched to see old people find a second home with new friends, helping each other forget the loneliness of old age,” he says.

The third tale, also by Son, reveals the painful and heart-rending aftermath of the collapse of Can Tho Bridge in September 26, 2007,

Upon hearing of the disaster, Son rushed immediately to the scene in order to bear witness to the tragedy. His photos of the collapse were published in many newspapers in Viet Nam and around the world.

The fourth story, by American photographer Justin Mott, deals with the legacy of Agent Orange in Viet Nam. During his visit to the Centre for the Care of Children in Ba Vi District, Ha Tay Province, Mott met handicapped children whose lives have been destroyed by Agent Orange. Haunted by the suffering, he returned to the centre many times and created a photographic report with elements of multimedia, to present to the world the devastating sequel to a war that ended long ago.

The fifth story, told by Vietnamese photographer Lam Khanh, is about the life of poverty many children endure on the Red River. These impoverished children live in a fishing village in little houses floating on the river. “Every day I cross the bridge, it feels normal to see them from above. But when I go down to the bank and wade in the river to take photos, the feeling is very different,” says Khanh, who works for Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The sixth story, by Trong Chinh also of VNA, tells of steel-workers in Da Hoi village, Bac Ninh province. The young photographer captured the rhythms of a job and a life that despite being extremely difficult, is the only hope of many to escape a life of poverty. The problems these artisans face as they battle daily to earn a living amidst disease and danger, resonate clearly through the photographs.

The final tale is inspired by a letter that a young girl sent to her father, in the midst of exams. The captions of Nguyen Trong Tung’s photographs are taken from the words of Nguyen Thi Da Thuong’s letter. Hailing from Hai Duong province, she travelled to Ha Noi to review for her university entrance exams. Tung spent over three weeks exploring Thuong’s life, following her to training centres, to the market, to her rented home, in order to discover the hardships students from the provinces face living far from home.

The exhibit runs until Sunday, at Maison des Arts located at 31A Van Mieu Street, Ha Noi. An auction of these beautiful photographs will be held at 3pm on Sunday. All the money collected will be sent directly to the Centre for Children affected by Agent Orange in Ha Noi. — VNS

Nick Ut, Exactly 35 Years Later

When word broke a few minutes ago that Paris Hilton was headed back to jail, we were stunned. Not because Paris was back in custody, but because the Associated Press photo of her crying in the back of a police cruiser was taken by the one and only Nick Ut. Nick, of course, was the photographer who shot young Kim Phuc, the girl wounded during a napalm  attack near the village of Trang Bang, thus creating one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War.

Just to note how funny life (and careers) can be, get this: Nick made his famous war image on June 8, 1972. Who would have imagined that 35 years (to the day) later he’d be photographing an unhappy hotel heiress being shipped off to jail and getting front-page coverage for doing so?
—David Schoauer

Frozen moments burned into memories

By Yao Minji 2008-4-15
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NICK Ut has a sharp and sensitive eye – especially when it comes to major events and celebrities.

The Vietnamese-American Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was in Shanghai at the weekend to participate in a group photo exhibition of American photographers at Shanghai Library.

Ut’s photos fell into two categories – pictures of Vietnam War survivor Phan Thi Kim Phuc and of Hollywood celebrities. They are his area of expertise.

Ut is renowned for his timeless picture of Kim Phuc following a napalm bomb blast as well as a picture of Paris Hilton being taken to jail last year. The shots were taken exactly 35 years apart.

Having worked for the Associated Press for more than 40 years, Ut says he loves taking news photos and is proud of both pictures.

On June 8, 1972, then 21-year-old Ut captured the most iconic image of the Vietnam War when he snapped nine-year-old Kim Phuc running down a road in terror after a napalm explosion had burned off her clothes and much of her skin. The picture drew the world’s attention to the horror of the Vietnam War and won Ut the Pulitzer Prize.

On the same day in 2007, 56-year-old Ut focused his camera on Hilton’s blond hair as she was ordered to go to jail. The exclusive picture was just another assignment for Los Angeles-based Ut who has taken pictures of many celebrities in trouble, including O.J. Simpson’s murder trial and Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial.

The Saigon native adopted his English first name from a French photographer friend who was shot during the Vietnam War. He says he developed his love of photography partly through his brother, also a photographer who was killed while taking war pictured for AP in 1965. Ut essentially took his job in order to financially support his family.

