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In the streets of Hanoi

In the streets of Hanoi
Photo Information
Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7833 W: 438 N: 15393] (70666)
Genre: People
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1995-04
Categories: Daily Life
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2014-12-09 9:53
Viewed: 2994
Points: 88
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In April 1995 I was sent by my company to Vietnam to write stories ahead of the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war. I had been to Vietnam as a tourist less than two years earlier, the first year that foreigners were allowed to travel freely and individually in Vietnam. I liked it so much that I decided to return as soon as possible, I just needed somebody else to pay. The anniversary proved to be a fine excuse.

It was one of the nicest assignments I ever had. For three weeks I travelled through the country, from Hanoi to Saigon, writing the stories of my own choice with no need for the stressful daily hunt for news. I only occasionally even bothered to keep in touch with my office. I had a great time!

I met lots of interesting people and saw interesting places connected with the war or recent developments in the country. Unfortunately most of the pictures I took were supposed to fit my stories and interviews and were not terribly interesting out of that context. I didn't have much time for regular sightseeing or just strolling the streets looking for photos.

When sorting out my photos from this journey I found just a handful worth scanning and posting here. I start my journey today with three pictures from the streets of Hanoi, the kind of unimportant glimpses of daily life of ordinary people that I usually prefer to register. Apart from this woman selling hats in a street, after finishing her lunch of noodle soup, you will find two workshops. They were all scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Here is a larger version of the hat lady.

ikeharel, PaulVDV, worldcitizen, Romano46, cornejo, macjake, COSTANTINO, ourania, dale54, tyro, saxo042, danos, kordinator, Royaldevon, Graal, serp2000, jhm, jcpix, Kielia, Angshu, mcmtanyel, fritzi007 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To emka: To Gert:editemka 1 2014-12-10 06:21
To Royaldevon: 1975?holmertz 2 2014-12-10 03:06
To kasianowak: changeholmertz 8 2015-01-23 12:04
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Critiques [Translate]

Good evening Gert,
Two pictures, one is beautiful and the WS is impressive - a collapsed tree on midtown.
The main picture was superbly scanned - though for a minute that it was digital, but saw the date taken.
Fine photojon indoor's the hats shop with fine light and clarity.
Wonder what this young lady, back than - would say if saw this picture now...
My best refgards,

Hello Gert,
Three very attractive street scenes.
The first thing I noticed is that the people in Hanoi are dressed western style. Perhaps my idea and expectations of this country - unknown to me - are totally wrong.
The picture of the florist is very colourful and he certainly makes very beautiful packages.
Your main picture is very well composed and shows that beautiful lady in a good side profile in the midst of her hats, including some traditional hats.
You utilized a fantastic opportunity to combine work and travel.
Best regards, Paul

Hello Gert,
This scan looks like it was just taken. The quality is great, and the subject is very nice, too. The woman looks very western, with her stylish clothes, but all of the traditional hats and the noodle soup sitting beside her to let us know that we are viewing a scene from Vietnam.

Ciao Gert
complimenti di cuore per questa foto sia per il soggetto che per la composizione straordinaria.
La serie di cappelli in mostra crea un insieme che fa da ottima cornice alla ragazza che ha un'ėespressionemolto bella e spontanea.
IUna delle tue fotografie pių belle e appare anche incredibile che sia una scannerizzazione, tanto la luminosita, i colori e il contrasto non abbiano minimamente sofferto nel passaggio al digitale.
Ciao e buona serata

Hello Gert, good photo of this interesting scene of everyday life, beautifully captured in this great photograph. An interesting image with good sharpness, light and color. Great job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.

Good night and happy week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.

Hi Gert
i have to be 100% honest, after visiting Thailand for a month a few years ago, i've lost interest in traveling to countries of similar style.

its not that i had a bad experience or anything, quite the opposite...we loved Thailand!

perhaps the asian countries in that area like Vietnam, Laos etc...just don't appeal to me? i don't know. Probalby its just a case of wanting to see other places first, so Vietnam and Laos take a backseat for awhile.

interesting story you have written here. anytime you can get someone else to pay for your trip its a sure bet! :)

funny to see this lady because i GREW UP in the mid 1990's, this shot was taken in 1995. I remember so vividly the padded shoulders women were wearing in jackets and blouses...what WAS that? really???? lets make women look more masculine with broader shoulders with pads? what the hell was that all about lol

fun shot, a bit down memory lane for me.
and obviously for you as well.

