Extraordinary photographs of ordinary people

© 2007 Long Thanh

Two days ago, when Martin was strolling along the sidewalks of noisy, dusty, vivid Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) at an early hour of night, he came across a little gallery. Nothing spectacular, he thought. But a second glimpse revealed more. By pure luck he had discovered an amazing collection of black and white photographies covering the pale walls of a simple basement store. What he found was nothing less than the work of Long Thanh, a very well respected Vietnamese photographer. Martin soon was lost in pure beauty and elegance: pictures of ancient men and women with weather-beaten skin or a young boy balancing on the back of a water buffalo. All that was so far away from reality, but still so close to life. Deeply moved by what he saw, he seriously thought about acquiring at least one of the many pieces of jewelery. But Martin – well known as a nickel nurser – did not. He just didn’t want to spend the extra $270. Shame on him! And as I write these lines, Martin keeps complaining about his own stupidity (serves him right!). Still trying to compensate for his ignorant behavior, he found some articles about this Long Thanh guy, who actually doesn’t speak a single English word. But luckily his daughter does, and this is what she says about him: “Sometimes he [Long Thanh] feels lonely and he feels sad. He had emotion, that’s why he takes his camera and goes out“. I guess, Martin likes that very much.

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