Blognotes from a photographer life...

Oct 25, 2009


The TPW HANOI WORKSHOP is now officially planned. Below is the presentation. For more detail visit the TPW website.

The soul of contemporary Vietnam is a mosaic of histories. Those that left their mark more than others are the thousand plus years of Chinese domination, French colonialism, and the final push westward in the war of liberation against the United States. However, it is the personality of the Vietnamese that emerges intact overall: proud, indomitable nationalists, flexible and resistant like bamboo. Hanoi is the city that best synthesizes this reality: the least recent history in the Taoist temples, the charm of French architecture and habits, and the desire for American modernization. The millions of motorcycles that flood the streets are the blood of a rapidly-growing body, despite its one thousand years of life. In the semi-darkness of the houses, there are scenes of life that go from one extreme to another.

Our workshop wants to try and document this exact variety. Not the distraction of monuments that don’t exist or fading panoramas, but rather the research of human stories that are different, yet parallel. The exploration of different quarters, different souls, and contrasting cultures despite the same past and a common future.

To establish a relationship with the Vietnamese is easy. The challenge will be to go beyond, to deepen the acquaintance, gathering it in particularly conspicuous aspects and significant images. In other words, to construct a history of today’s Vietnamese, very far from those represented in post-Vietnam movies on the war (an event that, on the other hand, the young Vietnamese don’t remember at all). Finally, a “dissertation” on Halong Bay, one of the natural wonders of the world. Even the Chinese emperors considered it a tourist destination. For us, it will be a further chance to see how the modern Vietnam deals with tourism.

We will spend one day and night on a junk (small boat) and will visit small towns like Cat Ba, which have transformed into small Miami Beaches where kitsch dominates.

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