What about those ducklings?

March 05, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Vietnam"Ducklings" - Can Tho Market, Vietnam© Copyright David Simchock
Without a doubt, one of the most popular and eye-catching photos that I've ever taken is my "Ducklings" image (below). For over 15 years now, I have been answering the following questions about the photo:

1. Where was the photo taken?

2. Did you place the white duckling in the basket?

3. Did you "Photoshop" the one duckling to make it white?


I thought I'd take the opportunity to clear up some of the mystery about my famous "Ducklings" photo. Here goes...

First, the short answers:

1. Vietnam

2. No.

3. Absolutely not!


Now, the back story...

During my grand sabbatical from my engineering / management career just after the turn of the millennium, I spent about four months in Southeast Asia, three weeks or so of that in Vietnam (the remaining time in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia). In the southern part of the country, I visited the popular Can Tho Market. It's an absolutely fascinating place, especially for someone like me who loves sampling local food, meeting local people, and exploring the endless photo ops in such settings. 

As I wandered through the aisles, I just happened to look down at one point, and what did my I see? Yep, a basket full of yellow ducklings. Well, actually, not every bird was yellow. There, sitting in a near-perfect "rule of thirds" composition, was one little white duckling. And, if that wasn't amazing enough, it was the only one looking up at me when I stopped to have a look. This moment was a photographer's dream! And, had I not looked down when I did I may have walked right past the basket!

With great excitement, I whipped out my Nikon, wound the film (remember that stuff?), set the camera on "auto", leaned over the basket, and took a single frame. Little did I know at the time that I would later become a professional photographer, and that this one photo of a bunch of ducklings would become somewhat of a signature piece for me. Since my early days working with galleries in the Northeast up to now in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, this unique photo has stood the test of time, and continues to be one of my most popular images with art buyers and collectors. And, it still evokes a range of responses, questions, and emotions from those that see it.

So, to set the record straight, by no means did I set up the composition of this shot, and I certainly didn't do any retouching in Photoshop. What you see is what I saw. And, I still have the Kodak Gold negative to prove it! Of course, I have since had the negative scanned (digitized), so all prints are now made using state-of-the-art archival digital printing technology.

You can order your print HERE.

As somewhat of a side note to this story, several times over the years I have had people tell me how this photo "speaks" to them. Not only has this art work found its way to the walls of many a home and office, but that one little white duckling has made quite an impact on quite a few people, and has been the spark of countless conversations about travel, about photography, and about philosophy!

What does this photo "say" to you? Feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

 


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