When he stumbled upon Tri An Lake in 2010, photographer Le Nguyen Duy Phuong was mesmerised by the stunning view.
He returned to the lake in southern Dong Nai province several times, sometimes spending weeks trying to capture the people and scenery.
The results of those explorations are now featured in Gone with the Flow, a photo exhibition at the French cultural centre L’Espace.
“What I like most about the lake is that the water here has a light blue colour. It is much different from the pinkish water of the Mekong Delta rivers in my hometown,” the HCM City-based photographer said.
Water is captured from many angles in his photos, from vast expanses of water stretching to the horizon to quiet, peaceful backwaters.
For Phuong, water has always been an inseparable part of life. Citing the novel Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, a source of inspiration for his photos, he said he sees water as a medium to reflect on oneself, one’s memory and one’s life.
Mixing arranged setups and spontaneous shots, his photos expose the harmony between human and nature by capturing the ordinary life of the villagers along with the rise and fall of water on the lake.
“My photos are hard to come by sometimes. While waiting for them, I sit down and chitchat with my subjects to make them feel relaxed,” said Phuong. “It may take hours to capture a moment on camera.”
The photographer added that he is not trying to send a particular message. Rather, he hopes each individual will find his or her own meaning in his photos.
For Vanessa Mulheim, a French teacher in Ha Noi, they produced a startling revelation.
“The photos make me realise life itself originated in water and we are likely to feel most comfortable inside water,” she said.
The exhibition will open until September 27 at L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien Street.