Bikes of Burden - Hans Kemp, photograpther in Southeast Asia has published a book about motorcycles in Vietnam as the most important mean of transportation of people and goods.
Bikes of Burden - A tribute to the motorcycles in Vietnam and their importance for transportation and economy


Portrait of Hans Kemp, photographer covering Southeast Asia in general and Vietnam in particular.

" I was born in the Netherlands in 1962. I must have been around 16 years old when I bought my first camera; a Nikon FE.

Darkroom and lighting techniques were introduced to me in photography courses given by a local photographer but it wasn't until I started my travels that my photography started to develop. That was in May 1986 when I bought a one way ticket; Amsterdam - Kuala Lumpur.

18 months later I returned to Holland, with many rolls of film and a restless heart. My first story - about Tibet- got published. I landed a job as tour leader with a company in Amsterdam, Monkey King. They specialized in China tours and in 1988 I guided my first group from Rawalpindi in northern Pakistan to Beijing. What a job! For the next four years I travelled all over China, with groups and, in between tours, on my own.

Hong Kong and China...

Hong Kong became a regular base where it was easy to obtain a new visa for China and Lucky Guesthouse became my new domicile. The first story published in the South China Morning Post Sunday magazine was about fashion models in Guagzhou. It was still not possible to make a living out of photography but with the guiding and teaching English I was able to get by.

In 1991 I moved to a house on Lantau Island (one of Hong Kong's outlying islands). This was better than a bunk bed in Lucky's and my photography developed with stories being published in Asiaweek, Sawasdee (Thai airlines in-flight magazine) Asahigraph magazine of Japan and others in Europa and Asia.

..and then Vietnam

Soon all I did was travel around the region, looking for new stories (with or without a writer). I stopped being a tour guide. My first visit to Vietnam was in 1991. I liked the place and came back frequently to travel and take photos. The idea to use some of that photography on postcards developed and the first cards appeared in 1994. A year later I moved base to Saigon.

Since then my photographs of Vietnam have appeared on many postcards and calendars and in a book published 2001.

Bikes of Burden

Now it's time to finally launch a project I have been planning for several years: A book about the amazing Vietnamese motorcycles and their drivers. Without them, Vietnam would stall completely, and I believe that they deserve this tribute.

If you have been to Vietnam, lives in Vietnam or about to go to Vietnam, I think you will enjoy it. Or if you know someone who would appreciate the book as a gift.


PS. If you would like to contact me directly, either click here to send an e-mail with your e-mail program, or call me on my mobile phone +84-(0)90-8466912. And please visit my own website at"


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