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Veteran photographer honoured

Update: August, 30/2013 - 10:40
In the spotlight: Photographer Quang Phung receives the Grand Award from General Director of the Vietnam News Agency Nguyen Duc Loi at the awards ceremony yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Duc

HA NOI (VNS)— Leaning against his walking stick and wearing a camera on his neck, white-haired photographer Quang Phung received the Grand Award in this year's Bui Xuan Phai – Love for Ha Noi Awards yesterday.

The annual award was launched for the first time in 2008 by The Thao&Van Hoa (Sports&Culture) newspaper, and named after famous painter Phai (1920-88) to honour his career and spread his love for Ha Noi.

This is a meaningful award to respect individuals and projects making significant contributions to arts and culture in Ha Noi, according to Ho Quang Loi, head of the Ha Noi Party Committee's Department of publicity and Education, a member of the judging panel.

The 81-year-old photographer won the award for his life-long interest in documenting the people and landscapes of Ha Noi through photography. His career spanned from 1954 until recently, when it was cut short due to a stroke.

"Phung owns a collection of valuable photos capturing Ha Noi and its people through different periods of history," said architect Doan Duc Thanh of the jury board.

Phung was popular with street vendors, homeless people, even drug addicts and street gangs, and whilst his work documented important historical milestones, it was also famous for its powerful honesty in portraying the life and problems of those he encountered.

"We admire him because of his untiring effort in taking photos of Ha Noi," Thanh said. "He shows beautiful images and the other side of the capital as well, with an aim to warn the people and authorities to build a better Ha Noi."

"The elderly are easy to be moved, so am I," photographer Phung said. "I'm so happy to receive the award and feel encouraged. Today I have a feeling that my old friend, painter Phai, also attends this ceremony.

"During wartime and at the beginning of the doi moi (renewal) period, life was so difficult that artists like us faced many obstacle to create and maintain the love for Ha Noi.

"Phai was always painstaking in finding materials and colours to paint and worked very hard, he never complained. I learned much from him."

The Work Award went to a collection of some 2,000 photos of Ha Noi by British veteran diplomat John Ramsden, taken during his term between 1980 and 1983 and documenting his growing fascination with the country.

An exhibition displaying part of this photo collection is expected to open in Ha Noi by the middle of October.

In the Job category, two awards were granted for the search for historic documents pertaining to the sacrifice of nearly 400 Hanoian martyrs at Chu Tan Kra battlefield, in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum during the American War, and for Japanese archaeologist Nishimura Masanari who collected and built a museum of ancient earthenware, and five elderly men living in the ancient pottery-making village of Kim Lan in Ha Noi's suburban Gia Lam District

The museum is the first example in the country of "community archaeology", in which local people play a central role in collecting items and building dossiers.

Nishimura died in an accident on the way to the archaeological site in June and was buried in the village.

The draft on the Rule of Behaviours for Civilised Hanoians of the capital Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism won the award for the Idea category. The authorities will work together with cultural experts and consult the people to fulfill the rule. It's expected to be implemented in 2015, according to Nguyen Khac Loi, deputy director of the department. — VNS


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