  • Great 
  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3959 W: 2 N: 6634] (32996)
  • [2014-12-09 10:57]

Hello Gert,
It is a few interesting scenes of daily life in Hanoi.I like the picture of a woman selling hats.Image "florist shop"are very good.Thanks for sharing and the interesting notes. Amazing pictures.

Hello my dear friend Gert
as always a beautiful photo with a beautluful
lady selling hats
great shot quality and impressive useful
notes you must issue a book with photos
but with your notes too
great job welldone

Hello dear Gert,
Almost 20 years old this capture but this nice women on her stand is quite modern.
Again a perfect scan and perfect entry enriched with many interesting notes.
TFS and have a nice evening.

Hello Gert,
this must be a fine introduction to your new series, like the opening scene of a film. I like scenes like this very much, they are natural and ordinary but also appealing and we try to derive as much as we can from them. The lady is lovely but her chothes aren't flattering. The hats are more elegant and their gentle tones more delightful. I wonder what caused this expression on her face, maybe the story is about to start. The workshop pictures are great, in the first I like the comours and the florist's concentration and in the other the strong story. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,

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  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9571 W: 157 N: 15482] (123877)
  • [2014-12-09 12:42]

Witaj Gert!
Another fantastic photo from street.
Excellent frame and colors.
I like this daily life shot.
Well done.
Good night

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  • dale54 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 905 W: 0 N: 1362] (12623)
  • [2014-12-09 13:24]

gert hello..great note and shot here for us..nice close crop..excellent POV!love it! tfs...dale

Ciao Gert
inquadratura perfetta, mi piace molto anche il movimento e la posizione della ragazza, molto bella tra l'altro.
I vestiti e il trucco non sono certo di moda, non di questa, ma tutto questo aumenta l'efficacia della foto e della sua atmosfera.

Hei Gert

It's so interesting to see all the places you have been, and you have some great photos from all of those places too! Also, great excuse you had to make work pay! It must have been a fantastic experience to come back there and get to see the whole country. This photo itself is pretty good and it gives an insight to the culture. I also like her look and the way you composed it. TFS

Hilsener fra et regnfullt land i vest.

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  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3338 W: 0 N: 7635] (55795)
  • [2014-12-09 21:45]

When I think about Vietnam, I just associate the country with such typical hats, very nice scene, perfectly captured and composed, bravo
regards Ryszard

Hi Gert
Great slice of Asian culture and the art of selling. I like the viewpoint, one of the market streets where people sell their goods outside. This composition captivated me, she seemed like an artist in her own right, the way that everything was arranged. Nice take, Congrats
Best regards

love the notes that accompany your pics.giving me an insight into the world and the time gone by.as usual beautiful shot with typical viatnamese features and elements.

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  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13790 W: 0 N: 16043] (169086)
  • [2014-12-10 0:18]


Avec la bouteille et le bol quelle vue et scčne quelle charmante dame et vendeuse superbe attitude et captage et tous ces chapeaux quel ensemble superbe.
Bravo et amitié

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  • tyro Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 415 N: 6630] (26832)
  • [2014-12-10 4:00]

Hello Gert,

Three lovely photographs of ordinary life in Hanoi from almost twenty years ago and, again, photographic scans of excellent quality, a tribute to the quality and longevity of Kodachrome colour transparency film and also your skills in scanning at processing work.

Your main photograph suddenly reminded me of a rather quaint pre-war advertisement from a British department store - "If you want to get Ahead, get a Hat!".

Strangely, though, the lady selling all these hats isn't actually wearing one but in one way that's good because we are able to get a fine unrestricted view of her face. Unfortunately, business doesn't look too good as she seems to be spending her time eating and reading and not selling her wares.

But this is a lovely snapshot of ordinary life, the young lady perfectly set admidst her shelves of hats and perfectly placed in the frame. Good composition, fine colours and excellent details and sharpness.

