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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Seventeen: Memories in Metal and Stone: How monuments, sculpture, and tombs express ideas. > Remembering Ho, Can Tho, Vietnam, 2008
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Remembering Ho, Can Tho, Vietnam, 2008

Remembering Ho, Can Tho, Vietnam, 2008

A huge bronze statue of Ho Chi Minh, painted in silver, dominates the waterfront of Can Tho. At night it becomes a beacon that can be seen from blocks away. I made this photograph from the window of my hotel room. Many travel photographers enjoy making pictures at night, using tripods, small apertures and long time exposures. To make such images expressive, however, there needs to be some degree of abstraction, incongruity, or human values present. In this image, the fact that Ho Chi Minh is silver an unusual color for a public statue makes it incongruous. The lights on the roofs of the buildings in the distance add context and Vietnamese atmosphere to the scene. Since I do not carry a tripod on my travels, and had to make use of the windowsill for stability, I could not use a small aperture and long time exposure for this image. Instead, I used my zoom lens at its widest aperture, selected my full telephoto reach of 420mm, and employed a slow, but not long, shutter speed of 1/8th of a second. There is still enough depth of focus here to include both Ho Chi Minh, who was a block away, and the buildings well behind him.
After making this photo, I made some experimental photographs of light in motion, zooming my lens while the shutter was open. To see the result, click on the thumbnail below.

Leica V-Lux 1
1/8s f/3.6 at 68.8mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis23-Jan-2008 21:25
Yes, it is fitting that a country honors its founders. In the US, the George Washington Monument is illuminated at night and it dominates the skyline of Washington, DC. In Paris, the Arch of Triumph is illiminated, recalling the victories and rule of Napoleon. And in China, the huge illuminated portrait of Mao hangs over the gateway to the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square. Ho Chi Minh is remembered everywhere in Vietnam for creating the country as we now know it.
Carol E Sandgren23-Jan-2008 20:54
One could not miss the huge presence of Ho just about everywhere even in the post office! How fitting that this statue lights up the night for the rest.
Phil Douglis19-Jan-2008 21:03
Color contrasts make this image jump out at us, Mo.
monique jansen19-Jan-2008 10:13
Interesting contrast between the cool silver of the statue and the warmly lit buildings in the background.
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