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On the second issue of Andro's Bizarre Adventures, Andro Mangubat narrates how he explored different genres to document his trip to Vietnam


Vivid Vietnam - Exploring other genres in Ho Chi Minh City

                Travel is one of the broadest forms of photography because different photographers use various genres to document their journeys. In my case, I best tell stories through landscape photography. Capturing the geography establishes the relationship between the traveller and the place. Through my photography, viewers get to immerse themselves in my adventures as if they were in my shoes.

                However, without any vast sweeping landscapes in Ho Chi Minh City, I had to explore different genres to document my trip to Vietnam. Right at the center in District 1, I was expecting to shoot more street photography along with some cityscapes. The challenge was making sense of the urban landscape with everything going on from the tall buildings to the stampede of motorcycles plowing through the roads.

                Walking around the city center, I photographed interesting people such as pedestrians walking through a red light like a boss and the brave window washer at the Bitexco Financial Tower, Saigon’s very own Spider-Man.

                With the popularity of Vietnamese food, I made sure to take a few photos since the dishes were so well presented. I was glad that the food tasted as good as it looked.

                In contrast to the modern skyscrapers, various historical buildings featuring French Colonial architecture could be found such as the City Hall, Saigon Central Post Office and the Saigon Municipal Opera House.

                Aside from being a former French Colony, the country is best known for the Vietnam War. Destinations such as the Cu Chi Tunnels and Independence Palace tell its history from the victor’s perspective. In spite of this, they are a sobering reminder of the horrors of war. The rise of color television along with photojournalism allowed people around the world to see the atrocities and violence as it happened in great detail. The thousands of photos and artifacts in the War Remnant Museum actually made the experience even more depressing than my visit to Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany later in 2018.

                Looking at the bigger picture, Vietnam is a nation no longer tied down by its past, but has not forgotten about it either. What was once a war-torn country is now a rapidly developing state in Southeast Asia. Even though I didn’t shoot the kind of photos I usually want, I was able to successfully capture my experience and tell the story of Vietnam through my photography.


Andro's Bizarre Adventures is an ongoing article by Andro Mangubat that is released monthly in PhotoNation magazine. Stay tuned for the next episode where he will share his experience documenting his trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


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