Domestic labour in the suburbs and villages in and around Hanoi, Vietnam.
Photographs by Tessa Bunney.
Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2011. 112 pp., 53 color illustrations, 9¼x6½".
Home Work looks at Vietnam’s ‘craft’ villages. These specialise in a single
product or activity, anything from palm leaf hats to incense sticks, or from
noodle making to snake-catching. Some date back hundreds of years,
whilst others are a more recent response to enable rural farmers to earn
much needed income.
Tessa Bunney spent two six month periods in Vietnam and visited many
of these villages. The traditional village house is typically single storey and
consists of three rooms. The large central room is a multi-purpose living,
sleeping and working area and it is in this room where many of Bunney’s
images are taken, the mix of work and everyday objects fascinating her
visually. Interspersed with images from daily life in the rice fields and in
the villages, these photographs depict ‘working from home’ in an
unromanticised sense, where their subjects, mostly women, balance
childcare with the routine work necessary for survival.
75% of Vietnam’s population currently live in rural areas but as the country
moves towards urbanisation, its agricultural labour force faces losing its
land to urban projects – and its way of life. The country’s growing
population is reducing the availability of farming land, and rural families, no
longer able to sustain themselves from the land, are turning to the creation
of various products. These ‘craft’ villages have become the meeting place
between rural and urban, agriculture and industry. During the last decade,
along with rapid national economic development many craft villages have
increased production up to five fold through small-scale industrial development.
However, the consequence of this shift is increased waste and
environmental pollution with the resources of the landscape becoming
Read Karen Jenkins' review of Home Work in photo-eye Magazine.