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Exhibition evokes post-war Ha Noi

Update: May, 06/2013 - 09:00
Picture perfect: The Huc Bridge on Sword Lake is the scene of one of 60 pictures taken by John Ramsden, a British diplomat and photographer, and displayed in London.

LONDON (VNS)— A rare collection of images of Ha Noi during the 1980s was shown to the public for the first time in London at weekend.

Sixty photographs taken by John Ramsden, a British diplomat and photographer, bring to life the spirit of the capital city during the postwar period, of which there are few comparable records.

In the early 1980s, Viet Nam was at the beginning of a difficult period following the end of the war. Arriving in Ha Noi as part of the British Diplomatic Service's mission, Ramsden found himself in the middle of a poverty-stricken society.

Amidst the post-war living environment, however, he could sense the hope and relentless fighting spirit of the Vietnamese people.

"It was a very difficult time, so I rather admired people," Ramsden said. "Despite all the difficulties, people had great dignity and courage and managed to uphold traditional values in a remarkable way."

When he went for long walks around the city of Ha Noi, bicycled out to the surrounding villages and made trips during the weekends, he always brought along his camera – resulting in more than 1,800 photographs.

Explaining the name of the exhibition, Spirit of Place, Ramsden said: "I hope these photographs convey something of the excitement I felt as I explored the city and its surroundings: the wistful, rather sad beauty, the grace and resilience of the people, the strength of an ancient culture amid all the changes and challenges of the time."

At the opening of the exhibition on Friday, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Vu Quang Minh said the pictures showed that even during one of the most difficult periods in its history, Ha Noi retained its simple, peaceful and charming beauty.

The event was co-organised by VietPro (Vietnamese Professional group in the UK) and KREU, a group of young Vietnamese designers and architects who study and work in the UK.

The exhibition tour started at the Viet Nam Cultural Day in Copenhagen and will continue in Ha Noi and HCM City later this year. — VNS


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