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  • Untitled
    Posted Apr 24, 2018, 7:04 PM by Tony Le
  • Untitled   
    Posted Apr 24, 2018, 7:02 PM by Tony Le
  • Retreat Life In A Temple by Thanh Tri Cao ESUSPA HonFICS HonFPSBP HonFARGUS HonFSPH HonMARGUS HonMPSP HonPESGSPC HonSPH HonFICS FARGUS FPI ASPH To be in perfect balance, human beings should live in accordance with the ...
    Posted Jul 29, 2012, 7:54 PM by
  • The Laughing Gulls’ Love Story by Hoa Thi Azer LRPS AICS APII ASWAN AARGUSI was planning to take pictures of a sunrise in early Spring, but it turned out that I ended up taking ...
    Posted Nov 20, 2014, 9:51 PM by Tony Le
  • THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF THE LOTUS Thanh Tri Cao aka Most Venerable Thich Quang Thanh HonFICS HonFPSBP HonPESGPC... The lotus, a special kind of flower – is there a hidden legend relating to it? With its remarkable ...
    Posted Feb 1, 2013, 7:28 AM by Tony Le
  • Impressive Culture *Life and Shadow* By Tony Le Kim Thuan APSA HonEFIAP HonEUSPA HonEFMPA HonFICS   Why I choose black and white for my passion photography even color more attraction. To me black and white photography ...
    Posted Mar 23, 2013, 5:56 PM by Tony Le
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posted Apr 24, 2018, 7:04 PM by Tony Le   [ updated Apr 24, 2018, 7:04 PM ]


posted Mar 23, 2013, 2:43 PM by Tony Le   [ updated Apr 24, 2018, 7:02 PM ]



Retreat Life In A Temple

posted Jul 29, 2012, 7:54 PM by

To be in perfect balance, human beings should live in accordance with the universe. But with the development of materialistic societies, we are more and more separated from the nature. The earth is exploited and depleted of its nurturing natural resources. This has been affecting our body and mind, causing illness and distress. In such a situation, art can play a role for comfort and inspiration. With their creative talent, the artists have been contributing beautiful works to the world, enhancing the quality of life and giving a sense of joy. 

We are born with a light within ourselves, but it is covered and darkened with greed, anger/hatred and delusion. Differences between people in many aspects and suspicion may create anxiety and fear. The spiritual practitioner is the one who heals the affliction for himself and other beings. There is an intimate connection between body and mind. The spiritual practitioners and the artists are alike in the moment they live with the whole body and mind. With the emptiness in mind and body, the spiritual practitioners have compassion for all beings. The artists, including photographers, forget themselves in the moment of creativity. The mind, with its senses and emotions, is immeasurable.

In the summer retreat at our temple this year, I have watched the scene carefully to be able to catch a spiritual energy in the daily activities. Not only that I found an extraordinary spirituality in each person in some aspects, but also learned from their endeavor to transform themselves.

Indeed, enlightenment can only be attained through a diligent practice over a long time. To transform oneself for the better is the best example for the younger generation to learn. In this photographic collection, the pure innocence in the face of a boy monk brings joy, and with that feeling, I envisaged an infinite past from endless lives which made a person to be what he is today. From discoveries to discoveries, I used my camera to catch the glimpses of these special days of practice and offer them to the viewers.

Although being a Buddhist monk, I am also inspired in composing songs and photography. To make a collection of photography, one needs to spend time and effort to create a valuable piece of art. An impressive picture caught on the right time is either easy or difficult, depending on the layout of the scene and the light at the time. It is not easy to have a picture which is enjoyable to both the photographer and the viewer.

In whatever path of life, we need a teaching philosophy to take refuge in and enhance our spirit. An artistic soul can listen to the silent words of pebbles and stones, the prayer words at night can reach someone’ s consciousness on the verge of a big dream.

O river! You are romantic as ever!
O love! You are beautiful as ever!

On the paths of the temple were traces of the blissful steps. Silhouettes of people coming and leaving flickered in the background of the lotus season. Fragments of thoughts came together to reinforce and keeping the wavering minds from going astray. Beautiful poems shared, reunited conversation under the roof of the temple, all of these were caught in the lenses of my camera.

Whoever collected clouds
Please leave me some, when the afternoon light fades
How adorable, those words of sincerity
Deep in the eyes is the expression of love.

Dear knowledgeable artist friends!

Art has its own borderless language, it is a skillful mean to reach out to everybody. We all know that a skillful mean is necessary to attain a goal. Without words, these photographs of retreat activities in a Zen temple may give you some understanding and enjoyment.

