I’m just back from an amazing time on assignment for Sula Clothing’s AW2014 collection. We went to Mai Chau, in the mountains and valleys of northern Vietnam. Time and again, Alison and co. prove to be among my favorite clients–always willing to try new things and travel to new places and take risks that usually, but not always, pan out. Here’s one picture from the trip. With many more to come. Buy her clothes HERE. They’re gorgeous.
After the photography opening at The Bui Gallery a few weeks ago, the above image was pulled from the walls on fears of censorship issues and violations of Vietnamese law. And pedophilia concerns. Maybe. I think. Though that isn’t the kind of thing that gets talked about in Vietnam, in my experience. All of it’s a gray area at best. I’m happy that the image got to hang for the opening, though it’s a bit frustrating to see it pulled down only a few days later, along with a photograph from fellow exhibitor Jamie Maxtone-Graham, all because too many local journalists and media agencies were coming in and asking questions. A little controversy should be a good thing. Asking questions should be a good thing. Art, whether you like it or not, should be a good thing.
Of course on my end I fully stand by the gallery’s decision to remove the image from the show. Their necks are on the line much more than mine. I disagree with the much larger picture, the one that has nothing to do with us much smaller beings. So what do you think about this kind of imagery? Is it exploitative or wrong or disgusting? Does it violate some innate sense of privacy? I’m not sure that it matters whether or not I had permission to take the photograph. It’s on a wall. Permission or not. Right or wrong. We don’t always have the luxury of knowing every story behind every image. I’m just curious. Maybe there’s no reaction at all?
Just a few pictures that I like matched up together for the moment. It’s Christmas Eve here. 8:42:16am. I’m on my way out to give gifts to orphans, go door to door caroling, present imported Christmas trees to high-ranking officials and spread fake snow all around Hoan Kiem Lake. Or I’m eating peanut butter off of a spoon, leaving to pay bills and then printing a few photographs to look over. You decide.
Happy holidays all. Off to Bangkok on the 26th for a few days. Going to watch Avatar in 3D at one of those classy VIP theaters. Color me excited.
Plans were to head out to Tam Dao village for a few days early this week, but a few things came up so I’m sticking around Hanoi for now. Maybe this weekend I’ll get into the mountains and get a few more shots for a rice farmers piece I’m trying to put together. We’ll see. Otherwise, there’s lots of miscellaneous work coming in and I’m trying to get a few submissions in place and send off a recent edit to my stock agency, Glasshouse Images. Busy is good.
Swimming in local ponds and lakes and other waterways is a popular sight across Vietnam and all of Southeast Asia, and it almost always makes for good photography. All you need to do is wander off the main highway in most rural villages and towns and get lost for a few minutes and you’re bound to happen across a group of children splashing around, cooling off from the midday sun.
The pictures above are from two separate spots off the road out to Mai Chau. They feel like a nice introduction to the weekend. If the rain stays off tomorrow, I’ll be back down beneath Long Bien Bridge, putting the final touches on that project for the next few weeks, and then on Monday and Tuesday I’m off to the quaint little hill town of Tam Dao, a few hours outside of the capital. Should be fun.