Wednesday, 11 September 2013

THE REMNANTS OF WAR

Reflecting back through the Summer.


We left the exciting Vietnam through Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. The two days stop over here provided another opportunity to visit the War Remnants Museum.

Outside the museum building (which was in the 60’s and 70’s was America’s Department of Information) were parked machinery of war. Helicopters, a jet fighter tanks and other armoured vehicles were lined up like second-hand cars on a dealership forecourt.
 
Lined up like second-hand cars on a forecourt. Shikawa-san's camera featured  bottom right
Inside and it was busier than I remember. There was the uncomfortable hush as visitors walked around the rooms of exhibits. Again, I saw the horrific images of war taken by the photographers.  Photographers were so very active in this conflict, many of whom lost their lives.
As if visiting some altar deity I made a beeline to see Nikon F camera of the Japanese photographer Bunyo Shikawa. He was stationed in Saigon and covered the Vietnam War as a photojournalist from 1964 to 1968.  I made a sketch of his wonderful camera.

My fascination with this conflict has been further enhanced since my last visit to Vietnam by repeated viewings of the biopic on the photographer Don McCullin that appeared in January. He was active here in the 1970’s and covered the Battle of Hue city for The Sunday Times.

My visit in 2012


The Vietnam War was arguably the last great public conflict. The Falklands and wars that followed thereafter have been strictly edited in terms of what we see and don’t see.