This evening (5th December) we were delighted to welcome as our guest speaker, Sue Hingley ARPS from Whickham Photographic Club.
Sue, ably assisted by her ‘roadie’, otherwise known as husband Steve was at Cramlington CC to talk about her trip with Steve to Vietnam.
Sue & Steve, both self proclaimed to be not the most confident of independent travellers, made the journey to Vietnam in Feb/March of 2016. There they were to embark on a guided railway journey from Hanoi to Saigon using the Unification Railway.
Sue started by explaining how she wanted her photography to capture the essence & reality of the country. How she often ‘grabbed’ quick photographs through train and bus windows when perhaps people were unaware of her presence.
Sue continued with a short history of the Unification Railway, how after the war ended in 1975 it only took the Hanoi government until 1976 to get the line operational once more, Replacing the damaged lines and destroyed bridges that were laid waste after some 40 years of conflict.
Sue’s first images showed the bustling city of Hanoi with its ‘old quarter’ where all of life could be seen acted out on its narrow streets. Every type of business could be found from barbers to butchers to potters, all working on the street in the open air, including domestic chores and washing and eating. Motor cycles, mopeds and scooters in their thousands clogged the streets spewing pollutants while the spaghetti like power cables were evident everywhere.
Sue has a passion for travel photography and likes nothing better than to capture the local people in their everyday lives, and showed us some lovely portraits, some candid some posed of local children often with their proud mothers and grandmothers.
From Hanoi to Halong Bay with its spectacular rock formations where Sue and Steve spent time on one of the many tourist boats that ply the waters between its some 3000 islands.
Stops at Hue, a beautiful and colourful city on the Perfume River, not so aptly named, with its riverside shacks where the poorest inhabitants live. We were shown impressive images of the Citadel at Hue and The Temple and Pagoda of the Celestial Lady.
On we travelled through Danang, once the home of a large US Airbase to Nha Trang now a prosperous upmarket holiday resort but still with the poorest of society living in riverside shacks.
Sue & Steve’s journey ended at Saigon. Once a city devastated by war that has since been rebuilt into a modern metropolis with stunning office blocks and 5 star hotels.
Sue explained how the gap between rich and poor was at its greatest here and how the war and the use of defoliants like ‘agent orange’ had devastated the surrounding land turning much of it into a wasteland where crops failed and livestock starved.
Sue told how sadly the effects of the defoliants used during the war were still evident in the genetic defects seen in some of the children, causing deformities in limbs and other health problems.
Sue gave a wonderful presentation and narrative of their trip to Vietnam with both beautiful digital imagery and a selection of mono prints for the audience to enjoy.
At the end of her presentation Sue stayed to answer questions from the members and received their thanks by way of a well earned round of applause.
Bob Finlay (President)