An Intimate Portrait of Hanoi

by Intern Flaunt

William E. Crawford is a documentary photographer who spent three decades at intervals from 1985 to 2015 shooting Vietnam- Hanoi in particular. In his intermittent voyages, he photographed Hanoi through various subjects: architecture, urban landscapes, and quiet portraits of the locals. Crawford was one of the first Western photographers to be granted ingress into post-war North Vietnam after the war ended, in 1985. 

Never had a photographer, Western or Vietnamese, examined Hanoi at such lengths. Not only is HANOI STREETS 1985-2015, In the years of forgetting, and examination of the effects of war and modernization but an intimate portrait of a city in emotional distress that is mirrored in the physical disarray immediately around them. He views his work “as a means of understanding and remembering culture and society through the making, selection, and arrangement of images.” He insists that documentary photography “tends to take a longer view of things. 

This selection showcases some of Crawford’s most evocative color photographs which are accompanied by essays through which he looks at himself placed in the backdrop of Hanoi.