Recently, I watched ‘An Unlikely Weapon:  The Eddie Adams Story’ on Netfix.  We’ve all seen the powerful but gruesome image of the execution but I’ve never stop to research the story behind it or the photographer who took it.  (It has wrongly been credited here.  War photographer is also another great story about James Natchwey which I also watched on Netflix.  They may have pulled it from instantly watch by now.)  There is a story behind that.  In fact, the executioner is now living in the States selling pizza.  Eddie went to visit the joint and still despise him.  Supposely, it was the image that stop the war.  Eddie is such a humble guy that he dismisses such notion.  It haunted him for years, probably until the end.  Dave Navarro has it enlarged and pin to his room.


“The most powerful weapon in the world has been,

and can be a photograph.  Military weapons can

only destroy.  Cameras, in the hands of photographers

with hearts can capture Love-Hope-Passion-Change

lives and make the world a better place…and it only

takes 1/500th of a second.  Life goes on-We photograph

it.  But its much better with Love.”

— Eddie Adams

Related post:  hanee loves photography  Eddie Adams


Can Tho

February 8, 2010

Okay where to start? First Friday is a great art scene in the SE part of Portland. I was at the 23 Sandy for the artist reception. The place was packed. I got to see my friends and my teacher!
I stood near my image ‘Indian Point’ to answer questions. Near me stood Josh Hobson’s and his image “Coming, Going, Coming.”
I asked Josh where that was taken and when he said ‘Can Tho’, I could not believe my ears. That’s where I grew up I tell Josh this. Josh was listed as a non-portland artist because he was just a few weeks ago. His picture arrived in Portland before he did. Josh had travel with his wife in Vietnam and Korea (to teach English). Portland has welcomed Josh in a big way because his other image is showing at the same time at the NewSpace Center for photography. (The show is call Carnival.)

I had to show Chris Bennett’s picture: ‘View from Hart Mountain’. I thought it was quiet a coincident and thought I make a post of it. The show will be on until the end of February.

Indian Point

January 5, 2010


This photograph is now in a group show.

Over this last summer of 2009, I’ve been going on a lot of hikes along the Columbia River Gorge region between Oregon and Washington forests and mountains. I go with my friends who are expert hikers. They are my guides. They have seen incredible views of  St. Helen, and other Colorado range. I’m always amazed that they rarely photograph the views. I climb the hills for the views. I’ve been lead up to Indian Point’s secret spot. Some of the trails are hidden like this particular spot of Indian Point where I took this photograph. I gaze down and out towards the mighty Columbia River. My guides points to the opposite side of the River to Dog Mountain’s peak. The ground below has signs of modern industries, cars, and damns. There are signs that the landscape is changing. I try to imagine the time when the Native Americans looked out to these majestic land before industrialization. These are some of the most sacred spots. On Silver Star Mountain trails, there is a path through huckleberry berries and brambles which leads to a sacred spot. The Native Americans build a shallow pit made of rocks. The initiate will then lay in the pit for a day perhaps night and wait for a vision. For me, the hike is a meditation of breaths, and exhaustion of body and mind. I carry my problems with me in my head and try to unpack them along the way, to work them out and wait for insights. Dropping a problem here and there and picking up new vision, insights and preserve them in my camera. I always carry a camera or two with me on these excursions. The images show a privilege view and make my physical exertion worthwhile. I carry these visions to the flat land and share them with my friends. I’m always proud of them and know that someday I won’t be able to climb any more and will be glad to have the hard earned views. Photography allows me to capture the vision, a modern invention to express what has always been inside for those who choose not to share.
Wall Space Gallery
wall space seattle ND10 Down & Out Catalogue

The blog post regarding show is

Three Journals

November 20, 2009

Three Journals

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

And a Corona Four typewriter in the background.

Ricoh GXR

November 10, 2009

Well, I think it’s a brilliant idea. The sensor should be coupled with the lens. It makes sense if it’s going to be digital. The sensor won’t get dirty this way. The black and White back is a nice idea. The leading companies like Leica, Canon, and Nikon have their legendary lenses that seem to hold back camera designs. The Leica M9 is a good example. Ricoh has some heritage in older equipments but is not held back by it. In the future when sensors improves, the body still works and if you want to shoot with older sensor for a retro look that’s cool too. It’s like going back to the film cameras of the 80s or 70s.

In fact this should have been the very first design of the digital camera because the sensor technology has improved increasingly. This would have save us some money and let us upgrade only the lens and sensor and allow us to get used to the body and it’s menus and buttons. It seem a little bit too late in the game because sensors are so superb now. Ideally, the new camera should have interchangeable sensor separate from body and lens, like the medium format camera such as the Hasselblad. This is why it’s possible to shoot with a 50’s Hasselblad with the new digital back. It’s a good start to move away from film based camera of the SLR. But this move seems like it could harken back to the medium format cameras.

I would thought that the next progression is for an interchangeable sensor.  It doesn’t seem far fetch.  It makes sense to have the body separated because the digital technology has maxed out at 3 inch for the display screen.  Any bigger would be bulky and 3 inches seems the right size to view images.

The digital view finder also flips to 90 degrees which is like the medium format style of shooting at waist level.

Update:  Recently, Ricoh have added the module which allows the Leica M Mounts.  So the resurgence of the GXR is back.  The only reason I knew about the M mount module is through Tomas Van Houtryve.  National Geographic asked their photographer what’s in the bag.  Here is his gear.  His book on Lao is here:

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.