Ut has always claimed “luck” was responsible for him capturing the shot of Kim Phuc 36 years ago instead of any of the other photographers on the scene.

“There were many other photographers there that day but they were either changing film or batteries in their cameras because they have taken so many pictures before that moment,” Ut tells Shanghai Daily. “I just happened to have film and a battery in my camera.”

Ut holds a similar view to the Hilton picture he took last year.

“I was not the only one on the scene, but I got the best moment thanks to luck. That is the best part of news photos – the moment eclipses very quickly.”

Contrary to the current stereotypical image of paparazzo who care only about their pictures, Ut says he and other photographers poured water over Kim Phuc’s burned body.

As soon as he had taken the picture, Ut dropped his camera and nursed the girl as she was transported to a provincial Vietnamese hospital in Cu Chi in a car. He even used his media pass to beg doctors to save her as there were so many other patients in the hospital in need of urgent help.

He only left to transmit his film after he made sure Kim Phuc had been sent to surgery. Later he went to the girl’s home to report her condition to her parents as soon as he had finished his work.

Ut and Kim Phuc have remained in touch ever since and Ut also helped her and her family to relocate to Canada. They call each other weekly and Ut has taken many pictures of her and her two children. Kim Phuc calls Ut “uncle” and Ut considers her “like my daughter.”

This is Ut’s first visit to China and he is impressed by Shanghai’s old buildings. He hopes more people can “visit such amazing architectures.”

“I go back to Vietnam quite often. It has been developing rapidly and many old buildings were torn down to make room for modern Western-style buildings,” says Ut. “But it’s the traditional and different style that is precious to us.”

Dear Veterans & Friends,

December 5, 2007

Dear Veterans & Friends,

The Viet Art Center in Garden Grove is having a photo contest/exhibition exclusively for VN Vets. I have volunteered to act as the spokesman for this event.

Cash Prizes: 1st: $1,000, 2nd: $500, 3rd; $300, 4th: $200. All the proceeds will go to fund VAC’s programs for disadvantaged Vietnamese-American youth. VAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Full information & entry forms at: http://www.vietartc vietart/index. php. Click on the link on the center-left of the home page.

Send any questions directly to me.

Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Thanks for participating.

Michael Burr (USAF VN 9/69 – 9/70)
Michael Burr Photography
275 Grand Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90803-6125

Voice/Fax: 562.439.5753
Cellular: 562.472.3585
m.burr@verizon. net
www.mburrphoto. com
www.printroom. com/pro/mburrpho tos

random photo

December 4, 2007

16:22′ 08/05/2007 (GMT+7)

A photo by Nguyen Kim Hoang
A photo by Nguyen Kim Hoang

VietNamNet Bridge – The HCM City Department of Culture and Information has recently refused to give permission for a nude photo exhibition titled Closer by female photographer Nguyen Kim Hoang, sparking a debate on censorship.

A dispatch No. 967/CV sent by the HCM City Department of Culture and Information to the HCM City Art Association on April 18, 2007, says: “The beauty of Vietnamese women is a secret beauty. All the photos in the exhibition capture and display the most sensitive parts of the woman, so showing this exhibition to the public wouldn’t be suitable to Vietnamese values and customs.”

According to Uyen Huy, Vice Secretary General of the HCM City Art Association, the “most sensitive parts of the woman” are nothing more than the chin, the arms, the back, the shoulders, the elbows and the breasts, and these are “merely beautiful images of bodily curves and lines.”

“There is absolutely no obscenity, sexual stimulation, or violation of values and customs at all. Perhaps since these photos were shot at a close angle, the department hesitated,” said Uyen Huy.

For her part, photographer Nguyen Kim Hoang said she was willing to shelve photos considered inappropriate if necessary. Yet, she was completely surprised to hear that her works were rejected because they were “unsuitable to Vietnamese values and customs.”

It seems that nude photos can be shown alongside other types of works in an exhibition. But Vietnamese censors are yet to okay an exclusively nude project, though they have recently granted permission for the screening of movies with unusually “hot” scenes like Hired Birth, When Men Are Pregnant, the White Silk Dress or Shoot As It Rings.

According to Chu Chi Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Photographer’s Association, neither the Ministry of Culture and Information nor the Vietnam Photographer’s Association forbids the artistic exploration of nudity.

“Local authorities may not be able to differentiate obscenity and acceptable things very well, so they hesitate. But I think such hesitation isn’t suitable any more these days. We are posing for global integration, so our social attitudes must be objective and open-minded and we should know how to tell the difference between beauty and obscenity,” said Chu Chi Thanh.

