Self Portrait: The Shadows of Hoi An, Vietnam - Southeast Asia

Self Portrait: The Shadows of Hoi An, Vietnam - Southeast Asia

Self Portrait: The Shadows of Hoi An, Vietnam - Southeast Asia


Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.

T. S. Eliot


Hoi An!

Wonderful Hoi An!

Beautiful Hoi An!

The first experience most visitors have of Vietnam are the gateway cities of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the South or Hanoi in the North. Whatever city you decide to land in most visitors will visit what I call the big three of Vietnam: Sapa, Halong Bay and Hoi An.

Hoi An is located on the coast of the South China Sea in central Vietnam. Hoi An was an important Vietnamese trading center in the 16th and 17th centuries and as a result it is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and French architecture. In 1999 the old town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hoi An is Vietnam’s answer to Disneyland. It is like a group of Vietnamese imagineers (Disney speak for designers and engineers) came together to design a quintessential, fairy tale town full of bright yellow buildings, glowing silk lanterns, historical assembly halls (Chinese temples), tailor shops where you can have custom made suits made within 24 hours and the best sunrises and sunsets in the country. In summary, this place was made for photographers. If there is a more photogenic city in Vietnam than Hoi An, I did not see it in my two months of travel in the country.

The old town of Hoi An is small enough to walk around or rent a bicycle like I did. I found the best time to photograph was around sunset at the riverfront. The yellow buildings would have an ephemeral glow from the late afternoon light.

Did I say this place was made for photographers?

In Hoi An you do not need to look for photo opportunities, they come to you!

Simply position yourself by one the bright, yellow buildings and wait for a desired subject to enter your frame. Something or somebody interesting will pass by every 15 to 30 seconds.

In this case I took a self portrait of myself with my shadow against the yellow wall, set my camera to a slow shutter speed and captured this local Vietnamese woman on a bicycle (Hoi An’s common mode of transport) wearing Vietnam’s iconic conical hat.

Hoi An!

Wonderful Hoi An!

Beautiful Hoi An!

Check back for more of my adventures in Vietnam!

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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Taken on: 24th April, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Sam Antonio Photography's page of Flickr

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