After coming down with pretty much the worst sickness of my life for the past seven days, I’m finally starting to feel a bit normal again. Not completely better, but more so than before. I’ll be taking it easy in New York for the next few days before flying back to Hanoi on Saturday morning. Don’t expect anything on this end of things for at least a week or so, maybe longer. I need to take a bit of a break and reevaluate. I’m tired and worn pretty thin right now. So until then.
Here are a few more images from this weekend’s Buffalo Fighting Festival in Do Son. I’m happy with some of the photographs, but I’m definitely missing pieces of the entire story, like the actual fights and the final act of killing the animals. Which is a shame. Because of the crowds, I ended up spending most of my time behind the stadium, near the makeshift stables, where different teams were keeping their animals.
The disconnect between care and carnage is one of the stranger things about the festival. I would see teams and owners staying with their buffaloes, washing them down and keeping them calm while they were backstage, only to lead them, to much applause and fanfare from the crowds, straight into the fighting ring. Not even the winners survive the day. In fact, their meat is the most sought after in the end.
I spent the weekend in scenic Do Son for the annual Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, along with photographers Julian Abram Wainwright and Justin Mott. I’m a bit busy right now preparing quotes, photographing an artist’s studio, finding a suitable suitcase for my trip back home and trying to wrap my brain around and sort out some of the things I saw this weekend, but hopefully over the next few days I’ll get more of the photos edited to put up on the blog, along with a better description of the festival and the culture and reasons behind it.
The images above are of the ticket line outside the main gates. Line might be the wrong word to use here. Unsurprisingly, Justin and I never made it to the front of the queue. We didn’t even try.