We triple dog dare you

I’ve heard from a few people who were disturbed by one of my photos from the War Remnants Museum in the Saigon, Vietnam slide show.

It shows a photograph of a woman reflected in a plastic case that contains actual human fetuses. Both the woman and the fetuses suffer from severe deformities caused by Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant that the American military sprayed willy nilly all over Vietnam during the war. The War Remnants Museum (and that display) was a fiercely blunt reminder of the lasting affects of the deplorable war inflicted on the Vietnamese people and their environment. The photo is not very specific – reflections, angles, and composition bring some abstract, consolatory distance from the subject.

> Click here to see the photo

People told me either that my photo was too graphic or they didn’t want to see such a photo mixed in a slide show that included photos of food – or a mix of both reasons.

I thought of removing the photo from the slide show, but I felt like I would be editing my experience. Yes, Todd and I are seeing some of the world’s most stunning sites, eating amazing dishes, and meeting wonderful people on our trip. I’m taking lots of pretty pictures. At the same time, we are traveling through countries that are culturally very different from the States, have been scourged by violence – sometimes quite recently – or are incredibly poor. Not everything we see is pretty.

What would I do with the photos I’ve already shared of a gory bullfight, skinned shrink-wrapped sheep heads, and tragically beautiful but poor child? I choose to keep them all.

Through Ephemerratic.com, Todd and I hope to share – both through my writing and photos and through Todd’s art – the full experience of our travels. We have other photos, art, and stories yet to come that may remind you of how fantastic, awful, beautiful, unusual, and diverse humanity can be.

We dare you to look.