06 March, 2010 | A newlywed couple prepare for a photoshoot at the Botanical Gardens in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

As in China, the newfound middle class and nouveau-riche in Vietnam have ignited a boom in the wedding industry the past few years. Weekends at the park, or by the Opera House, (or other such city landmarks) can see dozens of couples having their engagement photos done at the same time. And some of those outfits are truly spectacular. And hopefully unique.  

06 February 2004 | Boys fishing on the shores of Phu Quoc Island. 

I was lucky to travel to Phu Quoc four times over the past few years. Change here comes a bit slower than to the rest of Vietnam, probably because of the small airport and the fact that islanders the world over tend to appreciate a slower pace of life. And that’s a very good thing. (note: that airport is being replaced soon with a larger capacity one, so get there soon if you haven’t already). 

camavietnam asked: I typed Bia in you search box and got nothing? my question is WTF?

Good point. Searching the archives for the best bia shot. Such a tough choice….

28 October 2002 | A doctor tends to Pham Dang Hieu, who was rushed to the emergency room of Hanoi’s Viet Duc University Hospital with severe head trauma after a motorbike accident. 

This was one of my very first assignments for TIME Magazine, for a story about the high rate of motorbike accidents, head injuries and road fatalities (at the time, I recall 35 deaths / day in Vietnam). It was also on this assignment that I first met American Greig Craft, who started the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to address this problem. I’m pretty sure it was largely due to Greig’s efforts that the Vietnamese government instituted a mandatory helmet law in December 2007. 

06 June 2009 | Spectators watch a V-league football match in Haiphong, Vietnam. 

Vietnamese are mad about football. Mad. Mad. Mad. Mad. It’s awesome. 

dakotaross asked: this is crazy man, I just started a photo blog just like this one but its stills from every I've been in Asia the past two years. I am also living in Vietnam and really admire your shots. You do a great job at capturing this great land.

thanks for checking out the snaps! i’ll check out yours too. 

cheers

j

07 July 2003 | A boatman surveys the water as the sun sets on West Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Going with a Hanoi theme these days, as the city goes bonkers for its 1000th anniversary on 10/10/10. I think this is the way most Hanoians (at least the older ones) want their city to be viewed - traditional, romantic, peaceful…. Sometimes it is those things, but most usually not. It’s frenetic, loud, chaotic, and in its own weird, haphazard, seemingly accidental way, quite modern.  

06 May 2004 | An army veteran tours an old French bunker as Vietnam commemorates the 50th anniversary of the battle of Dien Bien Phu, which saw Vietnamese forces defeat a French outpost and end colonial rule in Indochina on 07 May, 1954.

Although this doesn’t have anything to do with the current Hanoi 1000 Year birthday celebrations, I thought I’d throw out a “very, very old veteran with lots of medals” image, since I’m sure the streets of Hoan Kiem are going to be flooded with them over the next 10 days. Most of me is glad I’m not there for the festivities (there is a massive spike in traffic and a complete inability to access basic goods and services during these kinds of official celebrations), but part of me is a little jealous seeing images from my colleagues coming out. Check out my man Aaron’s snaps of the festivities. 

24 November 2004 | An elderly man carries goods from the market along a bamboo pole to his village in northern Vietnam. 

The was the very last image I made while on a day assignment with GTZ, a German development agency working on sustainable development projects in Vietnam (this project was about access to clean water). I felt this made a very simple but effective closing shot from the series I made that day. Often its the simple ones - where you’re not doing the splits to get an original angle at f1.4 - that work best. 

20 April 2004 | Recovering drug users share buckets of water for a communal bath at a drug rehabilitation centre outside Hanoi, Vietnam, 20 April 2004. Vietnam has an estimated 200,000 people living with HIV, frequently spread by the use of intravenous drugs.

This image is from a series on HIV/AIDS in Vietnam. Usually rebuffed/stonewalled when asking for permission to visit such centres (0506 centers), this was one of the rare moments of accessibility to cover a sensitive topic. On a personal note, this was one of my favourite days working with Sam Taylor, legendary DPA correspondent extraordinaire, West Lake boating aficionado/recording artist and regional boules champion.