Vietnam: A Book of Changes

This image is a good example of how photographers have great eyes for an image that can tell a story.  It has a pop art feel to it because of the repeated imagery, like Andy Warhol’s portrait of Chairman Mao.  The other similarity is the iconography of the subject mater.  Since it is a bust, it has that Roman classicism feel to it.  It’s interesting that I find capitalism in the way the art is presented.  Warhol’s pop method elevated our taste for consumerism and fame.  He put it on the same level of as art.  It is a new art form.  I find the language of western image making in the way I see the work.  I like how each sucessive image is reveal and how the yellowing news paper wrapped around the bust second bust which is older then the newer newspaper wrapings of the first bust, seem to convey the passage of time and also to herald in the news of the day, the change of regime and the impact that it will have on the land.  I do remember the requirement to have a picture of Ho Chi Ming on the wall of every house hold.  This idea was borrowed from Chairman Mao.  In the essay, Mitch mention how much change he saw on the subsequent trips to Vietnam.  These pictures were made over a long period of time during the 1990s.  It is my favorite image of the whole book.

Mitch Epstein’s website

When I left Vietnam after my first trip I was relieved to go. The rough roads, the poverty, the Kafkaesque communications with government officials had drained and depressed me. But a year later and again and again, I felt pulled to return to Hanoi. It was and still is a pull I find hard to define. From my journals and letters it is clear that I was wedded to the intense, bittersweet world I encountered there: – Mitch Epstein.


Amerasian Childfind

June 10, 2009

Amerasion Child Find Network is a nonprofit based in Oregon.  There’s a great story in the Asian Reporter about a family reunion.  The then child,   Thu Pham was separated from the father, an American Military Police Officer.  Nearly fourty years later, the family is reunited in Michgan.  Tu heard about the website and contacted Clint Haines, the CEO of Amerasian Child Find.  Mr. Haines then posted the message with photographs of the father on an Army’s 504th Military Police Battalion’s website/forum.