Film Photography vs Digital: Vietnam in 11 Incredible Pictures

October 22, 2015 by Christopher Atkinson

Vietnam is a heady hodgepodge of old and new. From its ancient temples in Da Nang to the modern shopping centres of Ho Chi Minh City, you can find a historical contrast pretty much anywhere. Staying true to the country’s theme, Christopher Atkinson took it upon himself to capture this enchanting Southeast Asian country on both traditional film and while using a digital SLR camera. Prepare yourself for a photographical time-warp…

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This shot was captured in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on a vintage 1977 Nikon film camera. I was taking a rest in the late afternoon sun after travelling back from the amazing town of My Tho.

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After flying through the night to reach Vietnam, this was a well-deserved and welcome meal in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Tofu, glass noodles and a beer was the fuel I needed to get out and explore this bustling city. Shot on a vintage Nikon 35mm film camera.

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Crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City can be a daunting task, but as your time in this frenetic city grows, so will your confidence in hitting the tarmac. Look forward, walk forward and the mopeds shoot around you like flies! This is a film image shot using my retro camera.

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I took this photograph when exploring the depths of the Cholon. This amazing little contraption aided city cleaners in ridding the busy market streets of litter. As the workers took a break the broom lady tried to sell her wares from a cart in the midday heat. Shot on film with my Nikon fm2.

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I shot this on the drive south from Hue to Hoi An. It was an interesting time to visit this historic holiday hotspot as it was out of season, allowing a little lady to use the beach as a road for her motorcycle. The sea was rough and the clouds stuck to the mountains like glue but, just beyond the peaks, the sun was shining in Hoi An. This is a digital image shot with my Nikon DSLR.

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En route to the idyllic South China Sea coastline of Hoi An, I got out my film camera to capture these amazing paddy fields which provide food and a livelihood for so many people around the town.

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As the sunset over this beautiful town I took a moment to capture the daily ritual where the fishermen gather their boats, nets and lights to go night fishing. I love the colours in this image – caught using my analogue Nikon camera.

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During a walk along the beach at Hoi An I couldn’t help but capture this image on my 35mm Nikon camera. Three elderly fishermen were setting out to get the catch of the day, using nothing but a line, some bait and a big can as a reel. The fishermen saw me looking intrigued, and welcomed me warmly by showing me how they catch squid.

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This image was shot using my Nikon DSLR when exploring the picturesque streets of Hoi An. This is a standard sight here: the town is known for its traditional lanterns, many of which you can see hanging from doors and windows of houses around the town in the early evening. They are in popular demand from locals and tourists alike.

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In Bến Thành market, a popular hotspot in Ho Chi Minh, I captured this photograph on my digital Nikon DSLR while waiting for dinner. Their most popular dish was charcoal-cooked red snapper but I opted for a more authentic dish in this lively street environment.

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This is a common sight across the whole of Vietnam. When people – young and old – need a rest they simply lay on their beloved motorcycles for some downtime. Using my vintage Nikon film camera, I snapped this man having a snooze in the streets of Hanoi on my way to paying homage to the great leader Ho Chi Minh.


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About the Author:

My name is Christopher Atkinson and I am a travel, street and portrait photographer who shoots under the pseudonym Ascending Aperture. I use a mixture of mediums from 35mm and 120 film to digital SLRs. I have a deep passion for travel photography, and I love the challenge of capturing quick or intimate moments and daily events which other people may not see. Follow me here: blog, InstagramFacebook


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About Christopher Atkinson

I am a travel, street, and portrait photographer who shoots under the pseudonym Ascending Aperture. I use a mixture of mediums from 35mm and 120 film to digital SLRs. I have a deep passion for travel photography and I love the challenge of capturing quick or intimate moments and daily events which other people may not see. Follow me on Instagram @ascendingaperture