Aussie's lens captures country's momentum
Update: Jun 09, 2010
An exhibition providing a unique view of Vietnam through the lens of an Australian photographer is on view in Hanoi until July 5

For Momentum of the River's Flow, Les Horvat, an Australian photographer proposes thirty-four photographs depicting the length and breadth of Vietnam's cultural and historical landscape.

He re-presents spaces charged with historical meaning in their new guises, such as a now overgrown ex-Australian army base thick with foliage and a long disused American radar station.

In another image, past and present fuse, where modern city lights streak across the Municipal Theatre in HCMC. As a foreigner, Horvat attends to the details of particular sites that the locals might ignore in their everyday pursuits.

"Vietnam is special in my imagination. When I was young I thought of Vietnam as a country of mystery and conflict," Horvat said.

His first visit to Vietnam was in 2005. But all the photos in the exhibition were taken in 2006; 2008 and 2009. He spent three to four weeks each time travelling and discovering historic sites.

He sees Vietnam as ever continuously changing and progressing, which is why his multi-angled consideration of historical sites is so central to this exhibition.

The construction of a narrative through a careful post-production edit, acts as another agent in Momentum of the River's Flow. Colour, tone, texture and definition tell their own story, adding to the overall meaning of each photograph and by extension the whole series in the exhibition.

"As an outsider, my viewpoint is obviously subjective and it carries the cultural baggage I bring to the project. Personal as it clearly is, this gaze is nevertheless enacted in the photographs that make up this exhibition," said Horvat.

The photographer spent over 20 years working as an award-winning photographer in a career at the leading edge of commercial, advertising photography in Australia.

He has won numerous awards including the Kodak Professional Photography Achievement Award, Gold and Silver at the Australian Professional Photography Awards, and has been accepted into the Fuji ACMP Collection.

In 1999 Horvat achieved Masters status within the peak photographic industry body, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

He has also co-authored a photographic text on digital imaging, published world-wide in four languages, and now up to its third edition.

The exhibition will last through July 5 at the Bui Gallery, 23 Ngo Van So Street, Hanoi.