We have all been advised by fashion gurus that revamping our homes and wardrobes with vibrant colors can lift our spirits. I recently read somewhere that there are 17 million colors in the universe, with each hue possessing the power to stir the spirit. The Pantone Color Institute even said that “the right colors stimulate or relax our senses, release happy memories and reflect how we think about ourselves”.
My classic “love them because they make me happy for some reason” colors have always been deep red, green, royal purple, and their million tones, though not necessarily all together at the same time. In clothing, I always thought they made me feel stylishly appropriate, without having to feel that I have settled for safely elegant black, brown and beige. In the home, I have always loved using those neutral colors with punches of vivid color as accents or one single punch of color on a dramatic piece of furniture, such as a chaise lounge in the living room, for example.
My relationship with color changed dramatically when I started to return to Asia after a 15-year absence. My work at the time allowed me the chance to travel in the region and delight my eyes with a whole different spectrum of shades and tones. I had started to understand the seriousness of the work of those Pantone people. For the first time, I felt more comfortable experimenting with color in my life, trying out daring new combinations and inventing new moods.
Vietnam is a country full of ‘color-epiphany’ moments. This is why photographers love traveling through it. The landscape is diverse, with a long and beautiful coastline, rock formations, mountains, and sand dunes. Although it is modernizing, one can still observe traditional lifestyles and the diversity in the people, cuisine, and customs as one travels from the north to the south.
The ubiquitous and all-important market, whether on the water or in a fixed location, such as the Ben Thanh market, never fails to impress with its displays of rare tropical fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
In a city house garden, in a countryside pond, or peeking out in the middle of a fertile field, the lotus, orchid, water lily, peach blossom and plum blossom represent the Elite Flower Club of Vietnam. Trees and their leaves also offer colorful visual relief on an overcast day in the wet-season.
Behind the beauty of these rural Technicolor scenes lies a tireless work ethic.