A side event of the World Press Photo 2021 Exhibition in Hanoi, the Hanoi On The Go workshop was organized by Matca and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam. From 17-19 December, 13 young participants worked on their own projects under the guidance of acclaimed photographer and photo editor Maika Elan and Phuong Hoang.
During the first meet-up, all participants were assigned to shoot Hanoi’s newly-launched Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line – a topic that garnered huge media attention over the past months. The new means of transport was expected to help photographers see their all-too-familiar city in a new light, while the time constraint presented a challenge as each strived to give their own take on the common theme.
Approaches varied widely: Aside from stringing single shots with recurring visual motifs, documenting passengers and the city’s built structures from above, participants tried incorporating personal emotions, observing the train track from a fixed vantage point, or capturing an improv performance on the train. Below are excerpts from their final works.
Nguyễn Phi Cường
A collection of everything blue found along the rail tracks: apparel, architecture, lights, indication signs, and ceramic tiles, among others.
Đặng Thùy Anh
Personal activities performed in a public space: just another day on the metro.
Lê Nguyên Phương
Returning to his hometown Hanoi for the first time after 12 years, Phuong chose to document the journey from his grandmother’s tiny home to the 18,000-sqm Cat Linh Metro Station, all while capturing people traveling on their own journey. Some were seeking a destination; others just yearn to come back home like him.
Nguyễn Khánh Linh
The pictures were taken at the photographer’s grandparents’ apartment located right below the metro train track. Using a fixed camera position, Linh captures everyday activities of her family members who had become unbothered by the routinely passing trains.
Nguyễn Thị Minh Ánh
Portraits of metro train staffers from various lines of work – the ordinary individuals behind a massive system.
Hoàng Thanh Tùng
Using double exposure, the photographs combined views from above and below the railway.
Nguyễn Vũ Như Quỳnh
Observations of people and sceneries fused with the photographer’s personal sentiments on the last metro train of the day. While working on the story, she was reminded of memories of past train rides in other cities.
Phạm Quang Bách
The train line, as did with any other new thing that pops up in the crowded city of Hanoi, instantaneously become a photo op destination for Hanoian youths. The story seeks to depict the locals’ attitude to novelty while documenting occasional gestures of connection.
Nguyễn Quang Đô
The photographer documents the metro on a normal day from above and on the ground, questioning its efficiency and impact.
Nguyễn Thành Trung
COVID-19 prevention measures in place at the platforms and on the trains.
Phạm Quyết Thắng
The photographer experiments with still photography as an alternative to action shots in classic photojournalism. As the sky gets dark, the blue light from the train stations fall on the surroudings. Is that a reflection of Hanoi’s modernity after all?
Phạm Thái Sơn
The photographer looks out from train windows – a habit from childhood as he took car trips back home, excursions with friends, or solitary bus rides to school. There, he finds the landscape constantly changing and life outside bustling.
Vũ Khôi Nguyên
Prior to its launch, the Cat Linh – Ha Dong train has already formed a special bond with the surrounding urbanscape. The photographer explores this relationship, where people, nature and manmade structures form a portrait of of Hanoi’s ongoing urbanization.