Wouter Vanhees And His Photography Journey In Hanoi
Wouter Vanhees is a Belgian photographer, who has been living and working in Hanoi since 2015. Wouter started documenting his family’s life and travels in Vietnam and beyond. Gradually he got more into street photography, while living in Hanoi also sparked an interest in the rapid rate of urbanization of Vietnamese cities, and the social implications this creates.
In his artistic work, Wouter aims to tell the story of this urban transformation and of the lives of people on street level amid the changing city landscapes. He often wanders the cities after dusk, hunting for eye-catching and colorful slices of life and turning these into compelling visual stories. Apart from his urban night photography, he also enjoys creating other types of images, ranging from candid portraits to landscapes.
Having lived in Hanoi for five years, I’m still trying to make sense of it: venturing out after dusk, going from district to district and alley to alley.
He continuously adds new photos to his body of work, and has participated in the IPA Mentorship program, organized by the highly-regarded Singapore-based photography platform Invisible Photographer Asia.
“When does one really know a place? Does it take one year? A few? Maybe a lifetime?
His ongoing project, “Hanoi Reflection”, has a deep and personal meaning for him: “When does one really know a place? Does it take one year? A few? Maybe a lifetime?
Having lived in Hanoi for five years, I’m still trying to make sense of it: venturing out after dusk, going from district to district and alley to alley. This process of looking for light and truth feels familiar by now. Comfortable even. But, serene as the search may be, perhaps it’s time to come to terms with the fact that this city will never truly reveal itself. I see Hanoi’s old scales fall to the ground and new skin appear. But its winter air is translucent at best: it lets the shapes, forms and colors pass through, but leaves many blanks to be filled in.
And so the question keeps lingering in my mind: at the end of all this exploring, will I arrive where I started and know this place for the first time?”
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