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Lensman’s journey captures daily moments across Vietnam’s northern highlands

Born in rural village of Luong Tai, Tien Son commune, Viet Yen district (Bac Giang province), Nguyen Huu Thong is now a famous photographer. After graduating from Hanoi University of Public Health, he is working at Alina Vietnam Eye Hospital.   Thong has spent much time capturing daily life in northern mountainous regions, with some of his shots catapulted to global fame.  

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

A photo titled "Flea Market Breakfast" capturing the scene of locals eating breakfast at a flea market in Dong Van Town in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang won a special prize at the 2018 Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest.

In 2021, the photo earned first prize in the "Food on the Table" category of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year.

Dong Van Market operates every Sunday from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is among the largest and busiest in the northern mountains. The market boasts H'mong, Han, Dao, Giay, and Tay produce and serves as a meeting place for young women in their colorful traditional costumes.

Thong, 34, a native of Bac Giang Province in northern Vietnam, embarked on a photography career in 2015 and has since then grabbed over 40 domestic and international prizes.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

An ethnic farmer carries her child on her back while harrowing a field in Xin Man District in Ha Giang in 2012.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

A photo taken in October 2015 captures a H'mong woman yawning while leading cows to the Dong Van flea market for selling.

"I think she had to get up very early to walk from her village to reach the market in the early morning. When I arrived, I saw her standing at the gate of the market. I regret not capturing the lovely moment when both the cows and their owner fell asleep," Thong said.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

In 2015, while wandering along Ma Pi Leng Pass, Thong saw a H'mong woman carrying bundles of branches on her back. Ma Pi Leng is one of the toughest mountainous passes in Vietnam.

"It was an emotional moment that suddenly appeared in front of my eyes," Thong said. He named the photo "Mountainous Woman". The photo won the consolation prize in the travel category of the 11th International Art Photo Contest in Vietnam in 2021.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

Up to 90 percent of his photos were taken in the northern highlands. Most of the photography awards he won are also of mountainous topics. Among them was "Harvesting Bamboo" taken in 2020 in Lung Pan Village of Cao Bang Province. It was exhibited at Vietnam Art Photo Contest 2020.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

People walk on a road covered with white snow in Nhiu Co San Village of Y Ty Commune in Lao Cai Province in early 2021.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

This shot was taken in Quan Ba District in Ha Giang in early 2021. It captures a family working at noon while their two-month-old baby lies in a towel tied to four tree branches on the ground. The family's meal comprises only a pot of rice with some pickles.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

People in Dong Van Plateau always suffer water scarcity from October to March every year. Each family has one to two people in charge of collecting water, most of whom are women and children. Every day they spend two to four hours getting clean water for daily use, which greatly affects children's class time.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

This photo taken in October 2016 at Can Cau Market in the highland district of Si Ma Cai in Lao Cai captures local boys eating bowls of pho (noodle soup) with black chicken.

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame

A woman smiles while harvesting straw in Tan Yen District of Bac Giang Province on a sunny autumn afternoon in 2020.

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Source: VnExpress

Lensman’s journey, daily moments, Vietnam’s northern highlands, Nguyen Huu Thong, Bac Giang province, global fame
 
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