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Hanoi 1985 - 2015, In The Years Of Forgetting

May 20, 2023
April 26, 2023
William Crawford

18 street life photos taken from  1985-2015 by William Crawford. 

William Crawford was one of the first  photographers to gain access to postwar Vietnam  in 1985 and he continued to return at regular  intervals for a period of thirty years.  As an American witnessing the devastation and  sorrow of war he was compelled to show the  humanity that coexists with deep suffering.  Sensitive to the subtle nuances of everyday life  and the customs of the people in this exotic land,  he documented the life of the Vietnamese as it  evolved over three decades.

The artist became entranced with the streets  of the old quarter in Hanoi which revealed all  manner of arts and crafts and the traditional  lifestyles of the Vietnamese. Revisiting the same  sites repeatedly gave the artist entrée into  intimate moments in time as the country shifted  from a post war mentality struggling to advance  to a thriving metropolis emerging as a model for  economic growth in SE Asia. As he worked over  the years the photographer formed friendships  with the local people as they went about their  daily lives. With the years passing over 3 decades,  his photos became a diary of one man’s efforts to  reconcile with the past and heal the wounds of  war with the simple humanity of acknowledging  the dignity of the human spirit.

Tender intimate moments in life, a bodybuilder toning  his physique, young men sharing confidences over a  cup of tea, the beauty of a dedicated altar honoring all  that came before, become testimony to the strength  of the human spirit and the ability to overcome great  adversity with compassion, love, and insight.

All of the photos were shot on film which also highlights  the transition of a time-honored medium that makes  way for the digital age, just as the landscape of the city  itself must make way and yield to the current times.

Suzanne Lecht


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