“Geometrical Saigon” is a series of photographs taken in Saigon, now officially named Ho Chi Minh, in southern Vietnam. I’m not generally a fan of big cities, and as cities go, Saigon isn’t my favorite city, I must admit, but the interest point of this city is its agitated and complex streets.
In “Geometrical Saigon,” the geometry, colors, lights and shadows are the main protagonists. The people photographed, all Vietnamese I assume, are unequivocally essentials in the compositions as well.
The chronic heat and the fact that there are only 2 seasons, rain and dry, forces the residents to either carry an umbrella or cover up themselves in surprisingly colorful clothing, sometimes even both at once.
Besides the shadows, I could say that one of the first things that I’m looking for when I’m in the streets is color, an extremely important component in my frames. Asia itself it is very chromatic, but I have to admit that Saigon at least, isn’t as colorful when compared to other Asian countries. Even still, it is a visual pleasure to wander around the city, it’s one of my resources whenever I go out. And looking carefully, I can definitely encounter some primary colors one next to the other.
The combination of tones between the subject and surrounding sometimes can be astonishingly pleasant.
During the dry season you hardly see any rain. It’s pretty much sunny every single day for half a year. Because of that, it’s both enjoyable and at the same time very hot to be in the street. I have no particular time to go out with the camera. Personally, no matter where the sun is located in the sky, I can see peculiar shades wherever I go, I just let the subject interact with the light and I’d decide if the combination of light/shadow is interesting enough to be immortalized.
If by any chance there is a colorful spot right on the bright side, that would be make my day.
I don’t quite remember when I began making these minimal and geometrical street photographs. I was like all of us when we start in this, black and white no matter what. However, I’m starting to believe that whatever the photos one takes, it comes straight from inside ourselves, sort of a mirror. I consider myself for instance, very meticulous and perhaps my photographs reflect that part of myself.
It is ocasionally tricky to notice geometry and a quiet spot in the highly messy city of Saigon. Funny fact, there are more motorbikes only in Saigon than citizens in Singapore, a city that I’m re-visiting soon enough. It’s insane and a real challenge. So when it comes to photographing seemingly peaceful and tidy moments, things get tricky. It’s especially challenging to capture that moment of quietness combined with matching colors and some sort of geometry, really. There are so many people, vehicles, and finite instants going on, and most of the times I have to spend such a long time trying to get that yellow wall with only one person in it, and that very same person must wear something that would make the photo way more visual, for example, a red dress with white dots on it.
I can spend the entire week going out for several hours each, and not even press once the shutter-release button. I love the fact that I have to be so patience and observant, as if I was meditating.
I believe that it is very important to be selective, challenge yourself daily, open your eyes wide and melt into one with the city.
The streets are a playground and reality is relative and subjective, so there is no reason not to be creative and obviously the most important thing, have so much fun.