The Storytelling Through Portraits Workshop took place from 20 to 22 November as part of the World Press Photo Exhibition: Best of Three 2018 – 2020 in Hanoi. It is organized by Matca and supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam.
During three intensive days, 13 participants discussed different aspects of making portraits, worked on their proposed projects, and edited their photos under the mentorship of veteran photographers Binh Dang and Linh Pham. Within the time constraint, the workshop focused on the process instead of the outcome, encouraging participants to experiment and get out of their comfort zone rather than making a fully complete body of work. However, each and everyone put in considerable effort to realize a mini-series that expressed their own idea and perspective.
“Rats are our shadow selves. We live on the surface of the city; They generally live below. We mostly work by day; They mostly work by night. But nearly everywhere that people live, rats live too”, Emma Marris wrote in National Geographic magazine.
As a freshman setting foot in a bustling and crowded place like Hanoi, my first impression was many corpses of rats lying on the streets. The rats suffered tragic deaths while scurrying for food.
Those images still made me shiver till now. To me, rats and people living in urban areas share many of the same characteristics. We all have an impetus to survive in the city, we strive hard for a better life, despite the risks of death which will come at any time.