Lawrence D'Attilio: "The Soul of Vietnam"
The blossoming of Vietnam: Eleven years of photos and stories in today's exotic emerging country
"During my immersion in Vietnam, I knew that much of the world was unaware of Vietnam today, as it grew to be the world's 13th largest population. It was less than twenty million in the 1950's, while nearing one hundred million today. How did Vietnam achieve that growth in the half century since surviving mass starvation at the end of World War II? My answer is that it happened because of its loving and intense culture, that is, its soul. In my heart I believe it is the culture that enlightened the heights to which Vietnam has risen after 1500 years of invasion, occupation, and suppression." - Lawrence D'Attilio
This book is a beautiful, poignant, humorous and delightful portfolio of modern Vietnam that also informs about historical culture. Seamlessly exploring from North to South, the book expresses an awareness of subjects from the magnificent to the mundane. The aura of these vibrant photographs and stories preserves the natural beauty of the country and the traditions of the people. One can appreciate D'Attilio's memorable way to capture much of what people remember once they have visited Vietnam. Newcomers can be confident that the images represent an accurate contemporary idea of Vietnam as it exists now, instead of a travel agent's hyped postcard view.
D'Attilio's anecdotal stories separately focus on the weave of Vietnamese life now. Dynamic changes in the large cities are startling for their impact on Vietnam's millennial-old culture. The Soul of Vietnam also illuminates the agrarian rural life that is an underpinning of Vietnam's ongoing success.
The author-photographer arrived in Vietnam in 2006, on the cusp of a wave of change. He found a country poised on the edge of an accelerating economic and cultural evolution, compelling him to return for three month trips eighteen times.
D'Attilio hoisted his cameras in secretive alleys, darkened caves, and city streets filled with waves of people. He thrived on his effort to create matchless images defining Vietnam s extraordinary culture. D'Attilio observes, "We mature more when we live within a strikingly different culture and find our inner selves expanding. Every person can use that experience to feel at home in today's connected world."
In English, with parts also translated to Vietnamese. Go here to see photos from the book.
“Lawrence D’Attilio’s The Soul of Vietnam reflects a raw soul and photographic talent rare in today’s visually-permeated landscape.”
“Altogether a book of art, anthropology, cultural discovery, and human warmth .... a wonderful achievement.”
“The Soul of Vietnam is a decades-overdue portrait of the culturally complex, spectacularly beautiful, and deeply spiritual people of Vietnam today.”
“Mr. D'Attilio's gorgeous photos capture an essence and vibrancy, taking the reader on a journey.”
“The breathtaking and artistic photographs in this book tell a beautiful story of the Vietnamese people, culture, and landscape.”
“Mr. D'Attilio beautifully expresses his affection for and connection to a magical place and its people.”