Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

To view the EXIF data and a larger version, just click on the image.

Hanoi is quite a fascinating city. It reminds me a lot of Old Delhi in many ways–the crowded narrow streets, the mix of cultures both old and new. Suffice it to say, I like it here. The people are not super easy to photograph. They feel you are indeed, “taking” a photo of them and not giving back. I have tried to show them the image on the back of the camera but that doesn’t cut it. I didn’t bring my Pogo printer this trip–that might have helped. But frankly speaking there are so many tourists visiting this place, folks are rather jaded when it comes to having their picture made. What I find helps ease the tension when pointing a camera at people in situations like this, is to use a sort of barter system. A photo op in exchange for whatever they are selling. So if you find a photogenic subject that is selling fruit, try buying some from them. This drops some of the fear and suspicion and lowers their defenses and there will be much more of a chance you’ll get that shot. It is not a panacea and the shot you get might not be a candid, but it sure can help.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Chris Plante

    Wonderful images, Matt. Hanoi is on my Bucket List.

    I too feel awkward when “taking” photographs. On the other hand, I feel like an ATM machine when they ask for money. Exchanging a photographs for a purchase of their goods is a much easier way for me to approach people. It is also a good ice breaker for conversation.

  2. Anonymous

    Great photographs Matt…I see they’re all with the new 50mm. Do you find that a better walkaround focal length than the 85?

  3. Johan B

    Enjoying your photos very much, Matt. Seeing the persons remind me how much I miss Vietnam and Hanoi especially. IMHO you have manged not only to caputer the persons but also their personalities and the atmosphere around them, which makes a walk through the old city parts so special.


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