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Social distancing photography project uses Saigon’s emblematic architecture to spread hope

Thursday, July 01, 2021, 15:09 GMT+7
Social distancing photography project uses Saigon’s emblematic architecture to spread hope
The Saigon Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

In his latest project, ‘Saigon Strong,’ Vietnamese photographer Khoa Tran utilizes light painting techniques to spread notions of optimism and solidarity to a city in hibernation due to the COVID-19 uproar. 

‘Saigon Strong’ features photos captured after 8:00 pm near Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Central Post Office, Con Rua Lake in District 1, and the Saigon River bank in District 2, among other locations.

Using a special projector, Khoa was able to layer cheerful illustrations onto the camera while it captured the city’s iconic buildings, many of which have been unusually empty since the city’s social distancing mandate was issued in late May. 

Each of Khoa’s photos was deliberate and planned. On most nights, he took just two or three photos. 

“One cannot find success with light photography overnight," Khoa said.

"It is a process that requires consistent practice."

His plan to try light painting photography at more locations was cut short after social distancing measures in Ho Chi Minh City, as it is officially known, were ramped up on June 19, leaving the collection with just the few photos he was able to snap in early June. 

According to the photographer, light painting photography is a diverse area with many discrete variations and practices.

As the art of light painting increases in popularity, more and more Vietnamese photographers are trying their hand at the unique form of photography.  

Born and raised in Saigon, Khoa feels a genuine connection with the southern metropolis. 

His collection highlights empty streets, juxtaposing a seemingly abandoned city with memories of bustling nightlife that seems to have disappeared overnight.  

“I hope that lively Saigon will soon return," Khoa said.

"For now, we will join hands to push back the epidemic.”

Below are the photos from Khoa Tran’s ‘Saigon Strong’ project.

The Saigon Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

View from the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

A night scene of the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

View from the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

A night scene of the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

Con Rua Lake in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

Con Rua Lake in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

The West Gate of Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

The West Gate of Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

View from the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

A night scene of the Saigon River Waterfront in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Khoa Tran

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