Lakewood resident Ed Kane served as a combat photographer and film cameraman with the 69th Signal Battalion based out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon from late 1966 to November 1967. When not on missions documenting U.S. Army’s combat activities in the field Kane wandered the streets and waterways of Saigon photographing the people and their way of life. Once home from an unpopular war he saw a population that wanted nothing to do with anything Vietnam related. The images were filed away where they were forgotten as Kane retired from the army and pursued work with various publications as a photojournalist as well as working as a freelance commercial photographer and designer in the Lakewood/Tacoma region.
Those negative files surfaced as Kane was reorganizing old files, and forty images were selected, scanned and printed by him for this exhibit. The photographs depict a city which at the time was seemingly untouched by the combat activities of the war. But the nation had been struggling under foreign occupation for centuries with Chinese, French, Japanese and finally American forces in turn battling for varying causes. Three months after the last of these photos were taken the Tet Offensive changed everything. Kane’s images show a population going about their normal daily routines and activities in the pursuit of their dreams. Although for most those dreams were not of the scale of people in more materially rich nations, they were just as valid and meaningful. The photographs clearly demonstrate the parallels between the Vietnamese and people throughout the world, regardless of technological or societal sophistication. They simply wanted their day to be productive enough to support families and with as few obstacles as possible.
In addition to the gallery images a book was hand crafted by Kane as a collectable memento of the city of Saigon as it was in 1967. Every photo in the exhibit is also reproduced on archival pages, custom produced for each individual collector in a hard-cover, perfect-bound limited edition, autographed copy. Commercially printed copies of the book will be available through the artist as well as online.
The exhibit is sponsored in part by Homestreet Bank and Le Le’s Vietnamese Restaurant of Lakewood. Le Le’s will host the reception with limited samples of Vietnamese cuisine and Homestreet Bank, in addition to a financial grant to support the cost of assembling the exhibit, will provide a drawing prize of an electric wok and booklet of oriental recipes. The exhibit will be on display from October 5-31, 2007 at the Lakewood Library. A reception will held October 5 from 7-10 pm in the Friends Gallery.
Kane is a member of the Lakewood First Lions Club, Lakewood Historical Society, The Tacoma Art Museum, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NPPA), the International Combat Camera Association (ICCA) and The Tan Son Nhut Association (TSNA-an association of veterans who served at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airbase).