The Soul of Vietnam

Jun 12, 2017

On June 19, Distant Lands hosts Larry D’Attilio, a photographer and now author of The Soul of Vietnam, which “seamlessly explor(es) from North to South… express(ing) an awareness of subjects from the magnificent to the mundane.”

“I had no intention to create a journalistic view of the country,” states Larry D’Attilio, “instead I wanted to describe the people, country and culture from my subjective understanding”.

The book’s images mitigate the decadent ideas many people have about Vietnam. Today it is less a place of rice fields, disenfranchised peasants, and backwards economics. It also is not a country of overwhelming social conditioning determined by a paternalistic government. It helps to know it is the world’s thirteenth largest population and among the fastest expanding economies. It is endless beautiful sand beaches, very high mountains, a greatly expanded middle class, and a culture that beckons you to go there and stay for a long time. (Official text)


© Larry D’Attilio.


“To begin to understand the fabric of Vietnamese life, one must understand the smaller units, or the villages. One must understand the Confucianism, animism and superstitions that have a hand in all Vietnamese decision-making. The older population’s beliefs about relationships are fast becoming quaint stories in the eyes of the youth, and a sexual revolution is bound to be a result as women emerge as a force to be reckoned with. Rural youth are moving into the cities at a pace that cannot yet accommodate them. Yet, they want what they sense is coming: a better and more hopeful life.”
—Larry D’Attilio

The Soul of Vietnam is D’Attilio’s intimate homage over six years to a culture that thinks on its feet, comprehends its place on Earth, and has an increasing perception of its own power.  With one foot in the past, its current move into the global arena will be fascinating to observe.


© Larry D’Attilio.


Anthony D’Attilio, Larry’s father, is said to have created “the interior ocular panel designs in the domes of the chambers of the U.S. Congress Senate and House of Representatives, produced on glass by Harriton Carved Glass of New York, in which he was a partner.”

Larry’s biography mentions that he received guidance from his father and subsequently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at University of Louisville. He went on to intern with W. Eugene Smith and Ansel Adams and during the 1970s, most of Larry’s work was large format and self-printed. Just before the turn of the century, Larry embraced “computer-driven editing printing” and this, in turn, led him to an interest in “constructed images.” For the last decade, Larry’s work has reflected his yearly multi-month visits to Vietnam. The Soul of Vietnam contains more than 140 of his photographs and some written text.


Larry D’Attilio



The Soul of Vietnam with Lawrence D’Attilio
Monday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
Free event
RSVP by calling 1.626.449.3220
Are more info, visit


Ha Giang Province, Vietnam. © Larry D’Attilio.


© Larry D’Attilio




¹ “Revisiting Vietnam: The Photography of Larry D’Attilio” by Eddee Daniel Fine Art,, September 2010.


© Larry D’Attilio.


© Larry D’Attilio.





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