At the event funded by Orhan Holding and co-sponsored by the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), Vinh alone brought home five prizes, including the FIAP’s Best Author and the Orhan Holding special awards in the experimental category. Three other photos taken by him were also awarded in the monochrome category.
A traditional family in photography
Dang Quang Vinh, born in 1968 in Bac Lieu, was presented the Excellence FIAP honourable title by FIAP and the special photographer title of Vietnam. He also won remarkable achievements such as Medal for Vietnam 2015 literary and artistic career, FIP Gold (India), PCA Gold (contest by the three countries of Serbia, Romania and Macedonia), GAP Gold (Greece), RPS Silver (the UK), FIAP Silver (Malaysia), PSA Gold (USA) and Golds at SIHIPC, ICPC and PHOTOVIVO (Singapore). In the two generations in his family, up to six members are well-known Vietnamese photographers and four of them have been granted the honourable title Artist FIAP (AFIAP).
Since his teenage years, Vinh was introduced to photography by his father, so at the age of 15, he was already quite skilled. Vinh’s father gave him a photo art book from the 1970s. It is his favourite photography book that he still preserves. However, in terms of career orientation, the photographer affirmed that, in his family, no one orients anyone and the children grow up and follow their predecessors in photo profession. They discovered the career by themselves, then went to every corner to capture the most beautiful and idyllic moments of life.
In 2013, in a series of activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Vietnam’s Traditional Photography – Cinema Day, held in Bac Lieu province, the family of photographer Dang Quang Vinh was awarded a certificate of merit for their constant career dedication, recognised by multiple domestic and international awards, contributing to promoting the image of the country and people of Vietnam to the world through photography. The Bac Lieu honour is a meaningful reward for their contributions. For years, the members of Dang Quang’s photography family gathered in a photo shop named Hoa Phuong in Bac Lieu. After his father – photographer Dang Quang Sanh and his uncle Dang Quang Thanh died, Dang Quang Vinh and his two brothers continued their passion for photography.
Photography needs soul’s beauty
The special thing about Dang Quang Vinh’s awards at the 14th Orhan Holding competition is that the winning works were mainly on the sea and islands. Sharing about this, Vinh said, the competition has four themes and suggestions towards the environment and he decided to choose the subject of the sea. He explained: “I lived 8 km away from the sea and I experienced taking pictures of this subject for many years. Moreover, regarding the sea, the visual language is easy to understand, from the hard life, the smallness of the people before the immense sea, but the highest is still the spirit of courage and enthusiasm to work and keeping a close attachment to the sea.”
Vinh said that photography is the art of light that the senior photographers have learned and constantly made creative works. Today, progressive science and technology has help young people quickly access new knowledge and makes it good for Vietnam to have young photographers winning international prizes. That is a good sign but we can’t be too optimistic. Specifically, in the technological age, many young people are too “technological” and forget that behind each photo is the beauty of emotions, the beauty of the soul.
“Many people think that just having an expensive camera and with digital proficiency, they can make a good work without being aware that, in order to capture special moments, the photographer must be passionate and sacrifice for the job. When my father was still in his 70s, he always accompanied his family members or friends who love photography to make photos and exchange about their life and career,” said Vinh. In his memory, the image of his father always lingered with valuable lessons about the profession. To get quality photos, the photographer must stay up late and get up early and always be in a state of ready-to-go. For them, it is joy, love and their life. Each one has a distinct style and feeling but the work of the six artists of Dang Quang’s family all reveal their rustic, gentle lifestyle and thinking, that can be easily identified through the soft and peaceful features.