From the Archive

    From the Archive is a regular column that features one image from our archive and appears every Thursday. LUCEO Images has a thorough group archive (keyword search bar, top right) and it can be at the LUCEO Image Archive.

    This week we are featuring an archive image taken by Kevin German in Vietnam.

    About This Image:

    “When I first met Thang, he was nine-years-old. He was grossly underweight and extremely shy. Thang suffers from Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a common congenital heart defect (CHD) that occurs when there is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart. Symptoms of VSD include shortness of breath, fast heartbeats, loss of appetite, poor weight gain, chest pain, and discolored blue skin. In addition, other areas of the child’s development such as physical growth and brain development are affected if VSD is left untreated.

    He lives in the coastal town of Nha Trang with his mother, grandmother, and 10-month-old brother. Thang’s father, Bui Van Tri, spends much of his time away from his family, as he is a fisherman and works up and down the coastline. His income is about 400,000VND (~$23USD) per month; however, this salary is seasonal and there are months when he earns nothing at all. Thang’s mother, Nguyen Thi Bach Tuyet, is 31-years-old and is a housewife. She cannot work as she must look after Thang, his brother, and his grandmother. Therefore, the family of five is solely dependent on Thang’s father’s income. The family lives in a lean-to extension of Thang’s uncle’s house that is just eight square meters with a tin roof, cement floor, and brick walls.

    I collaborate often with the NGO, VinaCapital Foundation. One of their primary programs is to supply heart operations to children living in Vietnam. I followed Thang and his mother though his life-saving, open-heart surgery at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

    In this particular frame, Thang is wincing in pain as he is given anesthesia for his operation. His mother, middle back, began crying and after Thang passed out, she had to leave.

    One year later I saw Thang again. He was running around and playing with other children in Nha Trang. He had gained a considerable amount of weight and he was smiling like I had never seen before. The surgery was a success.

    Recently one of my photographs of Thang was oddly enough signed by Jack Nicholson and Angelina Jolie and auctioned off in Vietnam for $10,000 USD. The money was used to save three more children through successful heart operations.” – Kevin German

    To view the full edit from this shoot or to license this image, please visit the LUCEO Images Archive