Culture

Central Vietnam Through the Eyes of A T+L Photographer

Armchair travel to the streets of Central Vietnam through these wanderlust-inducing snaps by Andrew Faulk.

Photographed by Andrew Faulk

Jun 10, 2020

VIETNAM HAS BEEN LAUDED as a coronavirus-battling success story in Asia. Domestic travel is thriving and there are imminent plans to begin welcoming foreigners from countries that have contained the virus. But until then, we’ll virtually travel to historic and culturally rich Central Vietnam through the bucolic snaps of T+L photographer Andrew Faulk.

“From the northern highlands to the mouth of the Mekong, the topography of Vietnam is as multifaceted as its population and history. Yet, Central Vietnam has a stride of its own. Between the ancient capital of Hue and the modern economic powerhouse of Danang, Central Vietnam has an evolving identity,” says Faulk.

“Regardless of modern change, the region’s subdued pace continues to nudge visitors towards lagoons, beaches, and intensely peaceful rural countryside. But these idiosyncrasies are truly complimented by its people— some of the most welcoming and hospitable people found anywhere on Earth.”

Here, Faulk shares several of his favorite photos from the region, with word on what compels him to pick up his camera and where he’d like to return.

“Beauty appears in different forms. A peaceful coastline or a woman with a golden fleck in the corner of her eye, the curvature of a noodle swimming in a bowl of pho, the bustle of collective humanity, or even someone’s somber moment of vulnerability—I see beauty in all of these things.”

“As a photographer, my passion lies in observation. I simply make images of the scenes and details that, in some way, capture an overview of the world we collectively share. When I am not on assignment, I rarely set out with my camera to photograph anything in particular and allow my mind and eyes to wander.”

“If given the opportunity to return to just one part of the region, I would spend my time in the outskirts of Hoi An, tucked away from the ever-growing crowds drawn in by the colors and manicured vibe of the once-powerful melting-pot port. From the fringe, I would walk through lush rice paddies, sit with locals, slurp inexpensive cao lau, and explore the mysterious ruins of My Son, a cluster of temples built by the Kingdom of Champa between the 4th and 14th centuries, nearby.”

“Of all of these photos, I am most drawn to the image of the gentle soul swinging in her porch hammock. The image serves as an expression of the hospitality and openness found in the countryside of Central Vietnam.”

“For many tourists, the idea of saying hello and joining a stranger on their porch is unfathomable. But this type of interaction is not only acceptable but welcomed in Central Vietnam. During my short visit, I was offered refreshment, shown the interior of the home, and allowed to make a portrait of one of the most beautiful souls I have ever encountered (all without a single word of common language).”

“Interacting with others is the most joyous aspect of travel. Being open and vulnerable to fresh ways of travel is essential in broadening our understanding of our world and the people we share it with. This is the very essence of travel. 

“One way to ease into this more personal, experiential realm is to join a photo tour guided by  Pics of Asia, a group of empathetic and gentle hosts who help travelers learn how to ethically approach travel photography while simultaneously offering guests experiences that highlight the land, history, and beauty of Vietnam.”

Andrew Faulk is an editorial, commercial, and travel photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. He is a father, husband, and lover of fried food. andrewfaulk.com; @afaulkphoto

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