A few images I just got developed from the frontier lands of northern Vietnam, in Ha Giang province. This was my third trip to the region, which is one of the most remote areas in all of Vietnam and home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Asia, in this humble photographer’s opinion. Anyway. Check out my website to see more of my ongoing work from Ha Giang and the ethnic minorities that comprise the bulk of the population there. Or, you know, whatever.
The foreboding mountainous landscapes of northern Vietnam are grim and beautiful and mysterious and every time I travel through Ha Giang Province I’m reminded of all of this and more. Last month, I took a road trip there with little more than a great friend, an old motorbike, a few small cameras, and a bag film of expired film. Here’s one quick picture. Blood red and blurry. More to come.
A few weeks back I took a trip to Ha Giang, in the northern reaches of Vietnam, with a few good friends of mine. One was in from Dhaka, and the idea of a multi-day motorbike trek across the nation’s northernmost province was too good of an idea to pass up. So we packed up our camera gear and took the overnight bus out of Hanoi. I traveled light, with just a single bag: a few changes of clothes and my Rolleiflex camera with several rolls of black & white film. I wanted a camera that would force me to be a bit more thoughtful in my compositions. Or at least one that wouldn’t have me firing off hundreds of useless frames over the course of the trip.
It worked. I shot only four rolls in four days. Less than 50 images in all. Here’s a small selection. Mountains, markets, swimmers, and more. If I were making a list of the top 10 things to do in Vietnam, a motorbike trip through Ha Giang Province would probably be number one. And as always, I can’t wait to get back.
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to my last post. I’m glad that my photographs can find a wider audience, and it’s always encouraging to get feedback that justifies and legitimizes your life choices. So yeah. Thank you. To everyone.
As always, I feel like I have a lot to say, and only a small amount of time in which to say it. I’m just back from an assignment in Laos, and I’m off tomorrow evening for a trip to Ha Giang. I love it. It’s easily one of my favorite places in Vietnam, if not the world. And worth every minute of the hassle it takes to get there. I’ll be traveling with a few good friends, and it will be a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively, that I really need right now. I’ve been running around nonstop for the past two months. Yet still, my idea of a relaxing time is running off again to drive through the mountains of northern Vietnam. Hopefully that will never change.
So tomorrow evening I’m off on the overnight bus. I’m going to stand on the border and stare down China. Drink in the cool mountain air. Bathe in sunshine. Let a thousand foreign words wash over me. Spit into the wind. Kick the dust off my boots and move on and on and on and on. It’s important to get away from everything now and again. Even better to do it with friends.
For those interested: here are some of my photographs from Ha Giang Province. All taken with a variety of film cameras. Most developed in my bathroom at home.
It’s always nice to see some personal work end up in print. These images from Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam were recently shown across eight pages in Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia. Telling editors about new work almost always pays off, in one way or another.