Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Posts tagged ‘picture of the week’

Cosmopolitan (potw #42)


In order to avoid doing my packing this afternoon, I went for a wander with my camera. I’ve not taken that many pictures in Saigon recently – these pictures of the week have tailed off quite a bit – but I’ve taken a few that I like over the last couple of days. Here’s one of them to be going along with. She sells magazines in District 1.

Later today, I’ll be flying home for Christmas and the New Year. I have five weeks in the UK before coming back to Saigon – briefly – in January.  After that, I’ll be heading off to the next place, though I’m not entirely sure where that will be yet.  First I plan to travel through some other parts of south east Asia for a while.  So this is a kind of farewell to Saigon, but maybe not to Vietnam.

Green (potw #41)

I’ve spent the last week and a bit on holiday with my sister, Kate, who came over from the UK to visit her little brother.  We had a great time in Saigon, Dalat and Hanoi before Kate had to head home last night.  I have a few pictures to add, but I thought I’d start with Mr Green here, seen this morning in Hanoi.

Red (potw #40)

One of the reasons why I went back to colour for my trip north was because of all the greens, yellows and reds I knew I’d come across. If yesterday’s post was all about the green and yellow, today’s is all about the red.  I met this Red Dao (“zow”) mother and daughter in Ta Phin village, north of Sapa.  The family was entertaining a local policeman with rice wine, and they invited me in to join them. The policeman didn’t want his picture taken, and I wasn’t going to argue with him, but the women of the house were happy to humour me.  This shot was taken just inside the side entrance to the house, where they were nicely lit by the sunlight from outside.

Harvest (potw #39)

I’ve just got back from two weeks in northern Vietnam, mostly spent in the hills in and around Sapa and Bac Ha in Lao Cai province, near the Chinese border.  I have a stack of pictures to sort through and I haven’t worked out how I want to present them yet, but I thought I’d start by posting a couple of single pictures of the week.  There’ll be a longer series or two of pictures in the near-ish future.

This shot was taken on a misty, murky afternoon in Cat Cat village, a short walk from Sapa.  The rice harvest was pretty much over by the time I made it up into the hills, but these farmers, for whatever reason, were a little behind everyone else.

Centurian (potw #37)

This sharply-dressed gent was watching the world go by outside his family’s home furnishings store.  He is, according to his neighbour, one hundred years old.  Anyone who reaches that age is going to have seen a lot in their life, but I think that’s especially true of someone who reaches that age in Vietnam.

Dalat: town and country (potw #35)

I spent last week in and around Dalat, in the central highlands of Vietnam.  It reminded me a little of Hanoi in the autumn – it was hot but not humid, and cool in the evenings – but Dalat doesn’t really resemble anywhere else I’ve been here. Dapper gentlemen wear fedoras or berets, while children wrap up warm in woolly hats or balaclavas. The smell of coffee is everywhere – open-front cafes line the streets, and coffee fields surround the town. Lanes and alleyways meander up and down the hillside before leading you somewhere you weren’t expecting or petering out altogether.  Vietnamese tourists arrive by the busload from Saigon and elsewhere.  The town centre lake and the surrounding mountains give the place an Alpine feel, as if a little bit of Austria had been transplanted to Vietnam a hundred years ago and left to fend for itself.

I decided to test myself a little on this trip by only shooting in black and white.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but never really followed through until now.  The change of scene seemed to call for a change of style – black and white landscapes instead of colour portraits.  I’m sure I’ll go back to colour before too long, but I’m hoping that taking black and white pictures for a while will make me think about colour in a different way in future.  I’ve not given up taking portraits – I’ll be posting many from this trip at a later date – but I wanted this first post from Dalat to feature a landscape and a street scene.

More pictures from this trip to follow soon.

A sunny interlude (potw #34)

It’s been a very wet week – even when it wasn’t raining, it felt like it was about to start – but I found a little time during a sunny interlude late on Tuesday afternoon to take a walk round the block and shoot a few pictures.

Later today I’m heading up to Dalat for a week of mountain air and cooler temperatures.  I plan to spend the week walking, reading, napping and taking photographs, probably black and white photographs, as that’s what’s interesting me at the moment.