Blog by Vietnam based documentary Photographer Christian Berg
categories: Journalism, Myanmar, photography, society

Yangon Drift is a personal and subjective account of my first visit to the former capital of Burma.
After spending a few days roaming around the city, I decided not to do a story in the conventional way, but to do something I felt I could only do this time – a total subjective visual account of my first time in this place. Any time after that I would come here again, I would have expectations. So i tried to capture this fresh first impression. Looking at the liberalization process of Myanmar I also think that the country will look very different the next time I will be there. Already the country is seen as “the final frontier” one of the last untapped markets in the world, and what this means can be seen all over Southeast Asia. Yangon Drift is a snapshot of the moment when it all starts…

Yangon Drift – Images by Christian Berg

categories: Cambodia, Culture, Journalism, photography

Finally. Since 4 years I wanted to go to the Angkor Photo Festival but for one reason or another I never made it until now. But this year I planned my trip already months ago and put it as a fixed date in my calender. I should have done this in earlier years too. For sure I will do it for the next year. There is for sure no better event in Southeast Asia for anyone seriously interested in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography.

For a bit more than a week the small town of Siem Reap in Cambodia which is usually know as a basecamp for tourists to visit the spectacular temples of Angkor Wat gets flooded with Photojournalists, Photographers, Editors and other media people from all over Asia and the rest of the world. Besides a yearly photo workshop for young Asian photographers there are a lot of things to do. Every evening there are different exhibitions opening all over town and after that there is usually an evening of slideshows in the nice Garden of Siem Reap’s Foreign Correspondent’s Club (or short FCC) followed by beers and talks until early morning @ Laundry Bar which became the late night hang out of the festival. During daytime there are also lots of possibilities to catch up with likeminded people and speak about current projects or do portfolio reviews.

For me it was simply a mind blowing experience to meet so many photographers from all over the world, some I heard of before, some I met in the social media before, some were new to me, some were old hacks who have been in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War and others just recently came here. But all conversations were great and inspiring. Especially it was a great pleasure to spend a lot of time and silly chats with the Vietnam Expat Photographers Crew (Kevin German, Aaron Joel Santos and Justin Mott) – now I finally know how to master Photography and what these scarfs are for!

categories: Journalism, photography, Thailand, Travel

I must say I really enjoy working on projects in Bangkok. For various reasons:

1) The city is incredibly photogenic. I have always been attracted to cities that have this kind of dystopian blade-runner feeling. Cities that seem to be build in the sky. Not only the highrises but inner city highways, walkways the skytrain etc. Layer upon layer an urban maze is created, and if it is the magic hour close before or after sunrise or sunset, when the natural light mixes with neon light and steam rises from the food stalls, the city simply blows me away.

2) This place is just full of stories that wait to be told. Happy and sad ones. Loud and quite stories. Small ones and big ones. I just shot a nice smaller story last weekend. Soon to be seen here or at least linked from here.

3) The city is definitely one of the pulsing cores of Southeast Asia. A gateway.

4) And if I am not shooting right now, there are always great people to catch up with.

5) I simply like to have a break from Saigon once in a while. Even though I am deeply in love with the Thanh Pho (Ho Chi Minh City) living in Southeast Asia always meant to me to be in more than one place.. If possible at the same time ;-)

6) I just started learning Thai and of course touching base here helps a lot in terms of motivation

7) ah, and this is of course also not photography related but I can actually buy clothes, books and graphic novels here… hard for me to do so in Saigon.

Here 3 images to get in the mood. More to come soon!


categories: general, Journalism, Media, Vietnam

Last year I wrote a blog post about the so called “old hacks” re-union of former Vietnam war correspondents in Saigon.

A few weeks ago I found a few images by photographer Jay Vandevoort posted on flickr. So I had the rare chance to see myself in action: here taking pictures of Pulitzer price winner Nick Ut and here having a chat with Peter Arnett and Eddie Lederer.

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

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!

categories: History, Journalism, Vietnam

Last month around 50 former journalists who covered the Vietnam War gathered at the evening of April 29th 2010 at the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to celebrate the “old hacks” reunion, one day before the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Some of those “Old Hacks” are real giants of Journalism, such as Nick Ut who took the famous image of the young girl in a Napalm attack:

Nick Ut’s Pulitzer price image

Other participants where for example Michael Morrow who was one of the founders of Dispatch News Service, the agency that broke the story on the My Lai Massacre or famous war photographer Time Page who is said to be the inspiration for Dennis Hopper’s role in Apocalypse Now. Another interesting person was Al Rockoff a freelance Photojournalist who witnessed the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in 1975 and who was portrayed by John Malcovich in the movie The Killing Fields. And of course Peter Arnett who won a Pulitzer Price for his coverage of the Vietnam War in 1966 and later became the face of the Gulf War (it is interesting by the way to note that Arnett now teaches Journalism in China). Obviously an exciting evening at the Caravelle Hotel!

I had the chance to join this event and take a couple of shots:

oldhacks – Images by Christian Berg

Here an article that my friend Thomas Maresca wrote about the Reunion for the Associated Press.