A Sense of Place: North Vietnam - Jane Tearle, 30th January 2023

Another evening where “one of our own” is welcomed to present their favourite genre of photography to club members.
Jane opened by introducing us to her recent journey through North Vietnam. As with so many people, Jane had not travelled abroad since the Covid pandemic and as a result, questioned her own confidence to undertake any future trips. However, the call to travel was too much and she decided to go to North Vietnam with a trusted organiser she had used in the past.

Her journey started in Hanoi, the land of the motorbike, where to cross the road you needed 360º vision and the courage that once you determined where you wished to get to, you kept going – the motorbikes always missed you! We entered the Temple of Literature which was certainly a place of solace, as well as convenient cover when the rains arrived! From here to images showing the old part of Hanoi and the labyrinth of alleyways running between the many tenements, as well as humbling pictures of how people in another country live. Going further into the heart of this capital city, we were taken along another backwater, but with rail tracks running in the narrow divide between shops, cafes and peoples’ homes. Surreal, particularly with the image of children playing on the tracks, no worries about Health & Safety! Further pictures portrayed people selling their wares and the lady entrepreneur with her broken bike, laden with huge round baskets full of fruit giving her the mobility to park up anywhere.

The second part of Jane’s presentation took us on her journey north of this country to the glorious quiet countryside, with wonderful landscape images. On this part of her trip, there were several pre-arranged ‘photo shoots’ some in amongst the tiered paddy fields, the light catching perfectly between the greens and yellows of the growing rice. Our journey took us through local villages, each highlighting the individual bright and colourful costumes worn by the women. There was one image in particular which I am sure will be remembered by many attending, and could well have reminded some to book their next dental appointment! This picture was of an older lady, where it was de rigueur to have black teeth - not quite the winning smile expected – this took a very definite macabre plan to achieve this outcome, needless to say the younger generation would be avoiding such a fashion style for the future!

Jane’s title to her presentation was very apt, in that through her kaleidoscope of wonderful images she did indeed provide a ‘sense of place’ of the environment and people she met on her journey – where next I wonder?

- Janine Scola