After “GHÉ 02 – But Thap Pagoda” was published by Handhome in early 2019, the subsequent architectural photo book is about Boi Khe Pagoda – one among nine in Northern Vietnam I have visited and photographed about traditional architecture in this country.
Boi Khe (also known as Đại Bi Tự) is an ancient pagoda enriched with traditional cultural values from the Tran Dynasty represented by its structure; carved wooden, stone, brick sculptures; and diverse statues. The pagoda still remains today, having witnessed ups and downs of the country through various periods of time. We decided to make a photo book about Boi Khe because it is like an old library full of great reference values for further research and conservation.
In two years of photographing Boi Khe Pagoda, the landscape has changed quickly due to renovation and construction activities. Therefore, I indeed appreciate the material collected before lots of adjustments were made in the first half of 2019. Besides other publications of Vietnamese pagoda architecture, I hope that “GHÉ 02 – Boi Khe Pagoda” photo book will be a useful reference material for architects and traditional architecture lovers.
GHÉ 02 – BUT THAP PAGODA
We visited and photographed But Thap Pagoda at different times, early new year, Vu Lan Season, Buddha’s Birthday festival, autumn and finally in the last month of the year 2018. We took a lot of valuable pictures each time, featuring characteristics of each season.
We hope the first book of the series GHE-02 would be a useful reference besides previous research books on Vietnamese pagoda architecture for architects and those who love traditional structure.
In 2018, But Thap Pagoda was under restoration a few time, which slows down the process of shooting this book. In addition, there are some spaces where photography is strictly prohibited so we can not captured some significant details. It would be great if GHE 02 – But Thap Pagoda could be your motivation to visit and admire the architectural masterpiece.
GHÉ 01 is the first book in GHÉ series that I and my colleagues at Handhome have taken together, marking more than four years passed since I started working as a person who takes photos after graduating from Hanoi Architectural University in Vietnam.
My current work is collecting, documenting and archiving architectural materials, in Vietnam, which have been leaving their marks on many other works regardless of time. Through my lens and with photography as a medium, I want to capture/record everything that belongs to and relates to architectural activities, urban and even rural context whilst things around me change daily rapidly due to the speed of urbanization, especially in big cities.
There are many themes around architecture construction should be exploited and recorded in time. By the reason that architecture changes over time, and moreover depends on the users, I have witnessed the buildings with materials that have existed for a long time, those be existing today, but after a few days it is gone, or has changed, or being covered with a new skin. Those changes do not entirely make things worse, but they lead to the driving force that keeps me photographing every day.
At the beginning of project GHÉ, I thought about the question “What is beautiful when it comes to architecture in Hanoi?” I have chosen the idea of exploring little-known works or, works that are so familiar to everyone but be captured from other distinctive point for viewing. With these pictures, we hope to contribute a useful reference, somewhat turns the beholders stimulating a desire to learn and deepen, while at the same time one can discover the beauty of these works after they have put on the color of time.