Tree, Vietnam

Tree, Reunification Palace, HCMC, Vietnam 2014

I didn’t visit the Reunification Palace while I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, only seeing it when I returned to the country on a flying visit.

The building has a rather theatrical quality, which makes me think of a film set. The gardens, but contrast, are cool, dark and rather inviting, with lots of shade to hide from the sun in. Unusually for me, I took lots of pictures of the trees which all looked unique and characterful. I liked this one best. It has a monumental quality.

Under the Seat, Vietnam

Under the Seat, Vietnam 2009

There was a time, when I used to travel by plane quite a bit, mostly short haul within South-East Asia. Most of the life to be seen was outside the window- hence my hundreds of views from above photos, but sometimes funny moments happened on the plane. My neighbour and I never really did meet. Might have been a character.

Bicycle, Vietnam

District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, 2008

Although the centre of Ho Chi Minh City has an increasingly modern skyline, this changes as you move away and it becomes increasingly low-rise and older fashioned. In the same way, although there are increasing numbers of cars and trucks, most vehicles are motorcycles and occasionally bicycles.

Although this feels like a recent picture to me, I know that it actually 12 years old, so it is historic rather than contemporary reportage. That said, I am pretty sure that I could find something like this if I were back in Vietnam today. But Vietnam is a constantly changing place, so I can’t be sure.

I was going though a sneak photography phase, where I shot largely from the hip, with out appearing to look at the screen. I don’t think the man on the tricycle is fooled.

Technical Details: I was using my Fuji FD30, which is quite a small camera – I think big cameras make you far more conspicuous. It fitted inside my palm so you could only really see the lens between my fingers. If I had covered the chrome with tape would that have made it less conspicuous? Maybe.

Bodybuilding Club, Vietnam

Bodybuilding Club, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010

Happy New Year!

My first post of 2020 – is a sign for a bodybuilding club in Ho Chi Minh City!

I like the strong use of colour and text – I’m not sure they’ve got the proportions quite right, although the varying skin tones are quite impressive. I love a good hand-painted sign.

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2009

Some cities are about bicycles, some are about cars and others are about motorcycles. Ho Chi Minh City is in this later group. You see whole families balanced on top of one machine, farmers carrying produce to market and sometimes Greek columns – probably for a Greek restaurant- carried on the back of a motorcycle .

There is was a book published on this theme “Bikes of Burden” (by Hans Kemp), but I think it spawned quite a few imitators.

River, Vietnam

View of River Through Clouds, Vietnam 2009

On the road at the moment – so this strikes a chord. I don’t enjoy flying, but I do enjoy looking out the window. I believe Julianne Kost (a well-known Adobe person) is the same – I enjoyed a book of her aeroplane window photos.

When I was young, I used to watch aeroplanes flying overhead, wishing that I was on them (this was the 70s – they were probably quite nice). Here I wish I was on the ground, walking through the jungle.

Outside a Cafe, Ho Chi Minh City

Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City 2009

Vietnam is an extraordinary place, full of vibrant colour and drama. I used to love just wandering around and seeing what was going on. They have a strong craft tradition, with many things which we might buy off the peg, being made individually there.

I’m trying to remember where this place is – I think it is close to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. It is another place I found by walking by. As you can see in the photo, the pavement is often a place for leaving a scooter or for peddlers to sell things, not so much a palce for walking.

One of the things I miss, being away for South East Asia, is the abundance of coconuts being sold on the street.

Through the Wall, Vietnam

Trader, Hoi An, Vietnam 2011

What were the chances? I was on a school trip and the hotel we checked into was – opposite a school!

I think it is a very south-east Asia picture, where street traders are more commonplace than the In the UK.

Would a tighter picture with just the trader and the child leaning through the wall have been better? It would have been stronger, but I like the context.