The awakened life in a temple is a manifestation of harmony and truthfulness. The sunlight shone on the shimmering yellow robes, reflecting some contemplative faces. From the very first steps leading to a path of transmission tradition, there should be a powerful motive. This tradition has helped to bring out dedication, compassion and courage in the length of our culture. I hope that these beautiful pictures will give you some insight and get some benefits from it.

Photography is a subject which attracts our sight and thoughts. I learned a lot from these communicative lenses. I believe that photography as an art can impress and bringing understanding into the viewers. This signature of art is contributed to share with you a glimpse on different aspects of life. It is hard for a photographer to catch the right picture at the right time. But it is also hard to find a viewer who can appreciate and enjoy the picture.

Photography is a mean to have good communication with people from all over the world. It is my pride and joy to have my photographs looked at and enjoyed by all respectable viewers.


The Laughing Gulls’ Love Story

posted Jul 17, 2012, 9:45 AM by   [ updated Nov 20, 2014, 9:51 PM by Tony Le ]

I was planning to take pictures of a sunrise in early Spring, but it turned out that I ended up taking pictures of laughing gulls at the seashore.

That was on the early day of March 2012. I left the house at 4:15am and arrived at about 5:50am. After an hour had passed, the sun was in the cloudy sky. So, I decided to look near the boardwalk, which was next to some fishermen. At that time of the early spring season, many hundred thousand small fishes were traveling on the surface of sea water. There were many seagulls, pelicans, brown, white, and blue heron, and great egret, all waiting for the fishes to go by. Among of them were many ibis and laughing gulls.

After I set up my equipment to take the pictures, I saw a couple out of more than 20 gulls. The male gull stood along the shore with the group. That’s when I saw the slender female gull came to his face and gave off an elegant look. He then greeted her with a romantic look, and hugged her neck for a minute. After that, they walked along the shore while the wind gently blew a wave toward their feet. It looked so nice and gave off a cool breeze. During that time, the air was cool and the sun was shining on the water, every time the tide rolled. It made the shore line sparkle thousands of diamonds, which rolled around the gulls’ feet. For a moment, they stopped walking, but then she asked him something. He started touching her in a gentle way, and then he went out into the water for about 15 minutes and brought her a small fish. He fed her the fish and kisses her.

About five minutes later, he touched her with his beak, and then flew above her shoulder. During that time, he kept his wings open while standing on her back. He grasped his feet, which were on her shoulder, and kept still his wings open to control his mating session. I was concentrated on taking the pictures of their actions during the mating course for about six to ten minutes. I was so surprised that no matter how many gulls and people passed by, they ignored them all and kept on mating. After the mating course, the female gull started to become romantic and it looked like she wanted more attention from the male gull. She kept on hugging him for some reason.

For a moment, they looked in different directions. Later in the early afternoon, the male gull had waited a long time for conversation with the femal gull. I thought he got tired of her needs. He turned head in another direction.

Finally, she asked him again, but this time he looked so negative. The male gull just walked away and abandoned her. I was very surprise that he got hungry so quick.


posted Jul 12, 2012, 5:23 PM by   [ updated Feb 1, 2013, 7:28 AM by Tony Le ]

Thanh Tri Cao aka Most Venerable Thich Quang Thanh
The lotus, a special kind of flower – is there a hidden legend relating to it? With its remarkable characteristics, the lotus is considered a flower of nobility. Its roots are buried in the mud, but the leaves and flowers standing high above the water are intact in their color and fragrance, not soiled by water or mud. The language of lotus is a mysterious, wonderful language! In religious art traditions, the lotus is used as a symbol for the enlightened. The lotus contains in itself a meaning of cause and effect – inside the multiple layers of lotus petals is a central pod which contains many lotus seeds. The cause (seed) is already within the effect (flower). At night, the lotus embalms the air with a pure and sweet fragrance.

The flowers and leaves appear delicate but are quite strong in the blowing wind. The lotus has a silky, noble beauty, shimmering in the hot summer sunshine. It is only in midsummer that lotus is in full bloom, when the weather is hot and humid and the sunlight is bright . Therefore, photographers who want to make a collection of lotus pictures should be aware of the good timing, when the background and light are in harmony with the feeling of the artist. The photographer who looks for satisfactory lotus pictures should be quite sensitive. A good background is not good enough; he should wait for a time when the lotus flowers and leaves are glittering in the light, making up a natural structural harmony. A natural structural harmony always attracts our senses and emotions, provoking our creative force. The lotus is also a precious flower that has been made into art works to decorate important events, for people from all paths of life. In painting, the lotus is also a frequent subject. There are many paintings of the lotus with Zen elements which are quite stimulating. The artist can successfully express the beauty of the lotus, whether it is in colors or black and white. The lotus is also subject for many sculptured works.

