Swirls of colour, sparkles of light and shadow and the interference of cultures are key themes at Italian photographer Maurizio Cofini's ongoing photo exhibit in Hanoi.

The 26-picture collection, entitled Italy-Vietnam: Distant Colours, features a unique view of landscapes and people from various regions of Italy and Vietnam.

It forms part of the Italy-Vietnam 2014 Programme framework and will run at the Casa Italia at 18 Le Phung Hieu Street till November 20.

"I found his photos on popular landscapes in Vietnam interesting and fresh. They include Sword Lake in downtown Hanoi, Tam Coc and Hoa Lu in northern Ninh Binh province and Bac Ha market in northern Lao Cai province," said retiree Bui Quang Anh.

"Sword Lake looks so strange, with the image of the Tortoise Tower in the middle of the lake as seen through branches of trees, while Bac Ha market is simply represented with rolls of colourful wool," Anh remarked.

Cofini told Vietnam News that he has travelled through most of Vietnam during seven visits to the country and preferred travelling along small lanes to capture residents' daily lives.

"I have found an even more peaceful life here than in Italy," he admitted.

Cofini revealed that he always took pictures naturally, with feelings, and had never used photoshop.

Pointing at a photo of Ha Long Bay taken through the rusty window of a fishing vessel, he recalled nearly everything about his night cruise on that bay.

"The ship captain and I spoke to each other a lot, though we did not understand each other," Cofini said. "He taught me to distinguish between sounds of the sea such as wind, waves and fish."

Cofini added that a street corner full of wastewater and rubbish was one of his favourite pictures of Rome.

"An Italian photo critic reminded me about taking pictures of ugly things to imply beauty," he said.

Starting at a young age in theatre work, Cofini befriended a photographer who, by chance, taught him how to take pictures with heart and feelings.

Cofini also admitted that the style of noted 16th century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who used only a source of light to light up various layers of objects featured in paintings, influenced his work.

A winner of numerous awards in Italy, Cofini is a passionate reporter who has travelled many times throughout the Far East and Southeast Asia.

Dedicated to Vietnam, the collection had been displayed in Rome in 2009.

In 2010, another photo exhibit dedicated to Vietnam and Cambodia and entitled "Mosaic of Imagination: Vietnam and Angkor" was likewise shown in Rome.

Also in 2010, the photos were featured in a book of the same name published by Casa Editrice Anicia, an Italian publishing house.-VNA