Bomb crater pond inTien Giang, Vietnam. Boone Nguyen

My grandmother was buried here in an unmarked grave, during the Japanese occupation in WWII. A US bomb made the crater in the background years later. When I first visited the site during the rainy season in 2013, the crater was filled with water and its surface was covered with algae and plants. Does she rest here still despite the violent impact of the bomb and the erosive power of water?

Photo by Boone Nguyen, Bomb Crater, Tien Giang, Vietnam

When I returned during the dry season in 2018, the bomb crater had been partially filled and the sacred ground in which my grandmother rests had been prepared for the building of her tombstone during the Thanh Minh Festival.


Photo by Boone Nguyen, Bomb Crater, Tien Giang, Vietnam
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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds

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Photo by Boone Nguyen of mangoes growing near a bomb crater pond in Tien Giang, Vietnam.
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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series
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from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

By the end of the U.S. War in Vietnam (1959-1975), the United States dropped 7 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, at least three times the amount deployed in Europe and Asia during World War II. These images — taken during the wet season of 2013 and 2014 and the dry season of 2018/19 — are of bomb craters and their environs, in and near my mother's home village in Tiền Giang Province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region. The craters are now filled with rain and groundwater. Villagers often transform the craters into ponds for raising fish and growing lotus and other plants. These photographs are a part of an ongoing project using still photography, video, and soundscapes to document how the power of nature and the ingenuity of villagers can transform these markers of death into sustaining spaces of life.

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