Photographer pursues Saigon for 10 years to feel its pulse

By Quynh Tran   September 22, 2019 | 07:00 pm GMT+7

Tran The Phong’s work imparts a sense of timeless enchantment to the most ordinary scenes of daily life in Saigon.

From 2008 to 2019, Phong, 50, has been exploring every nook and cranny to compose Saigon’s Melody of Life (Nhip song Sai Gon). The melody, presented recently at an exhibition in Saigon, made viewers see the city with an aura not easily discernible when they are caught in its hustle and bustle.I want to record not only the nostalgic impressions of Saigon, but also recognize the changes and growth of the landscape here. My aim is to show viewers how dynamic and affectionate the city is, Phong said. Vietnams sidewalks are typically used for much more than just walking and Saigon is no exception. The picture above was taken on Bui Vien Street of District 1 in 2018. 

From 2008 to 2019, Phong, 50, has been exploring every nook and cranny to compose Saigon’s Melody of Life (Nhip song Sai Gon). The melody, presented recently at an exhibition in Saigon, made viewers see the city with an aura not easily discernible when they are caught in its hustle and bustle.

"I want to record not only the nostalgic impressions of Saigon, but also recognize the changes and growth of the landscape here. My aim is to show viewers how dynamic and affectionate the city is," Phong said. 

Vietnam's sidewalks are typically used for much more than just walking and Saigon is no exception. The picture above was taken on Bui Vien Street of District 1 in 2018. 

Tourists walk past makeshift shops and residences on another part of the sidewalk life on Bui Vien Street in 2016.

Tourists walk past makeshift shops and residences on another part of the sidewalk life on Bui Vien Street in 2016.

The 100-year-old Ngoc Hoang (Jade Emperor) Pagoda was built in honor of the supreme Jade Emperor or King of Heaven. It is one of the most spectacular and important shrines in the city, covering an area of 2,000 meters on Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It was also where former US President Barack Obama visited during his trip to Vietnam in 2016.

Two devout residents pray at the 100-year-old Ngoc Hoang (Jade Emperor) Pagoda, which is dedicated to the supreme Jade Emperor or King of Heaven. It is one of the most spectacular and important shrines in the city, covering an area of 2,000 meters on Mai Thi Luu Street in District 1. Former US President Barack Obama visited the shrine during his trip to Vietnam in 2016.

Fly pass the sun picture took the most of the photographer’s time. He spent four consecutive days on capturing the right moment.

"Fly pass the sun" picture took the most of the photographer’s time. He spent four consecutive days on capturing the right moment.

The care and concern of Saigon residents for others can be seen on many streets where water containers offer free iced tea for parched throats.

The care and concern of Saigon residents for others can be seen on many streets where water containers offer free iced tea for parched throats.

Street vendors work around one of Saigon’s iconic buildings, the Notre Dame Cathedral as there are many tourists and visitors in this part of Saigons downtown.

An iconic symbol of daily life walks past an iconic architectural and religious monument of Saigon, the Notre Dame Cathedral in District 1.

Merchants from Mekong Delta stack their boats with fresh flower at Binh Dong port in District 8 for the occasion of Lunar New Year when every house fancies spring flowers. The picture was taken in 2015.

Farmers sail their boats laden with flowers and flowering plants from Mekong Delta to the Binh Dong Port in District 8 during the Tet, or Lunar New Year festival season in 2015.

Thien Thuong, 90, has been a tailor for 70 years. His shop on Le Van Sy Street was among the most well known ones in Saigon in the 1950s.

Thien Thuong, 90, has been a tailor for 70 years. His shop on Le Van Sy Street was among the most well known ones in Saigon in the 1950s.

Duong Van Ngo, 89 has spent 30 years of his life connecting people with words at Saigon’s Central Post Office, next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Known as the Letter Man, he has put his fluency in English and French to write letters for people or help them translate their Vietnamese writings into these languages. There used to be a few Letter Men working in the post office, but Ngo is the last man writing.

Duong Van Ngo, 89 has spent 30 years of his life connecting people with words at Saigon’s Central Post Office, next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Known as the Letter Man, he has put his fluency in English and French to write letters for people or help them translate their Vietnamese writings into these languages. There used to be a few Letter Men working in the post office, but Ngo is the last man writing.

A shining grin of a little girl feeding pigeons in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral

The evident thrill and joy of a little girl feeding pigeons in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

 
 
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