Neighborhoods – Ho Chi Minh City Corporate Photography

Last month I was commissioned to document a local community around the offices for one of my corporate clients in Ho Chi Minh City. I must say, I love the idea not just because it helps me keep the lights on, but because when local people visit the offices it will make them feel (hopefully) like the business is part of the local community. I wish I saw more companies in Vietnam developing these kind of ideas for corporate photography rather than the contrived realities normally done of what they wish Vietnam was like. We all live in neighborhoods like these and there is something special about them. When you send a photographer out to capture the local people and places I think the audience will respond better to the honesty and beauty found in their own neighborhood. At least that is my take.

Here are some of the images I captured while wandering around this particular neighborhood for the day. Thanks for looking.

 

Vietnamese TV show Trailer and Program Identity

 

Back in November I was contracted to develop the creative idea, direct, shoot and edit a Trailer and a Program Identity for a Vietnamese TV show about the everyday little things we can do to make life, the environment, pollution ect better.

It took me 1 day for shooting and 1 day of editing after I had an idea on what I wanted to do. Nothing fancy, clean, simple and to the point.

I headed out to get daily life scenes of Hanoi which was done with a mix of timelapse and regular footage. I wanted to show that even though we are all busy and hustling around the city it only takes one moment to make where we live that much better, which is basically what the TV program is about.

Everyone was happy with the results and the Trailer and Program Identity started playing on National TV back in December.

Trailer

Program Identity


 

Calm after the storm

Every year at the end of January or beginning of February, Vietnam is in a chaotic flurry of buying, preparing and tidying up in anticipation of Tet. I hate this time of year and so do most other Expats as the traffic and general feeling of the city is all too stressful.

Yes more than normal.

What I do like is the calm and tranquility that replaces the chaos that was just one week before. This is the first morning of Tet. If you are ever lucky enough to experience it, it would be to experience Hanoi, Vietnam in its true Zen like or Valium induced state. The streets are empty except for the odd straggler here and there. You can hear birds clearly while walking down some of the larger streets in the city like Dai Co Viet. People are in a joyous and festive mood and will let you take photos of them with no problem (big deal for me as the ratio of asking is usually 1/3). All in all, it is really amazing and a joy to experience.

Since most photographers love to take photos or get assignments of the leading up of Tet, I thought why not show the actual first day of Tet and how calm it is and what remained after the chaos has subsided. So I set out at 6 AM and anyone I saw on the street I took a portrait of them. Got to say after 3 hours there were not so many portraits as it was really that quiet.

My first intention was to do this purely with images, but as my time on the street progressed I wanted to capture the sounds I experienced in the hope of helping place you, the audience, next to me in my morning journey. Sorry the sound is not better all I had was my iPhone, but I think it can still put you in the setting

I hope everyone has a great new year. May the year of the dragon bring you luck.

 

2011 EAW Thoughts and Assignment

It has been just over a week since I got back from the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop. I must say I had a great time there and made some really good friends. Recently I was contacted by Wonderful Machine owner Bill Cramer, who was a real pleasure to meet at the workshop. He asked me to write a little bit about my time at EAW and it got me thinking once again about exactly all that I experienced there and what I took away from all the sleepless nights.

I know it might sound cheesy but, an EAW acceptance was something I had strived for ever since I first heard of the workshop. Since I didn’t go to photography school, being accepted was for me, a total a validation of my work from the industries best people. It felt really great when I found out the news. During my time there I made some great new friends I hope meet again in future, listened to amazing speakers and began the foundation for lasting relationships with some of the editorial industries best editors.

One of the most memorable moments of the workshop for me happened after it all ended. I was sitting drinking a coffee the day after and thinking about everything when I realized that EAW was like a team building and bonding experience between photographers, editors and the suppliers that work in our industry. For me, this is a very rare experience and I would imagine it is rare in our industry as a whole to connect to people like you do at EAW. I now can see why many of the editors and organizers of EAW use words like “Family” and “Love” to describe how they feel about the participants and the experience in attending EAW.

I thought to myself at that moment, how often do photographers get to just talk to editors you don’t know, one on one, like a normal person where your not selling yourself? Most of the time when I talk to a editor I know they are very busy and are tired of being bombarded with emails and promos of photographers selling themselves. So to be able to have a normal conversation that wasn’t 5 min long and then later show my work for another 30 min was just amazing.

It was also a great opportunity to meet a lot of the industries suppliers like Anthony Pak from Manfrotto who hooked me up with a bunch of missing parts (I know I owe you a photo. I promise it is coming) and hanging out with J.C. from B&H during my whole assignment day talking about life and of course photography. These are good people who work in the industry and want to help photographers do their jobs. Now that we know each other, I’m sure  i will be a loyal customer to them and they will be happy to help me out in the future.

EAW gave me the opportunity to meet all these great people from all over the industry and connect with them on a personal level and hopefully make new friends in the business.

It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will never forget it. Thanks to all the sponsors, editors, producers, black team and the Adams family for continuing this tradition in pushing and inspiring new generations of photographers.

For me this made my trip from Vietnam very worth while and something I will remember forever.

The photos above and below were from my assignment, which was to shoot downhill mountain biking. On my assignment, I meet 15 year old Taylor who is a fearless pro downhill biker. Needless to say I love what I do and had a great time shooting the sport even if I’m not a “sports” guy. Thanks again EAW. Love you all.