Veteran photographer Nguyen Van Phuc, 85, has published an artistic photo book entitled “Hanoi in My Heart” as a tribute to Hanoi – his beloved hometown – and those who have a love for the city and art.
The photo book showcases the most exquisite photographs of Hanoi captured by the accomplished photographer over the past two decades. The title of the photo book also refers to the photo exhibition initiated by Nguyen Van Phuc, which takes place annually in collaboration with the Economic and Urban Newspaper.
“The displayed photos reflect the deep passion of the photographers for Hanoi. They serve as spiritual gifts to the younger generation and travelers both within and outside of the country, expressing the true essence of ‘live happily, live healthily, live usefully’ from the seasoned photographers of the Hanoi Elderly Photography Club,” Phuc stated during the opening ceremony of the recent “Hanoi in My Heart” exhibition at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.
The book, titled “Hanoi in My Heart” and published by the Vietnam News Agency Publishing House, guides viewers through an authentic depiction of Hanoi, capturing the emotions of an individual who has spent the majority of his life in this city. The 391 images within the book recount the story of a thousand years of Hanoi’s culture, where the national heritage is preserved and the spirit of peace and friendship radiates throughout the nation and beyond.
The first segment of the book, “Thang Long – Hanoi,” takes readers on a journey encompassing famous landmarks in 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, and Lai Xa Photo Village. These sights are captured from various perspectives: past and present, day and night, near and far, from above and at eye level.
The photos portray a charming, elegant, and vibrant Hanoi, which strives towards modernity and progress while cherishing its ancient features and millennial identity.
In the second segment, “Beautiful Images of Every Region of My Country I Have Visited,” readers can embark on sightseeing trips to Ha Long Bay, Sapa, Dong Van Karst Plateau, Bana Hills, Hoian Ancient Town, and the Central Highlands. Through the lens of a Hanoian, the country takes on a fresh, unique, delicate, and romantic allure.
The book is published bilingually in Vietnamese and English for wider distribution, allowing foreigners to delve into the enchanting beauty of Hanoi through the lens of photographer Nguyen Van Phuc.
Despite being 85 years old, Phuc’s works in the photo book demonstrate his relentless energy in capturing the essence of Hanoi. Many of these photos were taken in 2023 from challenging camera angles.
As a native of the city, Phuc shared his source of inspiration that has continuously fueled his artistic creations: “I love Hanoi, from its people to its landscapes. I am captivated by the simplicities of Hanoi: the peacefulness of Hoan Kiem Lake on a sunny day, the rows of ancient houses in the Old Quarter, or the subtle fragrance of milk flowers. This city harbors an inherent charm that makes visitors unwilling to leave.”
Preserving the soul of one’s homeland is a constant concern for all artists. While movies record scenes over extended periods, photography takes an alternate path.
“Photography immortalizes a fleeting moment in life, preserving memories through the artist’s images. Each captured moment is invaluable, distinct, and unique, allowing us to embark on a nostalgic journey and immerse ourselves in the most heartfelt emotions, crystallizing memories that last,” Phuc explained.
Vu Viet Trang, the general director of the Vietnam News Agency, commented on the photo book, stating, “The photographs of Hanoi not only illustrate the candid perspective of photojournalism but also possess the artistic qualities of a true photo artist. This exemplifies the exceptional skills of artist Nguyen Van Phuc, who has dedicated a significant portion of his life practicing photojournalism for the Vietnam News Agency.”
Photographer Tran Thi Thu Dong, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA), greatly appreciates the heartfelt storyline of the photo book: “As someone born and raised in Hanoi, photo artist Nguyen Van Phuc has wholeheartedly embraced the love of Hanoians for their city and the traditions of Lai Xa Photo Village – his birthplace. These two aspects blend together harmoniously in each of his photographic moments.”
Nguyen Minh Duc, editor-in-chief of Hanoimoi Newspaper, praised the 85-year-old artist’s energy and enthusiasm in encapsulating the essence of Hanoi through every photo. Duc notes, “Photographer Nguyen Van Phuc has dedicated his entire life to his passion for photography. The 391 images featured in this book symbolize important milestones in his career as a reporter and photo artist. His timeless works have made significant contributions to the development of national art.”
Wearing his heavy camera equipment on his shoulders, Phuc continues to roam the streets and corners of the capital city, tirelessly capturing mesmerizing images. Surely, he will continue to present the public with breathtaking depictions of contemporary Hanoi.
Born in 1938 in Lai Xa Village, Kim Chung Commune, Hoai Duc District, Hanoi, Phuc formerly served as the deputy director of the photo center at the Vietnam News Agency. With over 60 years of experience behind the camera, he has received numerous domestic and international photography awards and medals, as well as titles of Excellence Artist of VAPA (E.VAPA) and Especially Outstanding Contributor of VAPA (ES.VAPA).
Phuc currently serves as the Chairman of the Hanoi Elderly Photography Club and is a member of the Vietnam Journalists Association (VJA), International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA), and Hanoi Association of Photographic Artists (HAPA).