Introducing Almaz

A few weeks ago some friends and I secured the old and recently abandoned top floor of a hotel out in West Lake with the intentions of turning it into a private studio/workplace and an occasionally public art venue. Two days ago we began the unenviable task of cleaning and repainting the entire floor. She’s a fixer-upper, to say the least, but the potential for dialogue and creative use is nigh on endless as far as I’m concerned. It’s difficult to talk about, as the idea behind the space is still forming in the hive mind, but all of the artists involved seem excited about the possibilities, and that in itself is a bit exciting. So here’s something of a brief introduction to the Almaz Collective, so named after the hotel we now inhabit. I’ll be posting more as the progress progresses. But oh it’s alive.

Three Easy Photographs

Just a few more test shots from one of Hanoi’s New Urban Areas. Basically glorified and scarier pre-suburbs, but with larger buildings and wider roads and a lot less people. These places offer a stark contrast to the general chaos of the capital. I’ll be working on a more long-term project in these areas for the next few months, hopefully employing some new techniques and going back to some old equipment in the process. We’ll see how that all turns out soon enough. There are a lot of things I need to find here in order for this to come out the way I’m envisioning.

Hanoi’s New Urban Landscapes

I’m starting work on something of a large and sprawling personal project, dealing with some of the capital’s new urban areas and its rapid outward expansion and full-throttle thrust into the global economy. One of the nice things about starting on a body of work this loose and disorganized is that I can kind of play around with different mediums and formats and see what I think will really work for the story, as I begin to narrow it all down.

The shots above are all from some expired black & white film I had lying around, processed at a crappy camera store in the Old Quarter. I like the damaged, dark look they’ve taken on, but next time I’ll try to keep a bit more control over the final product. I can always mess them up more, but I can’t take back some of the things the camera store screwed up on. Regardless, it feels good to be shooting film again. It’s hardly ever practical for assignments, so I’m trying to play around with it more for my personal work. I’m not sure what I think of these images in the long term, but they offer an interesting perspective for now.