Published on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 12:00
Written by Quinn Ryan Mattingly. Photos by Quinn Ryan Mattingly.
In my travels, I don’t think I’ve ever found a nation like Vietnam, whose landscapes differ so vastly from north to south. I imagine the great hills and sharp peaks of the north as the scaly, rugged head of a dragon and its body winding down majestic panoramas of the country’s coastline, ending in a collection of watery tails in the Mekong Delta.
These images, captured on several excursions in the region over the years, offer a look into the lives and land of Vietnam’s great north. Busy city streets are nowhere to be found. Instead, bikes barely more durable than scooters ply their way up and down the pastoral slopes on imperfect trails. Trucks maneuver their way through endless twists and turns as the roads ascend and fall, all at a snail’s pace compared to the clip of city life.
Of course, the faces I encountered were measurably different, too. The features and language of the Kinh, Vietnam’s largest ethnic group, are familiar to those who have spent most of their time in the country’s urban areas. Here, however, the country’s many ethnic minorities continue to practice their own culture and speak their own languages.
These hills hold great intrigue for me, offering sights and scenes not found anywhere else in the country. I will surely make my way back again soon, when I hear the dragon beckoning me and my lens away from the city and toward the great northern skies.
Quinn Ryan Mattingly is an American freelance photographer. He has been based in Vietnam for more than a decade. Visit his website for more photo projects.
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