I like your other two pictures too. It looks as though the flower seller sells his flowers in huge garlands displayed on huge frameworks of branches or canes - can no-one buy just a single flower for a vase or buttonhole?

And that dismayed lady looking on rather curiously as a massive tree is uprooted from outside her house! I rather suspect that the huge roots of that tree could easily have undermined her rather rickety home - or perhaps they were actually holding it up!

A lovely trio of photographs and an interesting note. How nice too that you managed this time to enjoy your travels "all expenses paid".


Kind Regards,


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  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10112 W: 144 N: 25292] (123241)
  • [2014-12-10 5:55]
  • [+]

Hello Gert, So now a few shots from Vietnam... and only 19 years old :). I wonder if you will show some places that I also visited. But when you show just people that is difficult to identify. Interesting shot with hats and baskets. The woman doesn't look like typical Vietnamese vendour, she is quite modern in all her appearance. And how funny to see the bottle of Johnny Walker near the soup bowl. Nice also two Workshops. The fallen tree looks impressive. And a lot of bicycles. probably most of bikers became motobikers now. I remember how helpless I stood on the one side of the road and had no courage to cross the street, there were so many motobikes going without any rules. Interesting also the view of the florists. I suppose the flowers are prepared for funerals. Tagetes is very often used in the temples. As always, excellent scanning, now it looks quite like current photo.

WArm regrads MAlgo

Hej Gert,
Ett stort kliv framåt i tid men ändå en förhållandesvis tämligen gammal bild. Men nu ser det ju ändå tämligen modernt ut här. En mycket fin och vältagen bild och en mycket läsvärd text.

It's more like a portrait of a lady with hats as props. Those are some well hand-made hats and bags. I like the profile of the lady with good lighting and nice details. Well done, tfs.

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  • danos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13682 W: 295 N: 27257] (109441)
  • [2014-12-10 9:29]

Hello Gert,
nice the daily snapshot with the woman to be placed perfect in the frame with the hanging native hats to cover the wall.I like this beautiful event with the informative note to completes perfect the photo.


Dear Gert
Nice shot from the streets of Hanoi.
A beautiful girl and hats all around.
Nice colors and atmosphere.
Great job.
Kind regards

Dobro vece.
Interesantan tekst o vasem putovanju sa opisom ...
Lepe fotografije kojim ste nam pokazali mesto i trenutak.
Dobar rad skeniranjem slajda, lepo pokazani trenuci u 1995.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje.

Good evening.
An interesting article about your journey with a description ...
Beautiful photos that you showed us the place and moment.
Good work by scanning slides, beautifully displayed moments in 1995.
Good evening and all the best.

Ciao Gert, lovely composition with nice seller, beautiful expression, fine details, wonderful colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Gert,

I can't think of anything better than having your firm pay for such a splendid, holiday opportunity! Oh, I wish ... !
This is such a contrast with our impressions of Vietnam 20 years earlier!! This scene shows a lady relaxed and confident wit her own little sales pitch.
The photograph is vey well composed, the lady well positioned in the frame. I was interested in the details! It appears she has an empty bottle of Johnny Walkers. I wonder if that was to keep her warm!!

My warm regards,
Bev -)

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  • Graal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9445 W: 268 N: 3085] (103038)
  • [2014-12-11 1:01]

Hi Gert,
I see, that you had splendid journeys many years ago. Interesting 3 pictures with Wietnam. Nice the portrait of the woman selling covering of head. Superb quality of scan. I like it.
Have a nice day.

Hello, Gert,
Oh, I see you jumped from Turkey to Far East. But I like to read your reports from every point of the world.

Very nice photo of the street scene Hanoi, so pretty vendor, so nice face. TFS!

Best wishes,

Hello Gert,
with dark hair and black trouser suit, the lady makes an attractive and rather striking figure amongst the array of hats and baskets, not like the perplexed lady surveying the damage of the fallen tree.
Three fine images,each with it`s own charm and interest.
Best regards Les.

Vietnam is a country I have not visited but intend to one of these days Gert. Although this little trio are archival I do not doubt that it is possible to see such scenes today. The details here are interesting, I wonder what concoction the lady has in the bottle? nước mắm (fish sauce) to season her bowl of food perhaps. She looks very smartly dressed so I imagine that the hat and bag business does a good trade.

