On his second visit to Vietnam , Argentine photographer Jorge Monaco sought to launch a project with Vietnamese veterans – something that has haunted him for years.

Since the first time he set foot in Vietnam 13 years ago, he had great respect for the brave country, with its tradition of fighting off invaders and protecting its soil.

He came back to the country to take photographs of the veterans, all from different military ranks and different missions from different places, who contributed in the successes of the resistances known throughout the nation. They are all witnesses of the glorious history of Vietnam .

"The idea to carry out the photo essay flashed in my mind from a previous trip in 1997," he confessed. "It is an outstanding project for my career, and I'm very satisfied with it."

The wars belong to the past, but as time goes by, the veterans, all of them valuable heritage to Vietnam and the world, will pass away. That's why he wants to capture their images for the next generations.

"My intention was to produce this photo series as a tribute to all who participated in the fight for the liberation of Vietnam , but with a more humane approach," he added.

The images will tell much more about the lives of the ex-combatants and Vietnamese customs through the simple moments in their ordinary days, at home or at work.

Monaco photographed victims of Agent Orange, the toxic chemical used by US troops during their war of aggression against Vietnam , which still causes damage to the children and grandchildren of those soldiers.

This represents the first approach to the issue of victims of Agent Orange, said Monaco , who has accumulated numerous awards in national and international photo contests.

Monaco , who was born in Buenos Aires in 1957, won first place in the national ranking of photography in the years from 1985-89.

He was part of a selection of 10 authors who represented Argentina in the FIAP (International Federation for Photographic Artists) World Cup, specialising in monochrome in 1989 in Belgium .

Also in 1989 he was selected among the 27 best photographers in the world to show their works in Germany to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography.

After his first trip to Vietnam in 1999, he organised an exhibition entitled Vietnam – El Gran Dragon Dorado ( Vietnam – The Great Golden Dragon), showcasing his impressions of the country as a peaceful and friendly place.

It was the first photo exhibition on Vietnam in Argentina and also the first exhibition to take place at the national parliament, the Auditorium of the Chamber of Deputies, in Buenos Aires .

Monaco , who serves as Director of the National School of Photography in Buenos Aires , plans to return to Vietnam to take more photos, to enrich his collection and with the intention of publishing a book, which, he said, would be a beautiful end to this artistic and photographic research.

"This time Vietnam impressed me once again thanks to its achievements in socio-economic development," he said. "I will come back because I still find inspiration in the country."

Monaco has come home after a three-week trip to Vietnam . He is preparing to display the fruits of his labour in Argentina . All of the photos will be given captions and stories about their characters to help visitors understand the Vietnamese soldiers. The work is not easy and has taken up much of Monaco 's time. He says the collection will be released on a special occasion.

The Vietnam News Agency Bureau in Argentina will follow up and bring news about the significant exposure./.