ERIC KIM Hanoi Photography Essay

My personal definition of a photo essay is an attempt to analyze a place, through images.

Dynamic change

What I find so fascinating about Hanoi is the rapid change, industrialization, as well as the “modernization” of the city.

Noveau Vietnamese rich, massive malls, everyone with new iPhones, yet still respect for the traditional Vietnamese past.

Also an interesting integration of nature and society in Hanoi— what makes the city feel “romantic”.

My personal relationship with Hanoi

For myself, I feel that the most important part of a photographic essay is this:

Explore yourself via photos.

This means use photography as a tool of self-examination and self-analysis.

Things I learned about myself:

  1. I prefer a nomadic life
  2. I love coffee shops for creative stimulation and activity
  3. I love walking
  4. I love interacting with others; especially in foreign languages (it allows me to think more like a child)— to be more open-minded. A “tabula rasa” approach or way of seeing/experiencing the world.
  5. I love the insanely fast WiFi (and pervasive access) in Hanoi (and most of big cities in Vietnam). I really think that Hanoi is a “creative digital nomad paradise”.

Adventure to Sapa

One of the most exciting things — going to Sapa, Vietnam and renting motor bikes and exploring. Ultimate bird-like feeling of freedom.

I aspire to explore more of Vietnam, using motor bikes. Complete exposure to the environment, more fun than even a convertible car!

Life back home

I’ve been back in the states for a few days (still jet lagged)— but I think I’ve had enough time to reflect and think about my experiences in Hanoi (and just life in general).

Some thoughts:

  1. Living or being in a dynamic and growing economy is the best and most fun.
  2. Creative activity is the goal.
  3. American mentality is too focused on physical stuff/consumerism to fight off boredom. I personally prefer simplicity, minimalism, and elegance.
  4. I am becoming more and more anti-stuff— I would prefer to own few things which are bespoke to me.
  5. I’m wondering — what is the future of photography considering I can make epic photos with a $350 Xiaomi 9SE phone. Should I experiment more with phone photography and AI, digital medium format, and continue to build software/technological platforms for photography? (

Not sure what the next step is— but will keep you posted.