NYT | Vietnam & China Trade

Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 01

Last week I was up near the Vietnam-China border, in Lao Cai, a town better known as the entry point for the mountainous old hill station town of Sapa than for being anything whatsoever on its own. Lao Cai isn’t a tourist town. Most travelers pass through on the bus or train and go no further than the station parking lots, there only long enough to scuttle from one air-conditioned mode of transportation to the next. I was there for a grueling two days, battling bad weather and shifty-eyed smugglers and unhelpful border guards. All for a story on border trade between locals in Vietnam and China for The New York Times. You can read the story in the link. And here are some image outtakes.

Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 02
Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 03
Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 04
Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 05
Aaron Joel Santos New York Times Vietnam 06

Greetings From New Delhi

Sula AW2015-1

Fashion Photography | New Edits

It’s always good to look at old photographs with fresh eyes. You find new favorites and new ways of seeing old ideas. And maybe those old ideas become stepping stones for new ideas. I don’t know. I guess I’m just saying it’s nice to look at old images. Time is a great editor. Distance a wonderful tool that we don’t use often enough. So here are a few older photographs. I’ve just arrived in New Delhi, India, for a fashion shoot with Sula Clothing, and I’m trying to find some inspiration while avoiding outdoor temperatures equivalent to low-grade oven settings. Maybe that’s why I’m liking this dusty and faded sun-soaked feel right now.

Tokyo Calling

I’m off to Tokyo for a few days for a friend’s birthday. Very excited to get lost amidst the wires and alleys and skyscrapers and general chaos of the city. This photo is from a few years ago, in the Harajuku neighborhood. Just a simple street shot. This will be my fourth time to Japan and Tokyo and it never feels less exciting than the first.

Sneak Peak | Vietnamese Bride

0515 AJS Yen & Tony Hyatt Danang-809

Ode to Hanoi

Travel Photographs from Vietnam

Hanoi was always an easy place to love. A sense of history and a culture that slowly but surely began to embrace change and modernity. Chaos and charm in equal measures. A coldness that opened to warmth at the smallest provocation. Crumbling walls on ancient temples and less ancient French villas. Smiles and leers and sideways glances. Streets that smelled of petrol and burning things. Wet markets where the din of the street sellers drowned out most other conversation. At times the capital would be plagued by gray skies, but when the sun broke and shone and lit up all the yellow walls like so many gilded golden aisles, there was nothing more magical.

I lived in Hanoi for seven years and I wouldn’t take back a single moment. But now there are other cities and horizons to explore. Other towns to unearth and get lost in. Other countries to discover just as intimately as the one I’ve called home for so long now. So here’s an ode to Hanoi. A song for everyone. A long and winding visual journey through my time there. I’ll miss it but maybe you only ever miss the things you hold closest and most dear.

Fashion Photography in Vietnam
Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits
Grilled street food in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Conical Hat & Smoke
Hanoi Travel Photography 07
Urban Farming and Development in Vietnam
Aerial views
A young girl in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Hanoi Travel Photography 12
Exercising in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits
Hanoi Travel Photography 15
Hanoi Travel Photography 16
Hanoi Travel Photography 17
Fishermen at sunset on West Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Architecture in Hanoi
Hanoi Travel Photography 20
Hanoi Travel Photography 21
Urban Farming and Development in Vietnam
Hanoi Travel Photography 23
Vegetables for sale in Hanoi, Vietnam.
An elder Vietnamese woman speaks to a crowd in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Banana flower salad in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hanoi Travel Photography 27
Hanoi Travel Photography 28
Passengers at the train station in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Southeast Asia Portraits

Travel Photography | Ho Chi Minh City

A view over Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from Bitexco Tower.

For all of my travels in Southeast Asia, I always come back to Vietnam. It can be hard to pin down at times, what exactly I love about it. A certain kind of madness and awkward beauty maybe. Its unhinged chaos barely concealed beneath a veneer of wide-eyed youthfulness. The filth, the fun, the fleeting remembrance of recent history. Absolutely mind-bogglingly delicious food. Everything and more really. So it’s always exciting to have an assignment in one of the nation’s major cities. To traipse around with a camera in my hand and a loose agenda and nothing but crowded roads and plates piled high before me. So for now, here are some images taken on assignment with Singapore Airlines, for their inflight magazine. You can see the published story here as well: Ho Chi Minh City’s Hot Neighbourhoods.

Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 02
Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 03
Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 04
Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 05
Beef pho at Pho Le restaurant in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 07
Saigon Travel Feature Singapore Airlines 08
A dusk cityscape of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from the Air 360 sky bar.


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