#POTW HCMC Museum

This Photo of the Week (POTW) comes from the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. It seems most tourists either arrive in Hanoi or HCMC, and travel to the other city. Everyone I met was either going south to north, or north to south. There seems to be an itinerary that most people follow, almost religiously and it includes Da Lat, Ho An, Nha Trang, Ha Long Bay, etc, but mostly keeping out of HCMC. However, I hung out in HCMC and had my own fun. A lot of people I met on the tourist path said that they were so glad to get out of the hustle and bustle of HCMC, but I didn’t mind being there at all. There are plenty of things to see and experience.

One such place that is unhurried, relatively empty, a place out of the rain, really cheap (entry is about 75 US cents or 15,000VNM Dong) is the HCMC Museum. It is the former Vice President’s palace of South Vietnam. Construction completed in 1890 and originally known as Gia Long Palace, it became the residence of the Cochinchina Governor when under French rule (Wikipedia). During the South Vietnam era, it became the Vice President’s palace when the president built something even grander than this (now known as Independence Palace). Gia Long Palace is very grand, very elaborate, and it’s a proper mansion. Far more than what you’d expect the vice president of any country would get, let alone a newly independent former French colony. The entrance way is so grand, that today wedding photographers have a standardised course, images, and a routined array of angles for photographing newly weds. The rooms are so large that most are bigger than my entire apartment. And there’s even a bunker and escape route too connecting to the Independence Palace. Not that it helped in the end. What is really worth seeing, though, is history as told by the winners. It is their history, experienced, written and told by them. The perspective is really different. The building itself has not been well maintained, and so there are walls with paint flakes missing. The former South-Vietnamese Air Force jet fighters on display outside are in serious disrepair, even for display items. Cars out back need renovating, too. However, it is an escape from the city, and something worth experiencing.

This photo, and others like it will be available for licensing very soon at my agent’s portfolio (Asia Photo Connection), and my PhotoShelter portfolio at the Vietnam gallery, and Hieu’s gallery.

A young lady exploring the Ho Chi Minh City Museum (former Vice Presidential palace). Model: Hieu.

A young lady exploring the Ho Chi Minh City Museum (former Vice Presidential palace). Model: Hieu.

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#POTW Ceramics seller in Saigon

This Photo of the Week is of this lady with the most adorable personality. She is physically tiny, and as you can see, her ceramic wares stall is also really tiny. However, she is surrounded by a vast and wonderful collection of pots, cups, you name it. The styles and designs are beautiful. If you happen to find yourself in Vietnam, you can possibly find her in amongst the myriad of stalls at the Ben Thanh Market, Saigon, District 1, of Ho Chi Minh City. Of course, more photos of my Vietnam adventure will be posted in coming weeks to my PhotoShelter Vietnam gallery.

Oh, if you’re a little confused by the city names. The city is a new city, being established by the migrating Vietnamese, as they took over this part of old Cambodia. Then the Chinese came. Then the French merged the sprawling areas and called them Saigon-Cholon. Then the Cholon part of the name was dropped, and Saigon was used to refer to the smaller area and the wider city. Then the communists won the war which ended in 1975, and they renamed the whole city HCMC, but ‘Saigon’ still refers to the central part of HCMC. I think I’ve got that right.

An elderly lady selling ceramic goods in the Ben Thanh Markets, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

An elderly lady selling ceramic goods in the Ben Thanh Markets, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

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The Morning Cafe photo shoot

Here’s a sneak peak preview of what’s to come. This photo shoot was with the great Vietnamese model Bella Vu in The Morning Cafe. A special thanks to TMC for allowing us to shoot there. It was a quiet escape from the bustle of HCMC, where you can enjoy a great cappuccino. If you’re ever in town, you can find The Morning Cafe on Trip Advisor; 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (TMC on Google Maps). The photos will be prepared and uploaded in the coming weeks.

A young lady in a The Morning Cafe in Saigon, Vietnam.

A young lady in The Morning Cafe in Saigon, Vietnam.

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#POTW The Nagoya Domatsuri (street dance competition) 2014

It was on this weekend, but I didn’t go (I was preparing for the Vietnam trip I’m currently on). The Domatsuri (dance festival) is a great spectacular to watch, where typically 200 teams of between 30 to 50 members (it’s a big event) do a highly synchronised dance. The dance is performed on a stage, and a second routine is performed progressing along part of a road in the trendy Sakae shopping district. Many of the dance teams are community groups who enter every year, and typically these teams don’t vary their routines or costumes, which is why I’m a bit lukewarm about the event this year. But there are some teams that are in it to win, and they are truly worth watching. The link to this Domatsuri photo: 20110828_DSC5362.jpg. Past Domatsuri posts, and videos on the YouTube page.

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#POTW Photo of the Week: Summer fireworks

Each and every summer, all over Japan, there are fireworks festivals. Each town or city has their publicly funded display, and tens or hundreds of thousands or more people flock to see them. The fireworks are held in the early evening, and Japanese people say the explosions somehow helps them feel cooler, and less hot from the day. I quite get the relationship, except to explain it away as the cooling evening and getting out of the house helps them cool down. Anyway, here’s the first photo of the week in a long time.

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#WPD2014 Quote from Robert Capa

IT’S TODAY! The 175th year of photography is today! Clink your champagne glasses and click your shutters!

This month JapanesePhotos.Asia celebrates the 175th anniversary of photography. For discounts on certain photo purchases see the announcement on the 1st August, and join in with the fun. Wikipedia’s entry for Robert Capa (damn autocorrect changing his name).

Photography quotes for the 175th year of photography.

Photography quotes for the 175th year of photography.

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World Photography Day #WPD2014

Tomorrow, 19th August is World Photography Day. Though it’s an annual thing, this is the 175th year of photography, so it deserves special celebration. Photography contributes so, so much in our daily lives. We use it for sharing photos of family, for memory keepsakes of holidays and good times with friends, weddings, birthdays, for communicating in media, documenting crime scenes, documenting historical events, selfies, food porn, instagramming, and so, so much more. Photograph making devices are now so prolific, and are no longer confined to large, expensive, single function devices. Cameras can be found on computers, tablets, phones, door bell security systems, movie studios, handheld devices, drones on farms and military applications. Cameras are now so embedded in our daily lives that it is now hard or impossible to imagine our lives without them. In short, our society loves photography.

A model, Brooke, I’ve worked with before. This photo is available for licensing.

Be sure to check on discount coupons for photo licensing and purchases.

 

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