Warm regards


Hello Get
Wonderful photographs from Vietnam. Daily life scenes depicted with the maximum of spontaneity and naturalness. The expression and attitude of the old lady in the workshop picture are priceless! Absolutely top notch camera work!
Have a great weekend.

Hi Gert,
Well captured, well composed with lady reading and all thes ehats, gppd exposure and sharpness.

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  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24387 W: 523 N: 40784] (175510)
  • [2014-12-13 0:43]

Hello Gert,

This must are an extraordinarily trip twenty years after the War and free make the trip.
I am no traveller and no newspaper man, but this is wonderful that you can take picture where and when you will.
You scanned picture is very well done, the lady is very nice.
Also a nice contrast picture and excellent technical perfect picture.
Sharpness and clarity are pleasant to look at.
An excellent composition.
Very well done, TFS.

Have a nice weekend,

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  • jcpix Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1857 W: 2 N: 3793] (14030)
  • [2014-12-17 14:38]

Hi Gert,

Sounds quite like a trip anyone would enjoy, virtually footloose and carefree. :) Isn't it amazing how much more is extracted from the experience when it's not as stressful or under a time crunch?

A beautiful shot, full of interesting details surrounding this lovely local, right down to her bowl of soup. And I couldn't agree more, I too find these simple, unassuming daily life images to be the most intriguing...and I'm glad you've shared so many of them here for us to enjoy as well. Hope all is going well. Take good care.

Friendly wishes,


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  • Kielia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2514 W: 0 N: 6733] (24077)
  • [2014-12-20 5:37]

Dear Gert,
lovely daily life scene, so typical of Vietnam.. Your POV and choice of framing work well. The hat lady is perfectly placed. My compliments also for the interesting notes!
Warm regards

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  • berek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7512 W: 201 N: 7196] (50508)
  • [2014-12-27 20:34]

Hi Gerit,
Extraordinary composition.right scan, so the brightness, color and contrast have not suffered in the least in the digital switchover.like it very much.

Une trčs jolie composition qui capte bien l'attitude de cette femme, prise sur le vif.

Cela conforte mon envie de retourner ā Hanoī pour faire de la photo de rue, dans cette ville oų la rue est si vibrante et animée.

Les couleurs et la lumičre sont trčs réussies et rendent parfaitement les matičres et les différentes textures de pailles des chapeaux, paniers, etc...



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  • Angshu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
  • [2015-01-08 2:22]

Hello Gert
A lovely scene with a stylish woman selling hats. We can see a variety of hats on display including the famous conical hat. I wonder what she's looking at with eyes wide open...did you send some decoy to take this candid shot? :-)

Best Wishes to you and your loved ones for 2015

Best Regards

Hi Gert
At last I have time to have a look at your photos from Vietnam which you uploaded when I was away - I would hate to miss them! Lovely series of everyday shots and this one is especially appealing - you caught this lady in just the right moment, oblivious of you pointing a camera at her.
Those were the times to travel to Vietnam. I'm worried it will change completely before I get there.
Have a nice weekend

Hello Gert,
I think you have chosen the best of these three lovely photos as your main entry. The colors in the flower shop photo are spectacular. The tree removal one shows an interesting detail from everyday life. And this one has good color and lovely patterns. Back in the 90s, I was shooting film, too. I think I got my first digital camera in 2003. When did you make the transition to digital?

Hallo Gert,
schöner Schnappschuss und Kommentar, gut gemacht!
Viele Grüße

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  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15419 W: 159 N: 26974] (141530)
  • [2015-02-13 21:53]

Hi Gert
Bien capter l'expression naturel de la dame vendeuse de chapeaux, le cadrage et des couleurs bien rendue comme la netteté, belle scčne de vie
Belle journée

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  • Periko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 700 W: 129 N: 1121] (7483)
  • [2015-06-28 19:17]

Hi Gert
You had a lucky job!
This daily life scene is common in any country, but it's quite interesting because of the girl and the goods. I really like it.

TFS & regards

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