Rural Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic minority groups. Some of the better documented groups, such as the Hmong and Dao, already have a substantial history of interaction with foreign tourists, and as such, their stories are part of modern culture.
In the region furthest north, however, the people of Ha Giang are much more disconnected from the benefits and tribulations of modern city life. The seclusion enjoyed by the Pu Peo, La Chi and Pa Then people, to name but a few, is what attracted Iranian photographer Hosein “Hemad” Nazari.
“I don’t like modern life in big cities,” says Hemad, 27. “Sitting with old families in a small village, or in a teahouse in the mountains, is much better.”
A Different Story
Hemad sees himself as a storyteller; and there are no stories he wants to tell more than those of people living a traditional life in the countryside.
“I’m always looking for people with a life different to the typical modern routine, such as shepherds and fishermen,” he explains. “I want to show that they are still part of our world; they just have different lifestyles.”
Hemad uses his photos to portray rural lifestyles which so often revolve around animals, farming and mountains.
The real life of people in Ha Giang is not centred on WiFi, or catering to visitors. The images in this collection are intended to show this reality.
“You can’t find this kind of traditional life easily,” says Hemad. “That’s why Ha Giang is one of the few places I’ve been to where I have enjoyed every moment of it.”
Some of the portraits are shown in black and white, something which Hemad thinks helps to weave a richer story.
“If colour isn’t playing a role, it shouldn’t be in the photo,” he says. “By leaving out colour, I can show different perspectives, or demonstrate the power of my object more clearly.”
To see more of Hosein Nazari’s work, click on hemadnazari.format.com
Photos by Hosein Nazari