The Swiss connection

Swiss flag.

Ms Gillian Le, from my previous blog post, got in touch with me again. She had moved onwards to a new position and wanted to share the good news. I was invited for a tour of her new work place, The German International School in Saigon, GIS.

257 Hoang Van Thu Street. The street sounded familiar. I have been traveling on this road more times than I can recall. I also couldn’t recall ever seeing a German school along the way. I set out and started counting until I reached 257, a long wall opposite a park near the airport, aptly named Hoang Van Thu Park.

A school insignia and passed a guarded entrance and there I was, entering a different place, or so it felt. Coming just off one of the busiest streets I walked down a lane, almost like a country lane and headed towards a villa from a distant time and the traffic roar fading as my steps took me closer. A full-sized green grassed football pitch, newly cut, on my right hand side. Greeting signs on my left.

The villa that is the German International School, photographs well in black and white and with a hint of sepia tone. It fits its image. The staircase inside as well. Its sleek lines make a beautiful composition. No wonder Ms Gillian wanted me to have a look. In a city that is constantly re-inventing its skyline with newer buildings and designs, it is rare to be able to access some of the older ones.

The German International School, view from courtyard.

Courtyard in use.


I arrived at nap time. I never quite understand how children can get into sleeping positions like this one.

Nap time.

During my tour, a recurring thought hits me again and again. This doesn’t feel like a school, this feels like a house. Indeed it is, it is still a small community and very much an extended family for German speaking nationalities.

Welcome to the classroom.

One, Two and Three.

The school cap.

Even the hallways are filled with painted murals and the large windows are a photographers best friend.

Butterfly as part of the mural.


Outside again, I notice the ceramic pigs with the the German word “Willkommen” , “Welcome” in English, “Velkommen” in Norwegian and it is true, it is a very welcoming place.


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Recommended, Review

Saigon Creative Morning, a monthly serving of fresh ideas, inspiration, coffee & uncertain bakery items

Morning coffee for Creative souls.

Friday morning came, so did our attendees and our speaker, Dustin Nguyen. Coffee and pastry in hand, people started the small talk. Mingling around, then moved on to secure a good seat before kick off. After a short introduction, Dustin Nguyen pulled out a chair and started telling. An unplugged speech. An honest approach. Just as himself. Never over promise, never put yourself in a situation that you have promised something that you cannot deliver.

Hearing him tell about when he went into a meeting, sealed the deal, only to find out that most of what he wanted to do is not allowed in Vietnam. Going back and sorting it all out was humbling he said, but in my opinion shows guts and courage. Face the music upfront and you have less of a chance having your own party gatecrashed by unhappy investors or sponsors.

The whole event was filmed and will be released soon, please subscribe at Saigon Creative Morning’s website for further updates.

Below are some images from the event so you can get a feel of the venue and the setup. Enjoy!

Rockstar! David (Bowie) has just put on the music and his smile.

David giving a short introduction. Note the tie to pull down the garagedoor to divide the meeting room area.

The show is on!

Our first speaker, Dustin Nguyen.

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London Calling (with Tales from the Past)

“London calling to the faraway towns

Now that war is declared-and battle come down

London calling to the underworld

Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls

London calling, now don’t look at us

All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust

London calling, see we ain’t got no swing

‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing”

The Clash, 1979 (Strummer/Jones)

London is a fascinating city. Most people end up either loving it or hating it. I simply love it. Spending five years in the city was a great experience. Three years spent studying at Saint Martin’s, two years working. The majority of photography work I did at that time was mostly editorial, with emphasis on London’s music scene. Sverre Ole Drønen, aka droneland, a brilliant music journalist and fellow Norwegian, teamed up and we produced editorial content for Norwegian magazines and newspapers.

Concert photography still have the same rules, images for the first three songs, no flash. That’s it. For the interviews, keep gear to a minimum as we never knew exactly how much time we would get. An assigned 30 minutes slot could easily be reduced to 5 minutes if they where behind schedule.

All images in this post have been photographed with analogue film and scanned on a film scanner. The films where pushed to the limits, (Push processing) to be able to photograph in low light without the use of flash.

Bill Wyman photographed at his restaurant in London.

Henry Rollins, photographed at his hotel room in Long Acre, London.

Tricky at concert in London.

Supergrass, interviewed in London.

Leftfield interviewed in London.

Erasure interviewed at their house in London.

Erasure interviewed at their house in London.

Runaways, photographed after they left their seats.

Motorhead in London.

Lemmy from Motorhead.

High Llamas interviewed in London.

Dr. John interviewed in London.

Ben Christophers arriving to the interview in London.

Kasey Chambers in London.

Ninja Tune interviewed in London.

Sheik Loch interviewed in London.

Kristin Hersh photographed at the backroom of Borders, Oxford Street, after a live performance.

Mr Al.

Melt Banana live in London.

Max Tundra photographed inside his car after the interview in London.

Jill Scott interviewed in London.

Jackie Leven photographed at the airport, only opportunity available.

North Mississippi Allstars before concert in London.

Jazz Cafe live in London.

Jazz Cafe live in London.

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