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Term abroad students meet legendary Vietnamese photographers



Click image to enlarge:
Doan Cong Tinh holds one of his photographers while speaking with students in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photos provided by Martin Benjamin)Doan Cong Tinh poses with students in Ho Chi Minh City. Mai Nam talks with students in Hanoi about his experiences photographing the Vietnam War. Mai Nam poses with students in Hanoi. A North Vietnamese soldier. (Photo by Mai Nam) Photo by Doan Cong Tinh Photo by Doan Cong Tinh
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Students on the term abroad to Vietnam got a chance to meet two photographers who played an integral role chronicling the struggles of North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Doan Cong Tinh and Mai Nam are part of “The Photographers from the Other Side,” a legendary group of photographers who became known for their images of the war. The Vietnam term is a cooperative program with Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the partnership for Global Education. 

While in Ho Chi Minh City, students met with Tinh, known as the “King of the Battlefield” from his days covering the war. He worked as an army photographer, carrying both a camera and an AK-47, and taking many risks to shoot photos during key battles.

Students were able to meet Nam, who recently turned 80, in Hanoi. He is known for his photographs depicting how life went on for the soldiers and citizens of North Vietnam. He worked for the Hanoi Tien Phong newspaper, showing the efforts and courage of ordinary citizens affected by the war.

As faculty director, Professor of Visual Arts Martin Benjamin arranged the meetings, students were able to sift through the prints of these legendary photographers. “The students were wowed by the experience of having these special guests in their classes,” he said. 

Benjamin said that Nam told the students that the secret to success in photography is having a broad knowledge and education about life, including history, literature and subjects like sociology, culture and the arts.