Is nostalgia always a positive emotion?
Invented by a Swiss physician in the 18th century, the word nostalgia was originally a clinical term meaning acute and painful homesickness. Viewed as a brain disorder, people were even said to die on account of nostalgia. Today, the word has evolved into describing a mostly positive desire to re-experience a place, person or event from the past. It's looked upon so favorably that nostalgia has even become a popular element in music, design, fashion and decor. There is no doubt that marketing agencies around the world throw it around in brainstorm meetings as an appealing buzzword.
One wonders what version of nostalgia the people in these photos would experience when reflecting back on their lives in Quảng Ngãi in 1967. US artillery officer Larry Solie was serving in the area, and his images reveal an economically disadvantaged region dusted with the detritus of war. Unpaved roads, bare feet, rickety transportation and arduous tasks to perform in the fields — life certainly appears difficult. Yet, amidst the challenges, people still smile, construct homes, sell sunglasses and peel bananas. It's impressive that people can look back on difficult times with a certain joy knowing they overcame them; it's more remarkable they can find happiness amidst them.
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