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Life with Covid through students' eyes

By May Pham   December 27, 2021 | 08:00 pm PT
Swinburne Vietnam's photography exhibition "The Gala: Swinburne Greats" from Dec. 17 to 19 received numerous submissions with intriguing backstories, drawing attention from students, parents and art lovers in Hanoi.

Students' highly artistic submissions

As an opportunity to share stories about the Covid experience, "The Gala: Swinburne Greats", with the theme "Reflecting on a chapter: Visualizing the pandemic learning experience", surprised viewers with the high quality of submissions from student and amateur photographers. With topics ranging from portraits, landscapes, city views... the submission pool was praised for its diversity and high quality in content, layout and lighting.

Some of the notable works include: "Hanging in the Air", "Father and Son", "Fishing in the Late Afternoon" by Chu Quoc Anh, and "Seek Help" by Nguyen Trong Bao. Both are currently sophomores at Swinburne Vietnam.

Seek help - A father-and-son pair coming back home on a late train. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

"Seek Help" - A father and his son return home on a late train. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

A considerable number of submissions featured landscapes and stories from the hustle and bustle of city life. Nguyen Trong Bao, the author of "Seek Help" featuring a father-and-son pair returning home on a late afternoon from Long Bien Station, shared: "I love street photography because it captures the everyday, every-life moments but can still stir us to the core."

Hanging in the middle air showing hardships of the working class in urban areas. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

"Hanging in the Air" depicts the hardships faced by the urban working class. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

World views

Apart from creating an opportunity for students to express themselves, "The Gala: Swinburne Greats" also aimed at spreading positive vibes among students and the greater community.

Dr. Marisha McAuliffe, director of Student HQ at Swinburne Vietnam, said: "Photography is an incredibly important way to represent a moment in time; those moments can be from joy to solitude, peacefulness to frustration, contentment to feeling lost, satisfied to overwhelmed, or anything in between. The exhibition aims to express through photography, our students’ personal perspective of their pandemic learning experience through, for example, the view outside through the window whilst they were studying, in the streets around their home and neighborhood, or in the city itself."

"After the pandemic, regulations, personal and professional lives as well as other aspects of our lives have changed drastically. This is an opportunity for our students - to tell their stories, through photography, their feelings and challenges, and how their lives have changed during the global pandemic," McAuliffe stated.

Fishing in the late afternoon capturing the tranquillity at the end of the day. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

"Fishing in the Late Afternoon" captures a sense of tranquility at the end of the day. Photo courtesy of Swinburne Vietnam

Chu Quoc Anh said: "I saw a lot of changes in myself since I picked up photography. I learned how to be meticulous and pay more attention to small details, such as using and caring for my camera. In particular, I became more observant of my surroundings and seek to enrich my world view."

Besides students, the exhibition also received recognition from parents, most of whom were proud and amazed at the quality of the photos and the students’ mature views on life and social issues.

Pham Quang Tien, a parent of a Swinburne Vietnam student, said: "Looking at my daughter’s work being exhibited here, I was very touched that her efforts are being recognized. I always knew that Swinburne Vietnam students are very active. But with this exhibition, I can see that they are very hardworking and inquisitive, and I was quite impressed by their profoundness."

"The Gala: Swinburne Greats" can be seen as a meaningful gift to students, parents and art enthusiasts amid the Covid pandemic. After this exhibition, Swinburne Vietnam revealed it would host future events to spread love and positivity to students and the community.

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