I have been making photographs about Vietnam since the mid 1980s. The first photographs I made there was when I was a soldier during America's war against the people of Viet Nam. During many visits to Vietnam and Hanoi in particular, I was interested in the men and women who labor daily on the crowded streets. While making these portraits Hanoi celebrated 1000 years as a political, and economic center of SE Asia. Now, with several years of rapid development and a changing economy and workforce, people like the street vendors are increasingly being marginalized. While only making a dollar or two a day to support their families, they and generations of street vendors before them provide millions of citizens with many of the basic needs for daily life. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, strive to be examples of the modern Viet Nam and the street vendors continue to be pushed farther away from central Hanoi where most tourism takes place. I photographed these humble and dependable citizens because of their persistence against the backdrop of a rapidly changing economy.
Phan Van Do
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