In Vietnam or China, dry lotus petals are mixed with tea for fragrance and the bitter embryos within the lotus seeds are made into herbal medicines for sleeplessness or hypertensions. Almost all parts of the lotus are edible : the roots, stems, leaves, and seeds. The lotus seeds are boiled and cooked into a sweet soup, a popular delicacy (called chè in Vietnamese), or made into lotus nut paste for pastries.

For all of its special characteristics, the lotus is always a source of inspiration for my photography. I enjoy the patience of waiting for a good time, when all elements for an artful photograph are assembled. The lotus, with its pure beauty and silent language, deserves to be the subject of many art traditions. There are many kinds of lotus, with different colors, but the fragrance is always the same. I wonder if there is any country has chosen the lotus as their national emblem?

At night, under a misty sky, when the poet immerses himself in the deep silence, he will feel a connection with the universe, and the sight of the lotus is an inspiration for creation.

Is there any consciousness that does not have hope?
Is there any beauty that will not fade away?
Is there any passing time that leaves no memory?

In the midst of this impermanent world, the enlightened masters have chosen the lotus as a spiritual symbol.

For thousands of years before and after, the enlightened view of the wise is always fresh with compassion and courage. The characteristics of the lotus in every level, from the bud, to blossom and full flowering, are wonderfully lively! I choose the lotus in my photographic collection as a way to teach the meaning of Zen, whenever there is a chance, and of course I would like to share it to viewers from all over the world. Let us purify our mind and stand up for happiness from the suffering world, like the noble lotus rising up high from the muddy water.

For me, the lotus, with its silent language, its colors and fragrance, is always admired in my soul, with all the purity of mind.

Impressive Culture *Life and Shadow*

posted Jun 7, 2011, 10:55 AM by Tony Le   [ updated Mar 23, 2013, 5:56 PM ]

By Tony Le Kim Thuan

 Why I choose black and white for my passion photography even color more attraction. To me black and white photography is a main part of my life, my destiny. Black and white as a self-expression media as impressive cultures.

I was born and raised in a country where civilization has been around for over four thousand years; it is called Vietnam. I travelled cross country from the north to the south boundaries in order to photograph the images sometimes still hidden. The emergence of great cultures as wonderful as a life and shadow is part of the impressive Vietnam.

The images represent the beloved home land and daily lives of life and shadow in each remote region; it was recorded through a camera. My media is photography, an interpreted universal language for communication. Like all other visual arts there is no exception on seeing subjects or interpreting lighting in a natural way and then being self impressive to interpret the dynamic tonal into the final image with sufficient skill to fulfill my artistic vision.

The essence of photography is in a sense the expression of emotions like any other art which has no limitations. I also express those emotions, which share with the mass, and not those which are of my own emotions through lighting techniques. I am not only a communicator; but I am concerned about the great value each culture brings. It is a land with life and shadow even in remote regions.

The images presented are a glimpse into the lives of those living in remote regions. The real desired to see something has to be distinguished from the desire to think something with a hidden and disguised communicative potential.

The photo-artist communicates what the mass wants to say, but are unable to without photograph so without his aid. In the sense, my relation to the mass is not merely an image of my aesthetic experience but a lighting integral part of this experience itself. The life and shadow is a main part of impressive culture. It is not only a wonderful image; it depicts the beauty of ethnic highlander people and their happiness living close with nature. It represents the exquisite natural culture characteristic.

The life and shadow series with lighting interpretation of the daily lives are something more than communication from me to the mass; this collaboration with my beholder that I call “Life and Shadow in Impressive Culture” or another words “Impressive Life and Shadow of Vietnam”. The land, the lives and the people living in a country with a great culture more than four thousand years are now the interpretation of the universal language by these lovely images per generation through seeing the life and shadow of the daily lives.

Travelling cross country gave me a wonderful and strong feeling that the life and shadow is not only the country where I was born similar to what others believed. It is, however, the culture of daily lives similar to other country around the world. Advance photography involves not so much as an increased knowledge of seeing things and techniques as increased sensitivity and powers of light observation and imagination. It requires the capacity for lateral thinking together with recognition that the creative feeling process is a state of continuous flux.

