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Man ‘drowns in garbage’ in haunting photo album by Vietnamese make-up artist

Friday, January 18, 2019, 17:06 GMT+7
Man ‘drowns in garbage’ in haunting photo album by Vietnamese make-up artist
A man 'drowns' in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.

A make-up artist in Ho Chi Minh City has drawn attention to the city’s littering problem with a photo album depicting humans 'drowning' in their own garbage.

Ta Duc Nhon, 30, loves traveling and taking photos of places he visits when he is not working as a make-up artist.

Commuting on Phu Dinh Street in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City on a daily basis, Nhon says he has to witness every day the sight of garbage floating on a canal running parallel to the road, as its water is blackened by pollutants.

“It is a terrible sight,” he said.

Revolted by worsening pollution in the city, Nhon decided to raise his voice on the issue by doing what he is good at: giving stunning make-ups and taking great photos.

A man drowns in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.
A man drowns in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.

Inspired by viral photos in local media of sanitation workers removing tons of garbage from a drainage system in Ho Chi Minh City during the 2018 rainy season, Nhon said he wanted to create something that would remind people to stop trashing the city.

His photo album, uploaded on Nhon’s Facebook page on Tuesday, consists of five photos depicting a man lying in ankle-deep blackish water, surrounded by empty bottles, plastic bags and other garbage.

“What if in the not-too-distant future our children will have to coexist with garbage?” the caption of the photo album reads.

A man drowns in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.
A man 'drowns' in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.

Behind the scenes

There are only two people behind the photo album: Nhon and his model and long-time singer friend Pham Tran Phuong.

Nhon said he used an amateur camera to take the photos, a smartphone to color-grade his works, and his own room as the studio.

“As we couldn’t possibly jump into the polluted canal to do the photoshoot, I had to simulate the dirty water so that it resembled reality to the greatest possible extent,” Nhon said.

A man drowns in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.
A man 'drowns' in dirty water filled with garbage in this set-up photo by Nhon Ta.

He used an inflatable children’s pool and filled it up with coffee to create the dirty water, before adding used bottles, scrap papers and dried leaves as pollutants.

“It took us days to finish the five photos as you see them,” Nhon said.

“I tried my best to portray a spectrum of possible human emotions when faced with a life filled with garbage: fright, acceptance, and resignation,” said Phuong, the model in Nhon’s photos.

“I hope this will help raise people’s awareness of environmental issues,” Phuong added.

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