Linh Hoa harvesting sticky rice near Tu Le town in Vietnam
Belgian travel photographer Kevin Faingnaert recently spent time traveling through northern Vietnam, soaking in the atmosphere of this Southeast Asian gem. As the series moves from bustling cities to the lush, green countryside, Faingnaert brings us along for the journey. Faingnaert’s skill as a travel photographer shines through in his ability to weave a visual narrative that drifts between Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, and Mu Cang Chai.
Faingnaert, whose work has been featured in AFAR, Wired, and Outdoor Magazine, uses his signature style to tie together the series. Warm, slightly desaturated colors give the imagery a timeless feel present in much of his work. By focusing on daily life, the photographer presents small vignettes that give a fully realized vision of Vietnam as a whole. From diligently harvesting rice to getting a shave at an outdoor barber, these ordinary life events become art under Faingnaert’s watchful eye.
Mixed with these scenes are breathtaking views of the Vietnamese landscape. Emerald rice terraces are juxtaposed with the beauty of Halong Bay, each individual photograph demonstrating the unforgettable nature found in Vietnam. By mixing and matching city life and rural life, Faingnaert gives us the opportunity to view all aspects of Vietnamese culture.
Faingnaert calls himself a social documentary photographer who blends landscape, reportage, and portrait photography. His portraits help create an emotional connection with his work, while the landscapes help paint a picture of the overall environment these people live in.
Why does he continue to photograph his travels? “Making photo stories is the only way I’m able to share my ideas and feelings on a certain topic,” he shares. “When I’m traveling, I need friends around me to share moments with. It’s the first thing I miss when traveling alone. So making pictures is a way to fill this gap and share my moments.”
Travel photographer Kevin Faingnaert spent a significant amount of time photographing life in northern Vietnam.
The Lim Mong valley in Yen Bai province, known for its many terraced rice fields
Near Ninh Binh, Vietnam
River line through Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai province, Vietnam
Tam Coc harbour, abundant with sampan boats
The charming Bich Dong pagoda gate, a couple of kilometers north of Tam Coc.
Phuc Tran, a farmer who lives in Sang Nhu village
Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs.
A barber at work next to the walls of the Temple of Literature in Hanoi
Corncobs drying in a stilt house near Che Cu Nha village
He calls his mix of landscapes and portraits “social documentary photography.”
A group of men playing a game of Cu Tuong on the street in Hanoi
Rice terraces near Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam
A 500 steps stone staircase beside the Hang Mua cave entrance zigzags through the karst to the Quan Am pagoda, surrounded by views of the Tam Coc valley, limestone mountains and local countryside.
The road between Hanoi and Mu Cang Chai
Towering limestone pillars rise from the emerald waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay.
Inside Hue’s Imperial Enclosure, a citadel-within-a-citadel, housing the Vietnamese emperor’s residence, temples, palaces and artifacts.
A market next to Ho Tay, Hanoi’s largest lake.
The Ngo Dong river winding through Tam Coc’s karst formations.
Le Duan street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Women harvesting rice near Mu Cang Chai
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Hanoi
Sunset at the West Lake, Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake.
A Hanoi kitchen
Two local women heading out for rice harvesting near Tu Le town, Vietnam
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Kevin Faingnaert.