A Day in the Life on Cho Lon’s Phung Hung: A street with two personalities.

Nestled in the historic Cho Lon section of District 5, Phung Hung Street runs from the canal along Vo Van Kiet through to Hong Bang. Within its length, the street has two distinct personalities. There is the mostly commercial part, spanning Vo Van Kiet to the broad Hai Thuong Lan Ong and then the more […]

The Quotidian Hẻm Life Along the Railway Tracks in D3

I have made multiple trips up and down the hẻm along the railway from Le Van Sy to capture the moods both during the week and on weekends. As the hẻm serves both pedestrians and motorbikes, navigating the walkways can be challenging on most days. What I discovered was at the intersection of main thoroughfares, […]

The Last of the Hand-Sign Painters in Saigon

The Artistry and Poetics of Nguyễn Thế Minh When I first encountered Nguyễn Thế Minh, I immediately knew I was in the presence of a true artist. His cramped studio in Bình Tân, only a few meters square, was overflowing with cans of paint, soda bottles filled with specially mixed colors and stacks of small […]

Colorful Vietnamese Country Markets

While a guest instructor on my first photo tour to northern Vietnam, I was fortunate to spend a weekend exploring two traditional markets in Lao Cai Province – the Can Cau and Bac Ha fairs. Having arrived in the provincial town of Bac Ha late on a Friday afternoon, we were positioned perfectly to take […]

Grassroots Recycling in Saigon – Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of “Grassroots Recycling in Saigon” The text message said to be ready at 4:30am at my street corner and I would be picked up for the drive to the plastics recycling center. I had been wanting to visit the site for this article and thinking that we had hours of travel ahead, didn’t […]

Grassroots Recycling in Saigon – Part 1 of 2

With plastics claiming much of the headlines worldwide and a major issue in Vietnam, scant attention is thus being paid to other recyclable materials – namely cardboard and aluminum. On any given day, in every neighborhood, local collectors [known as ve chai ] can be seen pedaling bicycles or driving motorized carts, piling on mounds […]

My Fateful Encounter with Muay Thai – Part 2

I arrived with eager anticipation on Sunday, December 29 at the Tao Dan Sports Center for the start of the club matches. A table displayed the trophies and prize belts awaiting the participants, along with luminaries from the martial arts world, including Le Dinh Chuong, the noted Vietnamese kick-boxing champion, who served as chief judge. […]

An Opera Lover’s Introduction to
Cải Lương

“How would you like to see a performance of cải lương — traditional Vietnamese folk opera?” my local friend asked. “Great opportunity for photos, and I think we can go backstage.” Knowing my love of opera and photography, my response was an immediate “yes.” Having grown up and lived in New York City, I attended […]

My Fateful Encounter with Muay Thai – Part 1

I first encountered Muay Thai on a photo assignment in Bangkok a number of years ago, and this graceful, devastatingly lethal martial art has piqued my curiosity ever since. After returning to the United States, I began following the sport via late-night cable TV matches broadcast from Southeast Asia. As part of my deeper exploration […]