When Justin Mott arrived in Hanoi in 2006 to work on a personal project on the effects of Agent Orange he had little conception of the epic relationship that lay ahead. At that stage, he was barely starting out as a professional photographer and Vietnam seemed a good place to hone his style and storytelling skills and to gain a few life experiences along the way.
Since then the nation has worked its way inexorably into his soul, enrichening both him and his work and offering him a platform to become one of the most celebrated photographers in Southeast Asia. He has voyaged the length and breadth of the country, capturing its incredible people, places and culture on assignments for major international clients.
Now, after over a decade in Vietnam, Mott is about to embark on one of his most personal projects yet: a photographic ode to the country that welcomed him, inspired him and has contributed to his success. As Mott says himself: it’s a mark of his love and gratitude towards a place that has given him so much. Over the coming two years, he will revisit many of his favorite destinations in Vietnam with one overriding goal – to capture as much of its pure beauty as possible.
The ongoing project – which will be entitled As Above So Below -- will be series of diptychs shot throughout the land using a blend of styles including portrait, aerial, fine art, and grittier daily life photography. To create a bond between images, each aerial shot will correspond to a shot taken at ground level. As well as being a celebration of Vietnam, the photographs are intended as a gift to the country. While Mott plans to use his shots as the source material for a travelling exhibition and a book, he also wants to offer his work as a resource for the nation and its people. As such, he will break with professional photographic custom and make the finished collection available for free and unlimited use for personal and commercial purposes.