Here and There

Here and There, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.
Well, its official... my next exhibition will be held at Le Pain Quotidien in Surry Hills. Opening Night Tuesday 8th March 6-8pm. If you are in the neighbourhood, please drop by.

The exhibition will be on show from the 8th March to the 27th March and will feature new images from Vietnam and some from my previous exhibition [ my ] 'stralia.

Le Pain Quotidien has great coffee and fabulous food, so if you can't make opening night, pop in any day between 8am - 5pm and treat yourself.

n.b. I will not be providing airfares for any of my interstate or international friends. Sorry. :(

An Exhibition

Opening Night – All Welcome
6 – 8pm Tuesday 8th March

Le Pain Quotidien
Click Here for Map & Website
cnr Bourke & Fitzroy St, Surry Hills

Exhibition 8th - 27th March, 2011 – 8am to 5pm daily.

Contact Alison: • 0414 53 6600


Musicians, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Woman in Black

Woman in Black, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Woman with Bicycles

Outside the House of Perfect

Just taking a break from the Vietnam photos... Shot this in the Sydney CBD on a Sunday afternoon

The room under the stairs

The Red Lantern

The Red Lantern, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Who is this woman?

Who is this woman with rheumy eyes and betel leaf stains on her lips,
her teeth rotting in her ancient sunken mouth?

Was she ever a little child with shiny black hair and innocent eyes?
Did she sing softly to herself as she played in the village?

Did she ever tread lightly, full of hope and expectation?

Was there a time when she was vital, her breasts young and her hips had a sensuous curve?
Did her heart race when she caught a glimpse of a young man’s face
or heard his voice whispering her name?
Did she laugh, did she giggle, did she dream?

Has she ever lain in a night of passion, an urgent young man at her thigh,
lust reflecting in his soft brown eyes?
Did she ever hold a newborn to her breast?
Its small dark eyes glinting up at her with dependence?
And when the war swept through her country with cyclonic force,
did she sling a gun across her back and fight for her freedom?

She has flowed with the ebb and tide of the Thu Bon River and rowed heavily upstream against its current. Taking passengers and produce forwards, backwards, upstream and back, day after month after year. She would have weathered the monsoonal floods of ‘64 and ‘99 and 2009, when the rich people of town hoisted their precious belongings to the top floors of their houses for safety.

At the end of the day does she have a home to go to, a family?
As she squats and counts the notes she has earned, does anyone hand her a warm bowl of broth?
Does the smoke from the wood fire catch and cling in grey of her wiry hair?
Is there a small bed in a small room where she can rest?
Or does she sleep in her little boat, tethered by an old rope to the dock,
with only the familiar sounds of the night for comfort?

Who is this woman with rheumy eyes and betel leaf stains on her lips
and her teeth rotting in her ancient sunken mouth?

Boat People

Boat People, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Boat Woman

Boat Woman, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Woman with blue scarf

Purple Chilli

Purple Chilli, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.


Savonnerie, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Girl... you've gotta carry that weight

he women who go to Bac Ha markets every Sunday, often travel many miles to get there. Some on the back of motorbikes and some walk, often leaving home during the night in order to arrive at the markets early enough to get the bargains.

So the bag this woman is carrying mightn't be completely full, it mightn't be full of rice, she might not have to walk many miles home with it on her

Boat woman of Hoi An

I confess I don’t know much about the boat women of Hoi An, well to be truthful, I know nothing about them, other than what I observe.

I shift my camera from one arm to the other, protecting a niggling shoulder injury as I watch an elderly women row a group of five people across the river. I’m hot, the sun-block is sliding off my arms, and I am looking foward to sitting down on the balcony one of the riverfront restaurants with an icy cold mango juice. The woman must be at least 70, but it is hard to determine what age she actually is, she looks like she is in her nineties, too old to be rowing boats for a living. She picks up another passenger and several large sacks of rice and rows back.

I wonder if she has been rowing boats across this river all her life, if she has a family to support and what has brought her to this point in her life. When it rains here, for weeks on end, does she still row?

The women seem quite intimidating with their wizened leathery skin and stern expressions. They wait at the river’s edge, tethering their boats by resting one bare brown foot on the concrete dock, as they wait for passengers. They work hard ferrying people across, or along, the river.

They are old and they look tired. They’ve lived through the hardships of war. “We” we bombed these people and now, as elderly women, they are still living in hardship. I feel tired just watching them... and sad.

As I raise my camera to photograph one of the women, she stares back down the lens at me expressionless, she doesn’t care about whether I take her photo or not. Another waves me aside, she doesn’t want her photo taken, and I completely understand why.

I approach another boat woman and raise my camera, she kicks her head back and smiles at me. I take her photo and I thank her. She smiles again.

She is now locked in my bag of memories from Hoi An. I look at the photo and it brings back the smell of the river, the sticky humidity of afternoon and the soft sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat.

And today as I post this photo to share with you, I know she will have been rowing across the river many times, and tomorrow she will do the same, and probably every day until she no longer has the strength to do so.


Champa, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

I've tried really hard to dislike the town of Hoi An... twice. Everyone raves about it, and the rebel in me wants to dislike it out of sheer petulance. It is crowded and touristy... and well, full of tourists. But I guess there is a reason for that. It is charming, its people are charming and if you like eating and shopping, then this is the place to be.

The city of Hoi An possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia during the 1st Century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham (people of Champa) controlled the spice trade in the area, as it was a very successful sea port.


Boatman, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

Vietnam Blues

Vietnam Blues, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

The Artist

The Artist, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.

On a hot day,
in a dark room,
in a hut,
on an island,
in the river,
not far from Hoi An,
in Vietnam,
sits a man who paints.
An artist.

On a hot day,
in an air-conditioned studio,
of a large building,
in a bustling suburb
of Sydney,
in Australia,
in front of an Apple computer,
sits a designer who photographs.
A time traveller.

A house in Hoi An

Woman in a Black Hat

Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet, originally uploaded by alison lyons photography.