Travel

Ho Chi Minh City

Urbanism of Saigon, a new face

The former Pearl of the Orient begins a new moult at the beginning of the second decade of this century. Its visage shaped a century ago by French architects fades gradually face to the vertical pressure and what is believed eternal disappears under the onslaughts of bulldozers. These photos were taken in early 2012 only in District 1 of Saigon and show the radical change of the city.

Ironically the image of a luxurious city is still alive but only serves to hide the destruction of this architecture itself!

Traces of ancient villas are sometimes visible as shadows of an ancient city of Light and on the brick rubbles now stand the new skyscrappers decorated with neon colors. Will the new cathedrals made of glass become the symbols of the city?

Only lovers can answer this question but since always wedding albums are full of with pictures taken in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

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Phnom Penh, Danse avec les bonzes

Phnom Penh, a funky town

I’ve been in Phnom Penh , but the urban city didn’t give me a particular impression. Perhaps the shock caused by the visit to the S-21 center make me to flee the capital of Camboge quickly. This time, I was able to discover it with another state of mind.

The city retains its atmosphere of nonchalance in a tropical city. The mixture of style, between the Royal Palace, temples, old colonial buildings and 70 gives a colorful and jerky rhythm like a funk guitar riff. In some streets, traffic is chaotic but it is nothing to compare with other Asian cities. We remain in a human dimension with the iconic orange silhouettes of monks. By late afternoon, a seaside atmosphere almost floats on the banks of the Tonle Sap.

For those who are still in a bit of nostalgia but opened to changes, Phnom Penh is one of the few capitals of South East Asia to offer these two facets.

 

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Boudhas de Sukhothai

Buddhas of Sukhothai

I was desperate since the beginning of my journey in Thailand to make a consistent serie of travel photos. It is the monsoon season and the sky heavily overcast gives a light flat and gray, not really an expected appearance of a tropical country. So no inspiration in Chiang Mai.

I switched to Sukhothai, the first capital of Siam from the 13th and 14th century.
The historic site is actually quite small and has few remains of palaces and temples. I strive to photograph only in portrait the Buddha statues, some gigantic . Their form and their eyes closed intrigue me. The neutrality of the light finally is perfect to translate the serenity of their expressions.

By sunset time , some raylignts are shining through the clouds giving a vibration that echoes with the spirit of these statues. they seem to have attained enlightenment.

 

 

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Fighting for the silk and the lacquer

This serie belongs to a 2 years-project that I’m still doing with the Fine Arts University of HCMC. It is a documentary which follows some students along their scholarship. At the time of rushing for money, these students are still learning in the academic way, especially in traditional silk painting and lacquer painting. They don’t really care on how the studies could bring a future job. Are they naïve? Are they dreaming? Certainly.

But in a peaceful environment, they are also the last chance to maintain an ancestral culture. By their own commitment, with their teachers they are fighting for their art.

One of the goals of this documentary is also to make the public aware of the importance of ancient culture among some young people in a consumption society and to inform it about the way of learning art.

 

 

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Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc, Land of Fire

Located in the extreme south of Vietnam and Cambodia, Phu Quoc was the land for the excluded and even served as a place of exile and prison. Until recently, it took eight hours on a merchant ship to reach the island from the mainland.
Roads of red sand, impenetrable jungles, mangroves along the beaches compose a mosaic of colors where Fire, one of five elements of the Taoist universe, emanates and radiates over this piece of an ancient empire lost in the Gulf of Siam. The spirit of this territory is well steeped in homes and temples.
Why such an alliance of gods animistic, Taoist and Buddhist to help people to fight against the harshness of a life punctuated by monsoon winds and biting rays of the tropics? It’s was long time ago and this is another story.
 

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Bridges of Paris

Bridges of Paris – The lovers of twilight

In the “City of Light” famous for the magnificence of the illuminations over its architectural heritage and monuments along the Seine River, there is a time when the light fades for the darkness.
When life seems to stand still and the night envelops you, the daily struggles disappear. Then arrive the shadows conducive to new dreams.
On the Bridges of Paris, lovers spill their feelings, their hearts vibrating in the waning heat of a sunny day. The loneliness of some becomes a freedom to walk along the banks, the spirit lulled by the sound of footsteps.
The poet Louis Aragon said, “There is no light without shadow.” No doubt he composed his poem in the twilight of Paris.

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Vietnamese New Year

The Vietnamese New Year 2012

The Vietnamese New Year (Têt) also marks the beginning of spring.
Each house must have a vase of “hoa mai”, peach blossoms in the South or “hoa dao”, Plum blossoms in the North, with the hope that the bloom happens the first day of the year. One cannot forget a plate of fruits, offerings on the altar of ancestors.
It’s time for a return to traditions where girls take the ao dai dress for a stroll in the flower festival for a photo session with friends and family.

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Laos – A travel book from Vientiane and Luang Pra Bang

This trip took place in Laos in 2009. The photos of this travel book were taken with the Olympus E420, an ideal traveling companion. For two weeks, I headed from Vientiane to the north, near the Chinese border via Vang Vien, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Muang La, Phongsaly. The return allowed me to visit Nong Kiaw, […]

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Vietnam – Traditional dance in ao dai

Traditional dance is an essential part of the culture of Vietnam. Any festival or cultural event includes a dance always appreciated by the public. The costumes (including the famous ao dai) worn by the dancers reflect the variety of regions and ethnic groups that make up the country. The accessories play an equally important role: […]

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Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island – Twilight

The island of Phu Quoc, the largest island of Vietnam, is still quite preserved from urbanization and uncontrolled development. You can still drive on the road without meeting a soul. Near Cambodia, visible from the north coast of the island, it was previously owned by this kingdom. The island served as refuge to Prince Nguyen […]

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