/13 Vietnam

Mitch Epstein

Vietnam: A Book of Changes

from Vietnam: A Book of Changes

“I keep asking myself: what was it that drew me—what exactly? Other landscapes are beautiful, other worlds mysterious. The answer is the people. It was their blending of simple values and sophisticated thought; their generosity, depth, and energy; their ability to absorb outside influences—Chinese, French, Russian—without losing their own unique character; their resourcefulness and dignity in the face of repression and want. It was the many afternoons sitting in low chairs, drinking strong amber tea from thimble-like cups my host would refill every few minutes. Taking tea with people formed the axis of my trips. Taking tea with painters, farmers, doctors, a blind guitarist, a filmmaker, a cyclo driver, a secretary, an herbalist, an astrologer, an architect, a monk; I was always taking tea with people, as conversations slowly stitched together, and I left regenerated, amazed at the range of lives I was able to meet, the different homes I was invited to enter. It was the Vietnamese themselves who drew me on as I pursued this project.”

Mitch Epstein