Vietnam rice planting

Vietnam Rice Planting

Piece description from the artist

Seen from afar, two workers walk through the sprawling rice fields of North Vietnam. I captured this scene during one of my first photo shooting trips to Vietnam.

Near the end of a 2005 trip to Vietnam, I found myself looking at a sweeping display of 1960-70s era news magazine spreads with big, captivating photos. These original pages from Life, Look and the Saturday Evening Post chronicled the Vietnam War and hung in multiple display cases at the War Remembrance Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

Seeing the big spreads of dramatic news photos sparked an epiphany with me – one that would shape my personal life and fine-art photography for years to come.

Even though the magazine news features were about 40 years old, I could remember having seen them during high school. In fact, news coverage of the war and the anti-war movement had galvanized my decision to be a newspaper journalist. And now, four decades later, they were reaching out with an important new inspiration: A one-off vacation trip would be the first of many visits to work on a lengthy project that would become my first photography book: Vietnam 40 Years Later.

Gallerists and editors say my portfolio of Vietnam images solidly stands with one foot in the world of documentary and the other firmly planted in the realm of fine art. As a life-long journalist, this feels like a perfect description. However you categorize the work, it achieves its purpose: the images show viewers what happened to this Southeast Asian country since the highly controversial and violent war ended four decades ago through a collection of carefully crafted, fine-art photographs.

The images have won recognition in photo contests and 10 prints were acquired by the U.S. Library of Congress for their collection. Vietnam 40 Years Later was published in 2014 by Damiani Editore of Bologna, Italy, one of the world’s leading publishers of art books.

Since then, I’ve taken-up other projects, as I seek to grow and develop as an artist. Nevertheless, Vietnam remains a key interest and I am looking for ways to update his project, as the 50-year anniversary of the war’s end will roll around in 2024. Thus, I think of it as a living project.

Other works by Robert Dodge

About Robert Dodge

Washington, DC

Robert Dodge is a writer and fine-arts photographer with specialities in travel, documentary, portrait and LGBT themes, as well as iconic scenes of the nation's capital. Robert has lived in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years, first as Washington correspondent for The Dallas Morning News. He is currently on a long-term, self-assignment in Bangkok, Thailand, and photo shooting in Southeast Asia as covid restrictions permit. After leaving daily journalism in 2006, he founded Robert Dodge Visual Media. His first major project focused on what happened to Vietnam in the four decades after the war. The project was printed in 2014 as a book, "Vietnam 40 Years Later," by the Italian art-book publisher, Damiani. Ten prints from the project were acquired by the U.S. Library of Congress for its permanent historical collection. The project won top honors in FotoWeekDC's Uncover/Discover contest in 2013. In 2010, an image from the project won an honorable mention in the Santa Fe Workshop's LIGHT contest. And more recently, an image from the book was a winner in LifeFramer's 2020 contest, YOUTHHOOD. As a journalist, The Dallas Press Club honored Robert for his Dallas Life Magazine story "Mr. Bentsen and the President," which chronicled the close relationship between Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and President Bill Clinton. In 1999-2001, Robert was president of the National Lesbian and Journalists Association. Robert continues to work on writing and photography projects and is available for commissions.

See Robert's portfolio here
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