Snapshots from Vietnam by Yusuf Hashim
Last week we returned from a PhotoSafari in Ha Giang, which is Vietnam’s northern most province, sharing a border with Yunan, China. Not fully opened to foreigners yet, its the best time to go. People here are mainly ethnic minorities like the Dais, Daos, Ha Mongs, etc. Ha Giang is a photographer’s paradise. Its further north than Sapa and the area is not yet fully opened to tourists because the porus Chinese border is so close. Unlike in Sapa where the Hmongs demands a dollar if you take their photos, the local people in Ha Giang are very hospitable, and they will welcome you into their homes. That’s probably because we went there with some local Vietnamese friends. Nevertheless, you can shoot pictures like these in Ha Giang. In fact this photo was shot in the home of this Red Dao couple, who even offered us tea. I cant draw and I cant paint, but I like the work of past masters of the chiaroscuro effect, beautifully painted by the likes of Raphael,Caravaggio, Rubens, etc…. Here I’m pitifully trying to copy their style with my little camera….
Carrying on with the Chiaroscuro theme of using directional light to mould your subjects, here’s a shot of a Vietnamese girl playing a traditional Vietnamese instrument made with Bamboo. Perhaps someone can tell me the name of this instrument. I was walking through the village of an ethnic group in Vietnam, and as I passed a house I heard a beautiful haunting sound like that of a bamboo Angklung. I looked through a half opened door and saw this girl playing this strange instrument. The music was beautiful, and she was bathed in the directional light of a window behind her…
This is how the locals enjoy their Pho Hua Noodles …….on a low stool in a dark, side alley from a push cart hawker. I was attracted to this scene by the in-congruence of the poster advertising a local beer. Its a juxtaposition of sorts. Modernity in traditional surroundings.
I was shooting in a Vietnamese market one fine morning when I chanced upon sunlight playing beautifully on this wire-cage of ducks destined for the cooking pot. All that was left was to think of a unique perspective. So I elected to shoot them from directly above. By the time you see this picture, they would already have become some family’s lunch or dinner. Have you ever stopped and imagined how many ducks and chickens and pigs and cows and sheep are slaughtered daily in order to feed humans? Vietnamese Peking Duck, anyone ?
We woke up very early one morning to shoot the sunrise. On the way to the location we drove through a very foggy mountain village…..
If you would like to shoot pictures like these, keep a lookout for PhotoMalaysia’s PhotoSafari trips. We’ve been going to Vietnam every year for the last few years, and each time we go, the experience and the photos that we bring back, is completely different. Here are some PhotoMalaysia members shooting the foggy and mysteriously haunting Dai Ninh lake near Dalat in Central Vietnam.