Hanoi, Vietnam Photography Workshop: Classes are in Session!

Hanoi is a bustling city - construction and cranes on every block, lively cafes and restaurants, and streets buzzing with motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, cars, buses, trucks, and even kids on rollerblades. Yet quiet moments are found in the many temples and lakes dotting the concrete landscape.

Crossing the street is a faith-based experience involving stepping into on-coming traffic and slowly walking across the street while miraculously everyone glides around you. We end up on the other side, joyful, surprised, and thanking a higher power.

We are sleeping and teaching in the Thanh Xuan District of Hanoi, away from any part of town that caters to tourists. At our local sidewalk market, people sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, and rice products. For breakfast, we eat "pho-bo" a hot noodle meat soup, and drink strong, syrupy Vietnamese coffee. For lunch and dinner we tend to find the busiest sidewalk restaurant, and order by pointing to what our neighbors are having. At first, sitting on the tiny plastics stools was difficult, but we have grown to love practically squatting and eating (or maybe that's just Lindsay).

We are teaching photography at Alpha School in partnership the NGO, Action For the City. The school administration has been welcoming and the students are engaged and quick to learn. On day one we introduced ourselves, screened student photo essays from Vermont and covered the basic science of photography: exposure, focus, camera control and bracing.

On day two we studied the art of photography, including compositional geometry, line, contrast, light, texture and pattern. Then students signed release forms to borrow World Story Exchange cameras for the duration of the workshop, and began practicing the techniques and artistic perspectives covered in class.

The following class days were spent working on the development and production of the students' individual photo stories. Their topics vary greatly - from a profile of a grandfather to a night exploration on one of Hanoi's busiest streets. We look forward to sharing the students' work upon project completion.

Thanks to our generous donors, we had funding to support ten of the twelve workshops cameras. Twelve cameras are currently on loan to our workshop participants and we are all extremely grateful!

Photo 1: Nguyễn Thế Long, student

Photo 2: Trần Thu Hiền, student

Photo 3 & 4: Lindsay Peard McClure, WSE

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Norwich, Vermont, USA

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