Ho Chi Minh’s Vision

By Thy Phu Posted May 14, 2013

Figure 1. The Inaugural Issue of Vietnam Pictorial.

Medium cover 1954

Ho Chi Minh learned two lessons from the French. The first, freedom, is well known. The second, photography, is not. While historians know that he worked as a photo retoucher during his years in Paris, most overlook the importance of photography--an invention often credited to the French--for his vision of national independence. In 1953, Ho Chi Minh authorized the establishment of Vietnam Pictorial. With the assistance of Chinese benefactors, the picture magazine launched in October 1954, shortly after victory at Dien Bien Phu earned the Viet Minh freedom from French colonialism. As a photography magazine, Vietnam Pictorial drew heavily on both international, but especially local, sources for images of the nation. 

Figure 2. Girl with Camera.




1-5. Courtesy of Vietnam Pictorial