Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Saigon Street Portraits

I like taking people pictures more than any other kind of photography.  I’m always on the lookout for an interesting face or a striking attitude.  These pictures might not be street photography in the strictest sense, since I tend to ask permission before taking a shot, but they’re portraits of people I encountered on the street, so I’ll call them street portraits.  I try not to get too caught up with labels and genres.

To take people pictures that I’m happy with, I have to be in the right mood.  I try to establish some kind of connection with a person when I’m taking their picture, even if it’s just through nodding and smiling.  Sometimes, everything clicks, and I can’t wait to get home and look at the pictures on the laptop.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen, and I feel like throwing away my camera.  I generally find that the pictures I most enjoy taking are the ones that turn out the best.

These portraits were all taken in Saigon over the last couple of months.

This tailor was hard at work outside, near the bus station in Cholon.

This man runs a shoe shop in Cholon. I showed him his picture and he smiled a little sadly and said, “I’m very thin.” I couldn’t really argue with him.

With her broad smile and pleasant demeanour, she’s not a typical taxi driver.

These two lovebirds are music students, practising in the park after class.

18 Responses to “Saigon Street Portraits”

  1. Jody and Ken

    Great shots. You must have a talent for establishing a rapport with your subjects quickly. Just out of curiosity are you using the 50mm 1.4 or the 1.2? (I’m going to be really impressed in you’re using the 1.8!) Thanks. Ken

    • Jon Sanwell

      Thanks! I use the 1.4 – the 1.2 is way out of my price range. Your website has made me hungry – some great food shots and recipes there. I wish I’d known aboout the Mexican hangover cure a couple of days ago.

  2. gargupie

    i love to photograph people, too; though not everyone is generous enough to be photographed.

  3. volcman

    great portraits. i also like the colors of the photos. do you get them in post processing?

  4. Todd Materazzi Photography

    Portraits are so hard and you portrayed many techniques in color and black/white that make solid photographs. Thanks for sharing

    ~Todd Materazzi


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