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The Art of Photography

Timeless Vietnam

Photographs by Canh Tang



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In this book you will find a new perspective on Vietnam as a place unaffected by strife and undiminished by modernism. The enduring acts of farming, fishing, trades and culture of this remarkable land come alive through its pages, providing insight into the core of the nation and the values of its people.

Timeless Vietnam, Canh Tang’s first book of photography, is a dazzling glimpse of an ancient culture that persists today much as it has for thousands of years. The motion and energy of life emanate from each shot. Colors interplay with form in photos of the silhouettes of fishermen on the shore against a pulsating sunrise. Detail meets simplicity in shots of skilled artisans chiseling intricate sculptures.


Complementing these extraordinary photos are translations of historic Vietnamese poetry that contextualize a land that has resisted imperial domination for thousands of years, forever retaining its unique character. The resilience and beauty of Vietnam and its peoples radiate through memory and serve as a testimony to what will survive.

 

Artists & critics agree that Timeless Vietnam is a masterpiece!


“This collection of nearly 100 photographs shot in present-day Vietnam aims to look past the grisly wars of the last century by focusing on the unchanged daily lives of rice farmers reaping the fields, fishermen casting nets on the water, artisans in workshops, and others, stressing how deeply rooted these lives are in a cultural heritage undiminished by strife or modernism...the photos attest to a collective spirit hinged on the same work and traditions that have been honored for centuries a point that is brought home with analogous Vietnamese poems, some dating back hundreds of years.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Canh Tang has captured qualities of this timeless, exotic Asian land that have eluded other photographers. This Red Rock Press collection will amaze and excite you.”
— Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
“This book crystallizes the timelessness of the moment by skillfully weaving a tapestry of Vietnam, the land, its peoples, arts and religions. The interplay between image and text truly heightens the aesthetic effect and experience.”
— Quang Phu Van, lector in Vietnamese, Yale University
Timeless Vietnam captures the essence, resilience and beauty of a country that has endured so much violence, ideological as well as physical. It is no requiem, however, but a testimony to what will survive.
— Linn Dinh is a translator and poet whose new work, Love Like Hate, is a novel of contemporary Vietnam.



Crossing the Tam Giang Lagoon


—Lap An wood gatherers wade through lagoon to market their small fuel bundles, July, 2011.



A New Day


—A farmer takes his buffalo to feed on wild grass before their work begins, Quang Dien District, Thua Thien-Hue, March, 2010.



Apprentices


—Schoolchildren devote free hours to learning a family craft, the making of non la, the traditional hat, An Luu town, Thua Thien-Hue, 2005.






Timeless poetry complements Canh Tang's remarkable photographs:



The Fisherman Speaks


Beyond harm’s reach persist in your own sphere—
some streamor sea none covets or disputes.
Plying a paddle, row your river boat
and catch a livelihood fromdawn to dusk.
Weave your way through rivers’ zigs and zags,
with fishing line and rodmade of bamboo.
Befriend themoon by night, the wind by day—
sing a gay tune, enjoy a jar of wine.
Drift past where cranes resort, where oysters haunt.
In nature take delight, at ease and free,
The fish and shrimp, by Heaven sent, abound.
You eat your fill—for what else could you wish?

    —from Duong Tu Ha Mau by Nguyen Dinh Chieu,
    translated by Huynh Sanh Thong




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