Vietnam by Jess Brohier

Empty spaces, Bright places

Upon my recent visit to Vietnam, the first thing I noticed was the light. Living in Melbourne and taking photos almost every day of my life for the last few years, I am constantly infatuated with finding the perfect light. Melbourne's weather is moody, and I've become most familiar with overcast and grey days, and a stranger to warm clean light and crisp shadows. The light in Vietnam was elegant, often unfiltered and abundant, a marvel in itself.

One of my favourite kinds of travel photography are incredible portraits of people on the streets, a real delve into culture through observing humans. However, though I love this type of work, I cannot create it. Being a relatively late onset introvert, I find this kind of thing terrifying. Ironic, because back home in Melbourne I am predominantly a portrait photographer, and could not imagine doing anything else.

For this visit, I really wanted to explore a different angle to what I capture back home. For my series I decided to take a backseat approach and photographed simply only what caught my eye. I didn't search for images, or seek to create anything in particular, instead I wandered, and allowed the surroundings to pause my step as they would. I wasn't sure what would come out by the end, I just hoped to capture something beautiful in a way that only I saw it.

Soon enough, I found myself drawn to the light, the way it filled places and bounced off surfaces. The way the buildings and trees created sharp shadows, affecting the image to be taken in a way relative only to that exact moment.

Having travelled to a fair few cities in Asia, I felt as though the cities I visited were an amalgamation of memories from places I'd visited before. As amazing as the vibe and energy was in Hanoi and Saigon, I found the imagery to be a blur of browns and greens, a sea of faces that I could not separate. In a country of 89 million people, the roads were chaotic. I had seen nothing like that ever before. What caught my eye instead were the colours, and the places of empty space. I liked the idea of these small moments of peace, hidden gems amongst the flood of humans I experienced almost everywhere we went. 

In my series, I hoped to illustrate a quiet, simple view of my brief exploration in Vietnam, moments caught in between the restlessness.

Photography by Jess Brohier