Pain and Grace
By Jim Gensheimer, Kristin Huckshorn and Mark McDonald
Review by Allison Martin
In Pain and Grace - A Journey Through Vietnam, the outstanding photography of photojournalist Jim Gensheimer illustrate the contrasts that make up modern day Vietnamese life. Gensheimer capture the beauty and quiet intensity of a country in the midst of dramatic change - where the struggles of the past and and hopes of the future are met with courage and pride. Each photograph dramatizes a poignant moment in the lives of the Vietnamese people - a lotus glows in a dusty Koi pond; gentle light on the wise face of an elderly Vietnamese gentleman at tea, children playing in an orphanage in Danang, the meeting of a brother and sister separated for 19 years... These images portray an emotional impact that is familiar to visitors to Vietnam, with a poignancy that is hard to forget.
The artistic quality and clarity of the photographs in this "coffee table" book are exceptional. Vibrant colors emerge from a somber background as archetypal moments of time are caught forever in each image.
This isn't a book for very young children (although older children will enjoy many of the photographs), instead it is a rewarding resource for adults who enjoy a thoughtful study of Vietnam and its people. If you are looking for a photographic journal of Vietnam, beyond the ordinary, which explores the emotional and physical contrasts of this multifaceted land, this book will be one you pick up time and time again.
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