Blog by Vietnam based documentary Photographer Christian Berg

on my way to Myanmar – stopover in Bangkok…

a few shots from the Erawan shrine – in the “heart of bangkok” ¬†at the Ratchaprasong crossroads




categories: Architecture, Culture, photography, Vietnam

just got a new post on Goethe’s Cityscapes Blog

Check it out if you have time

categories: Architecture, Culture, Laos, photography, Travel

A few images from the Khmer-style ruins of Wat Phu in Champasak, Laos.





categories: Architecture, Culture, Journalism, Media, Vietnam

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Saigon’s Eden Building.
Saigon based film maker Peter Scheid has some interesting footage of the place, following its last years from 2005 to 2011 – check it out:

PS: these are only some of the 9 episodes available on youtube

and then I stumbled upon this cool temple…

Khmer Temple

Khmer Temple

Khmer Temple

Khmer Temple

I was walking through downtown Bangkok when I had to stop for a moment… there was an amazing mixture of sounds. An old Chinese looking man was playing the Violin, not a real song yet deeply sad. Out of loudspeakers at the next shopping mall every minute the same announcement in Thai was repeated. The Skytrain rolled in. I took a deep breath in the hot and steamy Bangkok afternoon, got touched by a slight breeze… and then I started recording and shooting at the same time…

This is the result.

Bangkok – Siam Square – May 2011 from Christian Berg on Vimeo.

Few cities change as fast as Saigon does. Leave for a few months and where once was one of your favorite cafes in an old charming colonial building now a new modernist highrise fantasy is looming over downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Of course this is the course (and maybe the curse) of modernity, but here in Saigon it just seems to strike stronger than in other places. Maybe my European roots make me feel sad when I see the old witnesses of history, such as the Eden building being mown down like weeds on a golf course. At least we had our fare share of sins that we now regret. Here in Vietnam the attachment to the past does not seem strong. And why not? Colonial architecture probably only reminds of years of suppression. But will future generation see it the same way? As a visitor here this is probably not my question to answer.

However I had the luck to visit the famous Eden building in Downtown Saigon just a few weeks before it was finally torn down. The chance to witness a historic place that is now gone forever. Not only was it place to the well known cafe Givral, but also did it host the office of the Associated Press during the American Vietnam war. Many pulitzer prices passed this ancient halls before they changed the public perception of this war forever.

Here a few images in reminiscence of one of the underestimated buildings of the younger past:

Saigon's District 1 at dusk. Lots of new high rise buildings appear every year. Vietnam 2010

A view of Eden building and Vincom Towers in downtown Saigon, Vietnam 2010

The "Eden" sign of the building with the same name in front of the new built Vincom Towers in Saigon, 2010

Some of the last inhabitants of Saigon’s famous Eden building

The inhabitants used to have lots of greenery inside Saigon's Eden Building, Vietnam 2010

This young artist was one of the last inhabitants of Saigon's Eden Building

The door of the former AP office in Saigon's Eden Building 2010

Saigon, Eden Building and Dong Khoi, Vietnam 2010

The rest of Saigon's Eden Building, Vietnam 2011

Where once the Eden Building stood is now a huge construction side, Saigon, Vietnam, 2011

for further reading there was this story in The Independent a few weeks ago…

Since beginning of the year I take part in an interesting blogging project by the German cultural institution Goethe Institute. The project is called Cityscapes and connects young journalists in Asia, Australia and Europe. The idea is to look at urban life at the beginning of the 21st century. Every months there is a different topic for the bloggers to explore through text and images. For em a great way to see the common points and differences of some of the most exiting places of the world. My recent entry looks at the brave new world of Saigon’s hypermodern suburb Phu My Hung… Looking forward to see how this whole project develops!