This series of photographic works was captured in Ba Ria-Vung Tau (formally Phuc Tuy) province in Vietnam over the course of the past two years. The portraits use as a backdrop an actual event that occurred in Vietnam in 1966: the laying of an 11 kilometre minefield in this area by the Australian Army.
Horvat’s images feature Vietnamese and Australian service personnel who were involved in the Vietnam/American war. As he reveals, ‘these portraits seek to explore the effects of conflict upon service personnel of both sides. The lotus flower, which for centuries has been known not only for its great beauty but also for its ability to rise from the mud, is used as a metaphor for renewal and growth and as a signifier of place.’
Situated in the landscape of contemporary Vietnam, these black and white and colour photographs offer a personal window onto the rememberings of individuals clustered around a highly volatile moment in time and space.
Les Horvat is an established Melbourne-based photographer. He has held numerous solo and group exhibitions and for many years worked as an advertising photographer. He currently teaches at the Photography Studies College Melbourne, where he has the role of Academic Director.