Hanoi is a small town. Everybody knows everyone else. Even if you’ve never met someone, you might know who that person is, what they do, how long they’ve been here and whether or not you have any interest in talking to them at a party. It’s just the way, and in this way we often tip-toe around and watch what we say in mixed company. It keeps us civil but not honest.
The above portraits are of Donald Berger, a restaurateur based in Hanoi for the past eight years. A lot of people know him, or know about him. He had a big break from his old establishment some time ago now, and the circumstances surrounding that break have remained in a kind of elusive fog. Fodder for gossip. He’ll be opening his new restaurant (four floors, oyster bar overlooking West Lake, duck pho at ground level) in a few months and I was asked to take some portraits of him for the occasion. I wanted to have him strong and determined, above the grime, with warm lights and a feeling of looking forward to the future. So there it is.
I have other things in the works so hopefully I’ll soon be back in the swing of things. It’s been tough this time around readjusting to the time change, coming back from vacation.