I become so furious after looking at this series of photos by Spanish Photographer David Terrazas, which is introduced by a Modern Met blogger with title “Capturing the Heart of Vietnam”.
I would like to point out a few items first:
1) Black & White mostly used in presenting photos.
2) Old woman with wrinkles, children’s faces, all puzzled with sadness.
3) Country side, cows, Vietnam hat, traditional customs.
Are these your long-lived impression about Vietnam? Yes. The photographer intentionally have the setting in Vietnam’s countryside, that makes everything so familiar to us – still uncivilized, farms, traditional clothing, unpolished faces of poverty. He even used black & white, if we do not think carefully, will naturally bring us a comfortable feeling of OLD and familiarity. We will shout “oh yeah, we know it, it’s Vietnam”.
But how may years ago?
From when you are exposed to photos taken in Vietnam? 20 years ag0? I wondered what year did this photography series was taken. But if the Photographer would like to show us the HEART of Vietnam, he’s either a lousy photographer, or he’s pleasing us by cheating us.
He is trying to provide us with photos which fits in our common knowledge about Vietnam. But IT IS NO LONGER the heart or face of Vietnam! All countries have countryside, even Germany, USA, and France. But to capture their heart, we don’t shoot their people in traditional customs or farming tools.
Vietnam is now one of the most fast developing countries in Asia! If you take a flight to Vietnam, sky-scrappers are all around. If you ask a Vietnamese, how much does those cost, he/she will answer you in ENGLISH, and the price is an amount you civilized people CANNOT afford. Offices and Starbucks are everywhere. Luxurious hotels, famous foreign brands, designers’ garments, people are wearing fashion or in suits.
Farmers? Yes, there are farmers, but they are also coming to city for interviews. Heading to other countries as home assistants, or to work in Macau’s 5-star hotels as service attendants. Vietnam people I see are happy, optimistic, energetic. The turnover rate of companies are high, human resources are moving fast, salaries of Vietnam people, step by step, is climbing high. Corruptions is an important element in current Vietnam culture. Apartments are expensive, they are all concerned like us living in our city.
So don’t be fooled. And learned from it. A good photographer will take his time to learn about a country before shooting and publishing his works. And not just throw something we are familiar with so that we carelessly be pleased.