Just a few quick Polaroids from a motorbike trip into the mountains of northern Vietnam near Pu Luong national park, a few hours southwest of Hanoi. A simple, soul-affirming kind of drive along small dirt roads and over rickety bridges and chaotic highways. It was a wonderful way to end over a month of assignments that took me across Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. More to come once my film gets developed. So for now.
I’m heading off tomorrow for a two-week stint traveling up and down the length of Vietnam–from the Mekong Delta to the mountains of the far remote north–for a new travel/tourism client. I get back to the country nearly every month, but this project will be something different. Something I can really sink my teeth into. Dive in. Wander around both aimlessly and not. On planes, trains, and automobiles. I’ll try to post some photos from the road. So until then.
Just a few images from a recent fashion shoot featuring some beautiful, near-forgotten French sewing techniques still being kept alive in a small town in northern Vietnam. The pieces are faint and brief and feel like they could be carried away by a strong breeze, which is as proper an homage to the craft as I can imagine.
I don’t spend much time in Hanoi anymore, but it still feels like home whenever I’m back. Or as much like home as a place that is 100% definitely not your home can feel. But I guess Hanoi feels like home in that way that home always feels familiar, coming back to it. Something maybe kind of wells up inside of you. Looming communist structures start to feel almost intimate. Street scenes become familiar tableaus. The sounds of morning exercises and blaring loudspeakers are no longer jarring. So it’s always nice to be back, as I was a few weeks back for an assignment with The New York Times, on the then-upcoming 12th Communist Party Congress. Here are some images from the story as well as a few outtakes that didn’t make it to the final piece.
I spent a few days last week photographing the Emeralda Resort on the outskirts of Ninh Binh in northern Vietnam. Here are just a few images from the property, which is in a beautiful locale a few hours away from Hanoi, spread out across the rice fields and karst mountains and winding streams of the area. A great weekend escape, for sure. Especially this time of year, when the sun is bright and the weather is cool and the buffalo are out roaming wild and free.
Hanoi was always an easy place to love. A sense of history and a culture that slowly but surely began to embrace change and modernity. Chaos and charm in equal measures. A coldness that opened to warmth at the smallest provocation. Crumbling walls on ancient temples and less ancient French villas. Smiles and leers and sideways glances. Streets that smelled of petrol and burning things. Wet markets where the din of the street sellers drowned out most other conversation. At times the capital would be plagued by gray skies, but when the sun broke and shone and lit up all the yellow walls like so many gilded golden aisles, there was nothing more magical.
I lived in Hanoi for seven years and I wouldn’t take back a single moment. But now there are other cities and horizons to explore. Other towns to unearth and get lost in. Other countries to discover just as intimately as the one I’ve called home for so long now. So here’s an ode to Hanoi. A song for everyone. A long and winding visual journey through my time there. I’ll miss it but maybe you only ever miss the things you hold closest and most dear.