I’ve always loved taking portrait photos of people. It mesmerizes me how somebody can look so different from different angles. Rarely have I posted portrait photos on this blog though, but after a conversation with a new friend yesterday I decided to post portrait photos that I like here. I figured that as long as it’s something that I like, somebody somewhere might like it too. Read more
Laura and Diego are a Spanish couple living in Hanoi, Vietnam. Their fashion brand, Chula, makes lively, sophisticated couture designs with tropical inspiration. Last September I took a calligraphy workshop in their riverside house in Hội An and I knew I had to photograph it someday. The ground floor is dedicated to an Artists in Residence Program where artists can host workshops and art programs. The pictures below are of their second floor, which is the living area. Despite it being quite small, about 60 square meters (around 650 square feet), this space is very thoughtfully designed and charming because of its bright colors and unique furniture. Read more
I adore the houses in the old town of Hoi An! They’re uniform in their antiquity but individually unique. They look ill-tended with their old paint and rustic wood shutters but charming because of that look. They’re zen but lively, simple but sophisticated. And because of that, I decided to have a series on this blog named Beautiful Hội An to share this town’s beautiful places that have inspired me. Read more
*The Vietnamese word for mangoes is xoài, pronounced soai.
If you happen to be in Vietnam in xoài season, you have to try them. Seriously!
The mangos here are one-of-a-kind. I remember that sentiment being expressed in an endearing scene from the movie “Indochina” where the main character, a French colonist, handed her adopted daughter a plate of mangos that looked so juicy and delicious. I don’t remember much else about the movie but that scene has stayed in my mind for years. Read more
*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.
The weather in Hoi An has been so beyond perfect lately. It’s the kind of sunshine and breezes that are so delightful that it brings me instant joy just by looking out the window. Craig says this weather reminds him of beautiful early summer days when he was in high school in Kentucky. He remembers the soft sunshine on his front porch, the irresistible smell of barbecue in warm breezes that his father was grilling on a lovely Sunday evening. It’s interesting how similarities in temperature and humidity can bring back vivid memories from years and years ago. Read more
Everybody knows each other in the small local market near my house, and the sellers there know not only me but also my husband. It must be difficult for them not to remember us – I speak Vietnamese with a Northern accent and my husband is an American who’s too tall to walk under the low bamboo roof in the market. Read more
Two weeks ago, I had the honor to do the photography and web design for my favorite restaurant and cooking class in town. It was two weeks of shooting, tasting good food and wine (which was the best part), editing, and panicking at times. Now it’s all done and I’m quite happy and proud with what I was able to finish within two weeks’ time. I presented the two websites to my client today and he loved them and I got paid! Now I’m beyond ecstatic because it was my first professional commissioned photography work. By the way, here’s the link to the restaurant and the cooking class if you’d like to take a look at my work. Note: If you spot a handsome model in some photos and you think he looks familiar, you’re right. That’s Craig! (wink wink) Read more
Vietnamese Tet takes place at the same time as Chinese New Year and Korean New Year because we use the same lunar calendar. However, we celebrate with food and customs which are unique to Vietnamese culture.
Tet has always been my favorite time of the year. When I was small, Tet meant a week off from school, which was the biggest fun followed by new clothes and lucky money. Read more
I had never been a morning person until we moved to Hoi An. During our first week here, because of jet lag, I got up early and went into town for coffee, and that has been my morning ritual ever since. Morning is the most beautiful time of the day here, when the whole town is calm but cheerful, quiet but up-lifting. Early risers drink tea, read newspapers, play chess on the street. (Craig mentioned some interesting observations of morning activities here.) I love sitting in the corner of an old coffee house, sipping my coffee, watching people and occasionally snapping a photo or two. This morning I came across these pictures of friends and strangers that I took in the morning hours that I’ve been accumulating over the past few months.
I remember many years ago watching the old Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver film “The Year of Living Dangerously” one rainy afternoon on television. The otherworldly mix of Southeast Asian climate and emerging communist revolution against the backdrop of decaying colonial elegance made for an almost unbelievably beautiful setting. I remember most clearly a scene in which the main character, played by Mel Gibson, was on the run and hiding in the highlands in an old colonial hotel, sitting by the pool while his caretaker’s wife swam amongst the leaves and lillies covering the water. It was the perfect all-in-one picture of the beauty of decaying colonial decadence, enjoyed by the very people it once cruelly oppressed. Read more