JUSTIN MOTT
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As Above So Below | Journal

A journal taking you behind the scenes of my ongoing personal project "As Above So Below" dedicated to capturing the beauty of Vietnam through a series diptychs shot from above and below.  

Chapter 1 | Ha Giang, Vietnam


I've always had a special place in my heart for Ha Giang, I've been photographing the region for fun and on assignment since I moved to Vietnam in 2007. In my option it's the most beautiful part of this country.

Hà Giang province rests in northern Vietnam, bordering China. It's known for its forested limestone and granite mountains, it's like Sapa but without all the tourists and development.   The sweeping views from the roads carved into the mountains are scary for people with weak stomachs and fear of heights but a treasure for landscape photographers. 

Quản Bạ pass, also known as Heaven's Gate for its panoramic views over terraced rice fields below is one of the huge draws so that was definitely on my list to shoot. 

Lanscape photography isn't my forte but I couldn't bypass that here because the views are just so stunning. We raced up the mountain road to capture sunrise and at Heaven's Gate a gift from the gods was offered to us in the form of beautiful sun rays streaming through the cloud.

We drove from location to location hunting for pictures. I came across a young boy trekking up the mountain road as we flew our drone perched upon a jaw dropping ledge with a view of the valley below. His grandfather had just passed away so he took the day off of school to just walk. As he say on the guardrail watching our drone in awe, I snapped a few pictures of him in thoughts . I met another young boy the following day playing a traditional instrument on a jagged rock, the Kenny G of the countryside of Vietnam. At first glance I thought he just went their to play but after I was done photographing I realized this was a popular place for tourists to pull over to admire the view and give the local children sweets.

Ha Giang is a special place for me and while I'm happy with what we captured on this trip, I might have to go back during a different season just to get more.

Check out the gallery of completed diptychs below along with a gallery of behind the scenes images of my team in action. 



Behind The Scenes