Have you heard of Vung Tau? Probably not, because its not a prime feature on any major travel magazine or website. But I landed up there around half a year back. How? Well it so happened that one of my close friends Ashutosh was working there and had mesmerized me with his stories. I got all excited and started thinking about visiting him in Vietnam and stay a while in Vung Tau. I took my camera along all eager to capture the essence of a relatively unexplored place. But when I reached there I was in a dilemma. The place filled me with a sense of calmness and tranquility; so pure that I did not feel energized enough to carry my camera with me everywhere. This was a first time for me, as those who are close to me know that while traveling with me I can forget them, but not my camera! I saw smiling faces all around and a soothing blue ocean (the south pacific ocean). I saw simple happy Vietnamese families, playful children and experienced delicious cuisines. I experienced morning breakfasts in cozy cafes of different varieties and sipped sugar-can juice while gazing at the sunset by the beach. Strangely I did all of this without my camera hanging around my shoulder for most parts of it.
I returned from Vietnam after a few weeks and realized that my best experience in that country was Vung Tau. And I had not done justice to my passion of chronicling my journey in that tranquil sea-side town. It was only a couple of weeks later that I realized that despite not having my camera with me most of the time, I was still able to capture some moments on my mobile camera. Fortunately we live in the age of technology and preserving memories through photographs is possible even if you have a mobile phone. I have always found it hard to do justice to pictures though, because when I look at my photography it is often about expressing a thought or experience and never about sharing a memory! I think that is one of my greatest fallacies as a photographer. But when I looked back at the ‘memories’ I had captured on my mobile phone camera, I realized that I had probably achieved something that I wanted to in the first place, that too subconsciously. An amalgam of my memories and an expression of my experience in Vung Tau. A bit excited and also a little heart broken that I did not do full justice to the place, I accepted the reality that my journey in Vung Tau was more about my memories.
A month later I was able to look at those photographs once again, relive the memories in my mind and give thought to what my experience was all about. And I realized that what I truly want to express about my journey to that place is nothing but my memories. So here it is a small selection of 20 photographs, which encompass my thoughts, experience and memories of Vung Tau.