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40 Nostalgic Photos Of 1961 Saigon From Life Magazine

When Life Magazine photographer, John Dominis, traveled to Saigon in 1961, he spent most of his trip photographing daily life in the city. With his camera, he captured downtown Saigon’s busy streets, full of classic cars, Vespas driven by seemingly indifferent, sunglass-clad men and plenty of bicycles.

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Women’s fashion during this time was a mix of Western glasses frames and traditional au dai while cyclos seemed to be used predominantly for personal transport as opposed to moving goods and construction material across the city as is the case today. 

While Dominis’ photos have become an important record of Saigon’s mid-century history, the photographer is perhaps best known for his photo of American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in the air at the 1968 Summer Olympics to show support for the American Civil Rights Movement. 

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