My images of Vietnam and Cambodia include several recurring themes. Even as I was shooting, I realized that the attraction of these themes would bewilder the subjects: so commonplace in their daily lives but so literally foreign to ours.
One such theme was the scooters. The number of passengers and the weight and volume of cargo carried by small motorbikes was remarkable. The climax was the live water buffalo en route to market. And the ballet of scooter traffic at 30 mph, with few apparent rules or lanes, was entrancing.
I photographed many women in markets. The crowded stalls, the faces of time, the variety of their wares starkly contrasted with American supermarket practice.
While not quite a photographic theme, the scarcity of closed-toed shoes can be seen in several pictures. Flip-flops were everywhere: in the fields, on bicycles, and in factories. The furnace tender in the brick factory was barefoot.
The simplicity of footwear was matched by the simplicity of tools. A cut-down metal can to hand scoop water into irrigation troughs. Plows pulled by water buffalo. Straw brooms to sweep the streets of major cities.
The people, landscapes, food, temples, and daily work and play offered a rich palette of visual experiences so different than our own.