Photographer Luong Nghia Dung, had accompanied tank soldiers to take photos of the battle to liberate Quang Tri province and bravely laid down his life in Hai Lang District. He was awarded the State Prize of cultural art in 2007 with his photo “Artillery fighting in Mieu slope” taken in 1968.
Leave school for battlefield
Luong Nghia Dung, a native of Ha Dong Province (Hanoi city now) had left for Hanoi capital to study and then to the Indochina Industry school.
In 1954, Dung left the school and joined the army to become one of the Uncle Ho’s soldiers when the resistance war against the French colonialists became fiercer.
|War photographer Luong Nghia Dung at Route 9 South of Laos Battle
After the restoration of peace, he continued studying at university and then became an army teacher of physics.
When American Imperialists escalated the war to the North of Vietnam, Dung and his fiends entered an intensive course of photography journalists and worked at military press agency. Since 1967, his group of photography journalists became a leading motive force in taking lively photos of the country’s resistance war for national salvation.
20 scape deaths
During his fighting time at different battles, he had escaped from death more than 20 times.
Once, in 1967, while Dung was on on duty at an antiaircraft Company 367 in Hai Phong, American bombs dropped violently onto the battlefield and Dung was covered with a heap of ruins unconsciuosly. When other people found Dung, they thought he might have died,. His face burnt black with dull eyes but he still tightly held an Exakta camera (3x4 cm) and worn ROLLEIFLEX camera (6x6 cm) around the neck.
Hearing Hai Phong shoot down an American plane and Dung was buried under ruins, Chairman of photography bureau sent other reporters to get photos to make movies and replace Dung so that he could have some treatment. Dung only handed over the photos he had taken and resolutely stayed there to continue his job to take more photos of the battle.
Later on, Dung and other colleagues were appointed to large battlefields, such as Khe Sanh, Route 9 South of Laos, Chum rice field, Xieng Khouang (Laos), the Highlands, Quang Tri, Stung Treng (Cambodia).
In Quang Tri in the period of 1971-1972, Dung was incharge of taking photos of main attacks at the top of point 500. While capturing scenes of liberation soldiers fearlessly fighting against the enemy by his Practica camera, a series of the enemy’s bullets and artilleries covered entire battlefield. His camera lens was damaged and hehimself was covered with soil. Later on, his camera and all photos were sent to Hanoi to make movies.
A heroic photogrpaher
With only six years taking photos till his final breath, Luong Nghia Dung had taken hundreds of Vietnamese typical young people, heroic people and revolutionary heroic events.
These photos includes the photo of Le Ma Luong on Route 9 south of Laos using enemy’s gun to kill enemy invaders, Dinh Viet Suu ensures smooth communication during fierce war, Nguyen Quoc Kha shooting down seven enemy helicopters with 12.7 mm gun. Nguyen Thi The with several girls sat on fire US battleships three times. Dung took photos of these heroes in their fighting position with revolutionary spirit of winners.
These are real people and circumstances of the resistance war. Wartime was an extraordinary period so people and their actions in that situation are extraordinary as well. These people could overcome all difficulties and did not think they were extraordinary heroes. Also, Dung knew their work is essential but normal like other soldiers. He recorded images of people by his great empathy and the aspiration for victory from his own heart.
Dung’s pictorial book, titled “Vietnam in the flash of war fire” with nearly 200 photos helps viewers understand more deeply about peak moments of the resistance war.
All his lively photos featuring resilient spirits of soldiers leave a strong impression on viewers.
Translated by Nguyen Thao