Photographer Catherine Karnow went to Vietnam in 1990 to photograph scenes from that country as it was just opening up to visitors from the west. She spent days on a train traveling toward the mountains of central Vietnam.
I came upon a young mother with her children. My translator friend was not with me, so I had to gesture my request for permission to photograph her. She nodded smiling. As the train started to pick up speed as it descended the mountain, we finally felt the first breeze in days. I leaned way out the window to get the right angle, and we were all laughing, feeling the joy of the freefall. Afterwards I gave the children a box of crayons and promised to send photos to the mom.
Somehow I lost her address and was never able to send her any of the photos. One especially exuberant shot became quite a famous image. It is published all the time, and has even been on the Lonely Planet Guide to Vietnam for years. I've always wondered what happened to that beautiful woman and her children and wished I could share the success of the photo with her.
All these years later, we have Facebook with which to find old friends. Read how Karnow reconnected with the woman she photographed twenty years earlier at National Geographic Traveler. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!
(Image credit: Catherine Karnow)