Thursday, 18 June 2015

Tu Tran Thanh | Lên Đồng

Photo © 2015 Tu Tran Thanh-All Rights Reserved
Some of my readers will recall my March personal project in Ha Noi which centered on documenting the rituals of Hầu đồng -also known as Lên đồng-, when I was provided invaluable assistance by Tu Tran Thanh; a photographer who also discovered and eventually shared my interest in these traditional Vietnamese rituals.

For decades, Lên đồng was restricted by French colonial and Vietnamese leaders, but the tradition is currently enjoying a strong resurgence in popularity since restrictions were relaxed a decade or so ago. It takes some effort to find and attend the authentic Lên đồng ceremonies. since these are not widely publicized, are often performed at the virtual drop of a hat and are dependent of availability of the pagodas allowed to hold such ceremonies.

I think it is about time I feature Tu Tran Thanh's photographic work "Lên đồng: Spirits' Journeys of Vietnam" which was published on the visual storytelling platform Exposure. There is quite a number of her fabulous photographs of the various ceremonies which she attended before, while and after I was in Ha Noi. It is not an exaggeration that Tu Tran Thanh is now seen by many Hầu đồng mediums as a trusted photographer for their ceremonies.

I am glad Tu Tran Thanh's role is assisting me is far from over. She's also helping me to complete my own ongoing Hầu đồng book project.