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Memories of Underdevelopment

George Cohen | Viet Nam

A restaurant in Hanoi's suburban Eco Park,the huge, luxury high-rise condo complex, housing local and foreign business people. It is lunch time. The customers have been drinking multiple bottles of Vietnamese beer, and are sharing the "hot pot" main course. February, 2015.

I have spent a total of ten weeks in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as a documentary photographer,  in 1978 (as a guest of the government), and during two extended sojourns in 2015 and 2016.

 Since the unification of the north and the south in 1975, Vietnam's Communist Party  has experimented with various ways to lead it's people; from an extremely cruel and repressive dictatorship, to currently, a  mixed socialist/capitalist economy with new freedoms and less stringent rule. 

There is a tactile exuberence among the majority of the people, who have begun to determine there own future, mainly as members of a new, thriving middle class of small to mid-size entrepreneurs.  My goal, has been to document and interpret the successes and failures of this vibrant process.           


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