When you let your camera loose in an orphanage…
This post is image heavy. It’s personal.
I’m not really sure what to say about these photos, or why I’m sharing them… They’re just on my mind these days and I’m thinking that maybe you’ll enjoy this small glimpse into this other world. Yes, there’s a sadness in some of these photos, a disconnect and a world of peeling paint, but this is also a family, a community and there’s some epic smiles in here.
I’m a little ‘homesick’ right now. This time two years ago, I was in Vietnam working my ass off for Mrs Hanh in her new restaurant (facebook keeps reminding me) – we were in that lull between the big opening party and the official first day of business. I’m feeling guilty because even though I said I’d be back to visit there this year, I still don’t have a ticket and have no idea when I’ll be able to get one. I’ve missed out on so much there because I’ve been doing so much here. This will be my life-long dilemma… I’ve made my choices and I wouldn’t do it any other way. But you know when you haven’t been home in ages and you just really want to go home and hang out for a few days?
I’ve looked through these photos so many times and every time I do, I see something new.
Every time I went to the orphanage, I’d bring my camera. I desperately wanted to document life there but I couldn’t… I couldn’t spend my time taking photos when what I really needed to be doing was spending time with these children who I hadn’t seen in two years and just, hanging out.
So I figured the best thing to do was put my camera on automatic, show one of the kids how to use it and set it afloat. Yes, I put several hundred euro worth of camera equipment in a child’s hand and turned my back. It might seem stupid, but man, I wish I had taken a photo of them taking photos! When it was quiter (like the first group of images), whoever had the camera could just roam around. But later in the evening, when everyone was home from school, the child with the camera would have a protective bubble around him or her. A bubble of kids who were both lining up to have their turn but also making sure nothing happened to the camera so they actually got their turn.
It was loud and it was beautiful!
These are squirmy to look at, how unphotogenic am I?! The girls had just pulled out all my grey hairs and ‘done’ my hair and I was being pulled in a hundred different directions and that’s exactly what it’s like to spend time there. So many hands, so many questions, so many hugs, and some giving out too apparently…
It’s nice being the entertainment for a few hours, something different; a new bag to explore, a new phone to play with, new games to play, and some old memories.