Project Detail: The sparkling soul of Vietnam


Emerging photographers 2018




Nahjeli Benni



Project Info

The sparkling soul of Vietnam

One day, I saw this woman looking trough the split of her home's shutter. Her look was hidden behind a cloud of smoke. I loved her immediately and I felt deep down the need to take a picture of her, but I hadn't my camera with me.

One morning, while I was having my breakfast in a little family's homestay, I found her lying on the ground, sleeping. She was truly sleeping, but with a sigarette still in her mouth. When she woke up, she sit, she looked around, and lighting the remnant of her sigarette never fallen from her lips, she started talking with no one knows what sort of ghost or memorie. I wanted to take a picture so much again, but, ones again, I hadn't my camera with me.

Then, one night, here she is again. She was sitting at sunset in front of her door. She almost seemed to be crying, still with her sigarette on her mouth, her eyes so sad. I finally took the picture that I craved so much in the past days. When I show it to her, she laughed so much that I suddenly saw her sparkling soul free from ghosts.

That woman became the symbol of my trip trough Vietnam. The relationship I lived with her trough that peculiar picture was what I was truly looking for as a photographer and from that point forward all my way of looking at thing surrounding me chanced. Strangely, those moments where I hadn't my camera with me allowed me to truly catch the moment, a moment made of truth, a real contact with a human being so far from me, and yet so close.

Vietnam has been to me a broken time suspended parallel reality. With the memories of the war still intact in the eyes of people, the pushing modernity seems vanishing in front of the touching humanity that Vietnam offers.