BY DENIS GRAU

The last year was really rough for my sister. She had a nerve-wracking break-up behind her and is stuck in a job without perspective. Since we both love traveling, we decided to escape winter in Germany from Christmas to mid-January and travel through Vietnam, from the hot south to the rainy north.

Usually we both get along very well. Maybe that’s because we both live in different cities and only see each other every two to three weeks. But now three weeks in a row. Day and night. How will that be? Can that work out? We are both very different people with different interests, so I was a bit worried that we would argue in the first few days. Like when we were kids. Good thing we have two things in common: the urge to discover new things and Vietnamese cuisine. And so, after a few small entry problems at the airport of Ho Chi Minh City, our journey began: three weeks, in a different climate, more than 1700 kilometres to Hanoi and various stopovers. All this by plane, bus and train.

I often travel alone and I really love this. To concentrate completely on photography and the location. Having my sister with me at first seemed a bit strange to me. Especially because I’m not used to being watched by someone while taking pictures, being commented and criticised constantly. But after some time and several kilometres of walking, it became normal. You get used to everything. Photography became even a minor matter at some point. We talked, discussed, joked and laughed as we wandered through breathtaking scenery. While sitting on the backseat in a cab, driving through the traffic or hanging out in a cafe. It all took its course. And sometimes I wondered how we suddenly talked about our childhood from the topic of “job perspectives”, for example. How we felt the same to a situation long ago or why we reacted in part so differently. What was missing from my memories, my sister often knew and vice versa. This trip was, so to speak, a completion of our story.

“Please wait a moment, I have to take that picture,” I said and ran a few metres down a side street. My sister followed me. “You always take pictures of such weird things,” she said. “Yes I know. But I can’t tell you why,” I replied.

At some point I stopped looking for explanations as to why I was taking pictures. That was also because I often cannot put it in words myself. I just simply don’t know. Maybe because I do not want to forget that one particular momentwhat you feel when you see something for the first time. A certain smell, a feeling, a person or a situation. You forget things; inevitably and no matter how much you fight against it. One thing is for sure: on the next trip with my sister, we will also complete our memory of Vietnam.

去年我妹妹過得很艱難——她經歷了一次崩潰的分手,工作又看不到未來。因為我們都熱愛旅行,就幹脆決定在聖誕節到一月中旬逃離德國的冬季,橫穿越南,從炎熱的南部一直到多雨的北部。

通常我們倆相處得很好,也許是因為生活在不同的城市,每兩到三周才見一次面的緣故。而現在我們將連續三個星期日夜相對,不知道到時候會是什麼樣,能行得通嗎?我們是截然不同的人,有著不同的興趣,我有點擔心頭幾天會吵起來——就像我們小時候那樣。但好的地方是我們有兩個共同點:發現新事物的沖動和越南美食。於是,在胡誌明市的機場發生一些小小的入境問題後,我們開始了這段旅程:三個星期,不同的天氣,距河內1700多公裏的路程,還有多次中途的短暫停留。所有這些都是通過飛機、公共汽車和火車完成。

我熱衷於獨自旅行,也經常這麼做,這樣可以完全專註於攝影和機位。起初妹妹在旁讓我感覺有點奇怪,尤其我不習慣在拍照時被別人盯著看,還要不斷受到評價和批評。但是就這麼一起走了幾公裏後,我開始習慣她的存在,甚至在某些時刻攝影變得無關緊要。我們一邊漫步在壯麗的風景中,一邊聊天、討論、插科打諢、哈哈大笑。也許坐在出租車的後座上,穿梭於車流之中,也許在咖啡館閑逛。一切按部就班。有時我會好奇,我們究竟是如何突然從一個話題,比如“工作前景”,轉移到童年上去的。好奇我們為什麼對過去的某個情境有同樣的感受,或者為什麼我們在同一件事上有不同的反應。妹妹通常記得那些被我遺忘的事,反之亦然。可以說,這次旅行讓我們的故事完整。

“請等一會,我要拍一張照片。” 說著我向小巷子裏跑了幾米,“你總是拍這些奇奇怪怪的東西,” 妹妹跟著我過來,“我知道,但我也說不清為什麼。” 我答道。

從某個時刻開始,我停止找尋拍照的原因,也許是因為我常常不能用語言表達自己的想法,我真的不知道怎麼說。也許是因為我不想忘記那特別的一刻——第一次看見某個東西時的感受,某種氣味,某種感覺,某個人或某種情景。不論如何與之抗衡,人總是無法避免遺忘。但可以肯定的是:下次和妹妹一起旅行,我們也將讓這段關於越南的回憶變得完整。


Denis Grau was born in 1987 in Kempten, Germany. After finishing a graphic design apprenticeship in 2014, he started working as a designer, art director and copywriter in an advertising agency. His photographic interest began in 2010 after he dropped out of the German army and could afford his first camera. Since then, he started working on personal projects as well as for commercial?clients, documenting mostly industrial workers and the industrial environment. You can see his whole body of work on www.denisgrau.com

Denis Grau 於 1987 年出生在德國肯普滕。2014 年完成平面設計見習後,在一家廣告公司擔任設計師、美術指導和撰稿人。2010 年他退出德國軍隊,買了人生第一臺相機,就此開始了對攝影的興趣。從那時起,他一邊拍攝個人項目,一邊為商業客戶工作,拍攝以記錄工人和工業環境為主。您可以在 www.denisgrau.com 看到他的全部作品。