Chairman Thanh also said that by the end of this year, the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Vietnam Photographer’s Association would organize an unprecedented conference on nudity since these two authorities haven’t developed special guidelines on this subject.

(Source: TN)

Associated Press

A pair of combat boots. A wristband woven from boot laces with several bullets dangling. A photo of black servicemen standing outside a makeshift African temple.

The items are part of “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era,” a new exhibit at the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center that examines the black experience in Vietnam against the domestic social fabric of the times.

Samuel W. Black, curator of the center’s African American Collections, conceived the exhibit, in part because his older brother, Jimmy McNeil, served two years in Vietnam.

Black was 4 years old when his brother was sent to Vietnam. He died in 1971, unrelated to the conflict, and Black said he really never knew what his brother’s experience was.

Black found much had been written about the role of blacks in other wars, particularly the Civil War and World War II, but he found little about blacks in Vietnam.

As he began researching, he found the black experience in Vietnam was also linked to social changes on U.S. soil. The civil rights movement was in full swing. The Black Power movement was growing.

“Two things kind of stood out for me,” he said. “One was the level of activism, political and social activism, on the part of African Americans in Vietnam. That was surprising to me. And the other was the presence of African American women in Vietnam” performing administrative, nursing and other duties.

Black power organizations were active in Vietnam, he said. They weren’t sanctioned, but they were not underground, either.

“What you begin to see through this movement in Vietnam is a connection, not only an extension of the civil rights movement, but also an embracement of the independence movement in Africa,” he said.

One display in the exhibit shows a wooden carving of two fists with broken shackles, with red, black and green stripes at the base – colors associated with African nationhood.

Donald Harris was a young Army artilleryman fighting for Nui Ba Den, a strategic mountain, in 1969. Close to the end of the fighting, he said, a Vietnamese boy approached him with the carving.

“It really caught my eye. I traded him a case of C-rations,” said Harris, 61, who lives in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg.

The carving spoke to Harris about black struggles, but he also saw it as a good luck charm, he said. “When everybody went out that door, we rubbed it, even the white soldiers,” he said.

Harris said he was naive when he went to Vietnam. He hadn’t been out of Pittsburgh before and had never encountered racism until basic training. Once in Vietnam, however, he said he did not experience racism.

“All we cared about was coming back home or taking care of ourselves,” he said. “We were soldiers. That was it in a nutshell.”

The exhibit has nearly 200 artifacts, including photographs, military uniforms, recruitment posters and letters and diaries from servicemen.

Black said he wasn’t interested in doing an exhibit about war.

“I wanted to keep the focus more or less on the social aspects of life and the impact of the war,” he said. “The war is sort of the background which all of this plays out.”

The exhibit, for example, features songs such as James Brown’s “Say it Loud (I’m Black & I’m Proud)” and Marvin Gaye’s 1971 anti-Vietnam war anthem, “What’s Going On.”

The history center is also publishing an accompanying book, “Soul Soldiers,” which will include narratives, essays, poetry, art and photographs.

The Smithsonian Institution, with which the history center is affiliated, is considering having the exhibit travel after its debut in Pittsburgh. The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, which lent several pieces for the exhibit, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, are also interested in hosting it.


Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center:

16:47′ 09/10/2006 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese photographers have won 10 out 18 prizes at an international photo contest held by the Japan-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO).

According to APO website, this year’s photo contest received a total of 841 entries submitted by 292 shutterbugs from 12 countries.

As in previous photo contests, Vietnam led the field with 633 entries and pocketed all major prizes, said APO.

Photographer Hoang Thach Van from Ho Chi Minh City won the gold prize with a work entitled “Good Season”, while two silver prizes were awarded to two other Vietnamese artists, Dang Ngoc Thai and Thanh Thuy.

16:47′ 09/10/2006 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese photographers have won 10 out 18 prizes at an international photo contest held by the Japan-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO).

According to APO website, this year’s photo contest received a total of 841 entries submitted by 292 shutterbugs from 12 countries.

As in previous photo contests, Vietnam led the field with 633 entries and pocketed all major prizes, said APO.

Photographer Hoang Thach Van from Ho Chi Minh City won the gold prize with a work entitled “Good Season”, while two silver prizes were awarded to two other Vietnamese artists, Dang Ngoc Thai and Thanh Thuy.