I am interested in the idea of landscapes as quiet witnesses to history. During my online search for such photos, I came upon hundreds of images in which anonymous persons were portrayed in landscapes – and always in the same position, pointing to indicate a past event, the location of something gone, something lost or missing. We are left knowing nothing about the people, their specific thoughts or feelings, only with their repetitious sameness – always indicating, pointing to ‘evidence’ of something – never good. Together these anonymous witnesses, portrayed in compelling uniformity by innumerable Vietnamese press photographers, seem to be indicating a direction, a way forward out of the past, a fictional journey.
Trinh Thi Nguyen