Back Arts & Culture » Music & Art » Photographer Hon Hoang on Returning to His 'Foreign Hometown' After 11 Years

Photographer Hon Hoang on Returning to His 'Foreign Hometown' After 11 Years

Saigon is changing so quickly that people who were born here can feel as if they are returning to a foreign land after years away.

Hon Hoang, the Los Angeles-based street photographer, recently visited his hometown of Saigon for the first time in 11 years.

In an essay posted on Enflight Design, Hoang shared his feeling of otherness while in the city: "Finding the right words buried under two and a half decades of assimilation proved to be difficult. Perhaps it was my accent, my child-like vocabulary, or maybe everything about me was foreign to this place I thought of as home."

The below set of photos shared with Saigoneer illuminates Hoang's effort to capture aspects of the booming metropolis that still felt the same to him, but looked much different at the same time: "Its inhabitants working day by day, to live, to provide for the future. Street vendors beginning their work before the sun wakes or never having stopped to begin with. Construction workers laboring under a feverish heat, finding solace in the brief moments of wind and rain. Citizens working well into old age, doing work meant for much younger bodies."

His takeaway at the end of the trip was ultimately positive: "I see a country with hope, hope for a future that’s better than what most experienced in the past. The hardships, turmoil, and labor that bled into the soil that grows bounty. It’s a country in search of identity and ownership, both of which have been unknown."

See Saigon through Hoang's eyes below:

Related Articles

in Music & Arts

A Mosaic of Vietnam's Landscapes Through the Windows of the North-South Train

Traveling on the Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi feels like a ride through history and time.

in Music & Arts

A Slovak-Vietnamese Photographer Explores Her Own Hybridity Through Food

A feeble limb of cucumber supports a plastic cup filled with mango pulp. Enoki strands grow out of the orange mush, hoisting up a sheet of bánh tráng. The translucent rice paper bends, as if wilting, ...

in Music & Arts

Slow Craft: How a Photo Artist Built a Home for Analog Photography in Saigon

The digital age is in full swing, and photography its loyal servant. The last century has seen the art form seamlessly transform several times, allowing itself to be reframed and repurposed time ...

in Music & Arts

[Photos] An Other-Worldly Wander Through a Human-Less Hanoi at Night

Tracing Hanoi’s spirit: that was the initial goal of the photographic project I set out to do from November 2018 onward.

in Music & Arts

[Photos] In the Digital Age, Film Photography Offers a Chance to Slow Down

In fast-paced Saigon, sometimes it pays to slow things down a bit.

Michael Tatarski

in Music & Arts

'Girls Rock Asia' Brings Together Female Musicians From Across Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia isn’t particularly well-known for its live music scene. Major international acts might only play Bangkok or Singapore, if they stop in the region at all. Home-grown acts are common, but...

Partner Content