Hanoi 1985 - 2015, In The Years Of Forgetting
May 20, 2023
April 26, 2023
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.