A two week Photographic Workshop through time to the colorful and visually rich country of South Vietnam

The Vietnam Photography Workshop with photographer, video journalist, author: Dirck Halstead

Faculty: Dirck Halstead and David H. Lyman
Dates: November 9 to 22, 2008
Maximum enrollment: 14
Package Price: $3,895, $500 single supplement. Non-workshop companion, sharing same room: $1,995.

Assignment: Vietnam

© 1967 by David H. Lyman
Vietnam fisherman
This two-week tour of South Vietnam is an opportunity to explore, photograph and videotape the hidden magic of Vietnam and its people. We begin in Saigon, then travel to Hue, Danang, Hoi An, and locations in between. For Vietnam vets this will be a return visit, a time to match memories with reality; for others the adventure will be a step back into Vietnam's past, into the world of Graham Green's "The Quiet American," and the French Colonial world in "The Lover," by novelist Marguerite Duras. For fathers who served in the RVN in the '60s and '70s it's a time to share their experiences with a son or daughter as they visit old haunts and scenes. For everyone, it's a time to explore, write and make photographs of these cultural centers, remote hamlets, markets, fishing villages and farms of Vietnam. More than a tour of South Vietnam, this is a workshop and learning experience in personal storytelling.

The Tour

Dirck's new book: "A Moment in Time," tells of his time in Vietnam from photographing the Marines landing at Danang, to his years as the UPI Bureau Chief in Saigon. For the 30 years following his tour in Saigon, Dirck was the White House Photographer for Time magazine. He is the founder, publisher and editor of The Digital Journalist, and leads the Platypus DV Workshops, turning news photographers into digital video journalists.
We will begin this experience before we arrive. We will share our research, Web links, expectations and personal itineraries. There will be a Tour Questionnaire to complete, giving you the opportunity to tailor your tour within the tour. We arrive in Saigon on November 9, with an afternoon meeting at the hotel for introductions, a discussion of the schedule, and dinner. The next morning we will spend looking at each others' work, images, video, and writings while getting to know each other as storytellers. Dirck and David will make suggestions for story content, based on our pre-arrival correspondence and review of your visual and written work. We have planned a half-day familiarization tour for each location: Saigon, Hue, Danang and Hoi An, with side trips to cultural centers and old military bases. We are organizing meetings with Vietnamese photographers to share our images and memories as well as gain insight into the local society. Some will wish to explore Vietnam's French Colonial history, its architecture, villages and stately villas. For the vets and journalists returning after so many years, this will be a time to revisit old haunts, as well as see a Vietnam they missed during their tour of duty. For others this will be a trip into the romantic past of Vietnam. For everyone this is a time to collect impressions, notes and images for later publication.


In 1967, David Lyman was a USNR-JO3 (Journalist Third Class) assigned to MCB-71 (a U.S. Navy Seabee outfit, stationed in Chu Lai) where he photographed and wrote stories for Stars & Stripes and his own outfit's monthly newspaper. Forty years later, he is now assembling a book of images and stories on his year in South Vietnam. After returning from Vietnam, David continued writing stories and making photographs for American adventure magazines. In 1973, he started a small summer school for photographers on the Maine coast. That summer school is now The Maine Photographic Workshops
Throughout the workshop Dirck and David will be reviewing personal projects, works-in-progress, photographs and videotape, making suggestions on coverage, technical issues, and possible story leads. The last few days in Saigon, you will be on your own, with a few class meetings to share work, and a lot of one-on-one meetings to shape each participant's story. We will edit and sequence images and review and catalogue tape, create a Web magazine layout with words, images and links to video. The Workshops in Maine will produce a gallery and a DVD of the selected video and still images from our tour.

Who Should Attend

This 14-day photographic tour through South Vietnam is for photographers, digital video journalists and their companions who want to explore and document their encounter with the people of Vietnam, their culture, architecture and art. All participants must be experienced and savvy travelers. All work will be done using digital cameras. You must bring a laptop and editing software. More on this on our Web site. A portfolio is not required for admission. Publishing Goals Each participant is encouraged to create a personal essay or to follow a story of discovery, and to work toward assembling a sequence of images or story by the end of the tour.

Dirck and David will document the adventure as we go, recording music, sound and conversations, photographing and taping the experience, all to produce a short DVD documentary when we get home.

Visit our web site for a full description of this and many other
destination workshops, tours and field projects:


Saigon Streets © 2005 by Dirck Halstead