Personal Project – Record the Streets of Hanoi. A Report

Since I arrived in Hanoi on 16 March, I’ve been doing a personal project to capture the streets of Hanoi with my camera. There are no real rules to the play and work except for these:

  1. Walk at least 12000 steps each day
  2. Photograph whatever I happen to see with my Fuji X Series camera
  3. Purposefully do not record the locations

The idea of the project is to be a visual undertaking of sets of walks in a variety of directions. The streets of Hanoi are full of change, people, cars, scooters, and activity. Hanoi is a dynamic city of old quarter, French quarter, West Lake, Long Bien. It goes on and on.

I’ll be continuing the project until 14 June when I leave Hanoi. At that point I’ll publish a blogpost with all the photo albums linked here and perhaps people will get a sense of just what a great city, how random it is, the places that can be seen by simply walking. Hanoi is a relatively safe city as long as you do common sense things. People may say that the traffic seems crazy but the reality is that there is a flow to it and you have to be part of it. There is a dynamism of the people and the businesses. Stately old buildings and consular offices. Government buildings. The beautiful parks and monuments around the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. All of it can be walked to from most locations in the city.

I don’t know that will I continue to do the same project in Ho Chi Minh City but I will be walking with the camera each day recording things. I also publish separate photo albums for the cities and tours I do to separate them and more easily share with friends and family, twitter, Facebook, Google Plus. If you do use Google Plus I publish a collection of photos there that I update because its the easiest way I know to share photos.

I’ve taken over 1000 photos of Hanoi itself that I save off to Google Photos. Thank goodness its free! My photographs are done simply with no post processing, no RAW files, etc. I don’t have strong views on post processing of photos using Lightroom or Photoshop. If that’s your boat, float in it. I much prefer to use what Fuji gave me and make mistakes, try correcting them and immediately share the JPEG files. I may not be a photographer and I’m okay with that. What I am is a person that enjoys doing the act of it. The learning of it. But I really like the outcome and being to have a record of things.

The project recording the sights and sounds of Hanoi has been a lot of fun and its meant that my contributing goal of walking over 12k steps a day has been fully realized. I checked the pedometer app history and I have walked over 12k steps for 30 days in a row. That means I have also taken photographs with the FujiFilm X100F those same days.

Some good, some over exposed and under. Its all grist for the mill. I have been to some places numerous times and I still find new things, new views, new endeavors to record.

I would ask you all. What is it you expect to gain doing photography when you travel? Is it a record of the things you have seen or perhaps more of a personal reflection. Maybe you don’t share photographs at all. None is right or wrong except when you get involved at a level that it stops being fun and learning. Then it becomes some plodding duty and you feel that the effort is not worth the outcome.

I’ll be sharing the Hanoi albums in the next three weeks when I leave here.  I will really miss Hanoi. I’ve met people here that either I have typed my name into their Facebook account, met Vietnamese friends at restaurants and coffee shops and helping them practice English. Its all been good.

One final note with some sadness. My friend Mikka Luster has stopped maintaining his blog which was one of the few away from the wordpress.com community I liked to read. For a lot of reasons. His abilities at putting words next to each other, lovely photography, and the mix of introspection along with long hikes and reviews of tech will be missed. Thanks Mikka for the blog. I hope you can find a way to continue writing.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!