A quest for the ultimate, beautiful, meaningful picture

Flooding around Hanoi

Heavy rains led to floodings in Northern Vietnam and Southern China, maybe you heard it in the news. In the Hanoi area, around 50-60 people lost their lives. When I landed at the Hanoi airport, just after the weekend, the rain had stopped (more or less), but along the road between the airport and the city, flooding was only too visible: rice fields were drowned, people were fishing where they ought to be tending the rice.

This is cause for documentary photography! The facts must be made known, esthetics should be second-place considerations.

Still, esthetic questions do turn up: the facts should be put into pictures that are remembered as pictures. One of mine is a clear failure–it is so bad I hardly dare show it, but since it is the only one of the occasion, still I leave the picture here where behind the motorbike two men are lowering a net into the water (the last photo in this entry).
Documentary photography is often black-and-white. Black-and-wite is associated with misery, apparently. I tried, quickly, to see if the following pictures were better in black-and-white, but to my mind the (subdued) colours do not detract from the message.
Since these were all made from the car driving by, I did not hesitate to use cropping to these pictures, and I even burned the sky in the first picture shown, one with the two guys wading through the water to their chest (great tool in Lightroom, this graduated filter!). It may be getting to the limit of keeping truth in documentary photography…

I’m glad I saw nothing worse than this. Wouldn’t make a good journalist, would I?

Advertisements

Comments are closed.