My media of communication used is black and white with interpretation of lighting technique in different feeling forms to present an image. Actually whatever I think, I see, I imagine, I feel through my mind, my heart and even in my soul in black and white as like as human being daily lives. Every grain of this planet Earth, what I see is in their proper black and white tone, in which I may call as reality, the real form of black and white culture characteristic. But the thing that I constantly visualize is every dynamic tone range has different meaning. Sometimes, they are harmonizing with each other and also with conscious or subconscious mind, and sometimes, they invoke an emotion. So in other words black and white present the images of the life and shadow in daily lives as a main part of my life, my destiny. And, what I would like to say is around the clock 24 hours; there are only black and white – everything is black and white and they represent different meanings to me.

In brief, my presentations towards this world, towards the mass of the planet earth are: In reality there are black and white – In harmonization there are black and white – and above all in emotions there are black and white. Black and white in the life and shadow of daily lives of a great culture of Vietnam mean everything to me.

To present or interpret any emotion, any thought provocation, any feeling or awareness to mass I apply black and white as a self-expression media as “Life and Shadow – Impressive Cultures”.

Melody of Death Valley

posted Mar 28, 2011, 5:05 PM by   [ updated Mar 28, 2011, 5:14 PM ]

By Tony Le Kim Thuan APSA HonEFIAP

The heat of late summer in Death valley can drive men mad and it is also able to drive many tourists crazy, fooling the mind with strange mirages… The lines, curls, contours, shadows, and waves lie long on yellow sand dunes in the early morning and the late afternoon creating the different beautiful images. The foot prints still remain as marks on hot sands dunes. The puffy white clouds have disappeared from the sky of Death valley in the afternoon of hot summer. Over seen… there are few artistic photographers recently rest under the shadows of the trees in desert of yellow sands. In the evening the Sun is gradually going down… the shadows, the lines, the sand waves on the sand dunes are being created as impact different beautiful images. Those images are very attractive and exciting to the photography enthusiasts. The “she” sand dunes, displaying their profiles are so wonderfully sensual and attractive they cannot be resisted; but the “she” beauty mash and intensifies the deadly heat of the summer Sun.

I am a field trip scout was mistaken in comparing the heat of summer between the tropics and Death valley, national park of United States. The “she” sand dunes in Death valley were “hot” at this time is 125 F degree plus. I led eight photographers, the oldest 85 years of age, the youngest a girl 25 years of age to go to the middle of Death valley, where we think able to see, to taste, to touch… and photograph the most beautiful curls, contours and the profiles of “she” sand sensual. All of us ready to infiltrate the dunes and the time went by… my master Lee Lan Sieu is feeling too weak and he cannot go further! and he then gave us the warning words, twice: “Don’t go!… stop!… don’t go!…, danger!... danger!..., be careful!… be careful!…”.

None of us listen him at all; we continue to run faster and faster… to the selected points. He then returns to the meeting point to rest, and to wait for these seven crazy artistic photographers disperse in the different directions; with water canteens and cameras load in hands to be prepared quickly attack to photograph “she” sand, and quiet capture the “she-hot” while she wakes up with flying sands…, and we then to withdraw quickly because the magnetic of the “she” heat. But, we were falling into her lovely sand-traps!

She ambushed.

Each of us gradually disappeared behind the “she” sand dunes, and only our foot prints remain marked on the yellow sand. I stand on a top the highest dune to view the scene. There is a light wind blowing… sand fly lightly… I feel my body sweats greatly, but dries instantly… Camera in hand but I feel cold despite the heat, the air is slight…; it is very hard to breathe. But, Oh!, How beautifully sensual and exciting “she” sand is! I cannot stop! and cannot stop my hand… I pulled trigger of my Hassemblad 2003FCW load with 250 F lens and 203FE load with 50 F lens, I photographed the “she” sand, twice, then I feel my head then grew heavy, my eyes blur…; Qickly, I put my cameras in a poly bag and zipped complete and put it in my back pack, now I knew, I fell beside the legs of “she” sand dunes. Perhape, I was being purnished for photographing the “she” nude.

NguyenKimThanh, one of my students had followed me in climbing over the “she” sands’ bosoms to find a location to photograph. He saw me fall into the foot of the “she” sand dunes. But he cannot rescuse me on time before he succumbs to the heat. He craws to me… slaps my face… pour water in my mouth, and cried; then we both pass out. When we awaken and thirsty; we found no water left in the canteen. The sky is going to dark…; the two of us walked step by step together follow the map direction to go to the meeting point with other photographers.

