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

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?

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.


Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series 

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series

Untitled, 2018
from the Life after Death: in and near bomb crater ponds series
Untitled, 2018
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 summer of 2014 and winter of 2018, are of bomb craters in and near my mother's home village in Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam. The craters are now filled with rain and groundwater. People often transform the craters into ponds for raising fish and growing lotus and other edible plants. These photographs are a part of an immersive transmedia work-in-progress using still photography, video, and audio to document how the power of nature and the resilience and ingenuity of villagers transform these markers of death into sustaining spaces of life.

Using Format