My fourth, and most ambitious Vietnam photo book, Vibrant Vietnam, will be available in bookshops throughout Vietnam in ONE MORE WEEK!!!
My third Vietnam photo book, Hanoi Panorama, will be in bookshops throughout Vietnam in ONE MORE WEEK!!!
I was thrilled this week to travel to Hanoi for the printing of my two new Vietnam photo books, Hanoi Panorama and Vibrant Vietnam. Both are hard cover books of 150 pages the shooting for which took place over the last 18 months.
Hanoi Panorama is a collection of panoramic images of the national capital while Vibrant Vietnam covers the country from north to south covering the main tourist destinations.
Both books as well as five bound postcard sets will join my first two books Hoi An Panorama and Saigon Ca Phe and will be in Artbook and Tribook bookshops, as well as other good bookstores throughout Vietnam by the end of April.
Almost exactly a year ago I began a project to concurrently shoot two new photo books on Vietnam. One, a book of panoramic images in Hanoi, the other a travel book covering Vietnam from North to South.
I began shooting in Hanoi last summer in 44 degree heat, then travelled to Halong Bay and the mountains around Sapa before heading south in a succession of trips to cover the main tourist hotspots.
I returned to Hanoi last week to finish shooting for both books with a series of photo's on Tet in Hanoi. Thankfully the temperatures were more pleasing, around 15 degrees.
When shooting a lengthy project like this it's is always nice to end on a high note and the Tet (Lunar New Year) Fireworks over Hanoi's iconic Hoan Kiem Lake provided the setting. The lake was packed with thousands of people eager to see in the new year and the atmosphere was electric.
This was my first time shooting fireworks and I needed a good shot to close out the Hanoi section of the book. The first frame that I made that night is below. I made the photograph, looked on the LCD screen on the back of the camera and breathed a sigh of relief.
Hopefully both books, Hanoi Panorama and Vibrant Vietnam, together with a number of bound postcard sets from my travels, will be on bookshelves by the end of March.
I visited the Con Dao Islands in the East China Sea recently as the next to last stop for my current travel book project. The Con Dao group is made up of 15 small islands, with only the main island, Con Son, being inhabited. Con Son Island and Con Dao town (getting confused yet?) is easily the least Vietnamese place that I have visited in Vietnam. Beautiful scenery from lush green mountains to deserted white sand beaches coupled with the total lack of traffic, hawkers selling trinkets and noise, make this a unique place in Vietnam.
Con Son has a weighty history as it was used as a prison island by the French in colonial times and then by the American's/South Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Around ten thousand prisoners died on the island over a period of two centuries and many Vietnamese believe that the island is haunted.
Con Son is a super photogenic place and one that I hope to revisit soon.
I have been super busy this year photographing two new photo books on Vietnam and have spent a ton of time on the road traveling and shooting the country from north to south. I'm super excited to have only two stops to go until the photography will be finished and then it is down to writing text and editing photos. Both books will be published shortly after Tet (February) 2018.
The biggest takeaway from my travels this year is just how quickly Vietnam is transforming and developing. Places that I visited only a few years ago are now barely recognizable in many cases. If this is a country on your "bucket list" I suggest getting here sooner rather than later.
Below are a few images from my most recent location, Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc certainly meets the "rapid change and development" category.