My Godness! the other crazy artistic photographers had passed out at locations nearby until none were left to photography the “she” sand dunes. Worse, none were left to rescuse those who fell! or were there? NguyenNgocHanh, 75 years of age, a former colonel, airborne rangers, South Vietnam Air Bone, who has much experienced in the battle field, told me that:”when he felt the strange heat in the middle of desert, he recognized that the danger hidden in the hot attraction of “she” summer”. He did call all colleagues but he only hears his echoes.” When no one answered his calls…, he immediately withdrew to the edge of route then passed out on the shoulder of road near the south entrance of Death valley. It was so wonderful lucky that in the late evening, a passing tourist car crossing the Death valley area found and rescused NguyenNgocHanh, and took him to the park ranger station nearby. The evening-tide passed quickly… when none returned to the meeting point, my master LeeLanSieu has tears in his eyes…. and that night we were rescused by Ms. Melody K. a park ranger of Death valley, including ambulances and choppers. Sunny W.K. Lee from Hong Kong was the last rescused at about 22:30 hrs. All of us were brought to the restaurant of Death valley to recover by the ranger officers.

In a moment under the yellow light in the restaurant, I suddently catch the sparking blue eyes of Ms. Melody K. looking at me… In my mind, I think she was asking me “who is your group leader?”, and she maybe gave me a ticket! but not perhaps, Ms Melody K. having seen me very weak; therefore, she takes a good care of me; she forces me to drink about two galon of water and she recommends that the photo group and I should stay at the Death Valley’s motel for overnight resting. She also ask me about our photographic trip to the middle of Death valley for her record only, she said. Soon, the ambulances, the choppers returned to their station after she notifies them, that we were recovered safely. She also feels that my colleagues and I are now healthy and in good condition, she said.

The voice of Ms. Melody K. is so sweet and warm; her sounds bring our hearts and minds into the strange images as sweet spirit springs off the Death Valley’s angels. The feelings of the crazy artistic photographers… the taste of spirit angels seem like the magic of the beautiful curls, the contours, the lines, the profiles of the “she” sensual sand dunes, or the magic waves of the “she nude” in the Death valley that follow the scenes, the images of lovely isolation and romantic for photography enthusiasts. It is so wonderful and fun photography… neither believes… nor; It is very hard to forget this photo session!

Soon, after all were well, Nguyen Kim Thanh is one of my students told to other friends that: “The eyes of master Tony Le Kim Thuan were rolled back in his head, it is so scared me…”, and then he made a joke to colleagues that: “I may haven been invited to sleep and have fun with “she” sand dunes as an overnight forgiveness and might be forever…”. By mid-night we left the Death valley and following photo schedules that took our group through northern to southern California in order to finish the field trip, photo session. The artistic photographers very often have many different and dangerous adventures during their photography trips… However, the miracle images of this story will never be forgotten in my memories. The Images Colleague Society and I are sincerely thank and grateful to Ms. Melody K. a park ranger officer of the Death valley and unknown tourist car for saving our lives!

The two images that I have photographed at the Death valley in this photography session have been processed and printed. The images are most beautiful and wonderful to me! I love it. This is not perfect pictorial print; but to me, it is a great valued and remarkable as a “souvernir” on my mind. Survival in the life of photographic arts in America, my second home land, where I was now being thought that: “These images are wonderful and truly live in art for me forever”. The best of the Death valley image print were an enlargement of 24 x 30 inches, it is hanging in the photo display room at my home. I enjoy and take good care of it every day… but I cannot find a true title for this image.

Day by day, in the evening there is a slight rain… the fresh Autunm come by…, my lovely daughter is playing on her piano a great song, “Melody of …”, that magic music moves me in rememberance Ms. Melody K. a young lady with blue eyes… Melody K.!... Oh!... Melody!... I am so happy! It is recalled my memories: “Melody is a sound of miracle angels; A sound of the magical music rithym; A wild named… the calling named of a young beautiful lady of Death valley; Melody is either resonances of arts, of artists, or in which the philosophy of its nature characteristic is happening, appearing, and occupying the heart of strange images with the practical situation between the “She” a calling named “Melody” is a syllable synonym matched with my “Image” printed. Therefore, I think that I, myself will give premisson to ask her through my mind… that may I able to use her lovely named “Melody” for calling the name of my lovely “image” title: “Melody of Death Valley”.

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