HÀ NỘI — A photo book featuring black and white photos of daily life in Hà Nội will go on sale tomorrow at Chula Fashion House, on 43 Nhật Chiêu Street.
All proceeds from Hanoi Hanoi, published by the Thế Giới (World) Publishing House, will be presented to Agent Orange/dioxin victims in Việt Nam.
The photos were taken in 2016 by Minh Phạm, a former diplomat of the United Nations, during his short visits to Hà Nội when he was living in Myanmar and the Philippines.
The black-and-white photos capture Minh’s impression of the people, rhythms of life and unique cultural features of Hà Nội. Readers will feel his sense of humour through his unique perspectives and witty captions accompanying each photo.
Minh returned to live in the capital city a year and a half ago and has since taken more photos of local life.
“I want to share with viewers the reality of everyday life in Hà Nội from my perspective. My parents are originally from Hà Nội so I also want to revive the nostalgia of the city they have lived in,” he said.
The photos in the book were taken entirely with Minh’s iPhone. The book is avaliable in three languages, Vietnamese, English and Italian, with writer Paola Boncompagni doing the Italian translation.
Explaining why the photos are in black and white, the former UN diplomat said: “Black and white photos, instead of colour ones, help me and hopefully viewers as well, to feel the soul of the person and the sceneries. At the same time, the beauty that colours, no matter how brilliant they are, cannot express in the same way.”
Hanoi Hanoi is the second photobook Minh and Paola Boncompagni have collaborated on. The first book is Mosaic Myanmar, published by Casa Editrice Polaris Publishing House in 2019.
“My original intention was to make a photobook about Việt Nam but due to the COVID pandemic, I couldn’t travel anywhere in recent years. I hope to have the opportunity to travel from the north to the south soon to capture daily life in Việt Nam,” Minh said.
Minh is a Vietnamese-American who served as a diplomat for the United Nations. He used to work in Madagascar, Bhutan, Nepal, Siri Lanka, Madrid, Myanmar, and Laos. Minh is also a political commentator in Southeast Asia, a skilled chef and a traveller. He currently lives in Hà Nội.
Boncompagni is a Swedish-Italian writer, freelance journalist, and documentary producer. Her latest book is a collection of her travels during her 20 years working on development projects around the world such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Central America. VNS
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