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Saigon, Vietnam


"I took this photo while on assignment in Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. I was strolling through Tue Thanh temple, which is on a really busy street but is quiet and peaceful inside"

Published on Nov 8, 2011


I took this photo while on assignment in Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. I was strolling through Tue Thanh temple, which is on a really busy street but is quiet and peaceful inside. I’d been there for about 20 minutes shooting details of the temple: altars, gods, worshippers, smoking coils of incense. I was on my way out when I glanced to my left and saw this group of the temple’s caretakers sharing a meal. I shoot all kinds of food but I am most inspired when I happen upon a scene that’s about more than a single dish, one that tells a story. Here we have three guys eating wordlessly, utterly focused on their bowls of rice, a dog hoping for some scraps, in a silent temple. They just happen to be sitting in a shaft of light, framed by a beautiful doorway. I imagine this scene is repeated everyday at noon. It’s absolutely ordinary but, just by accident of the setting, is visually elevated.

Photographer David Hagerman • Interviewed by Christopher Kucway

 

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