Tạm Biệt Việt Nam

I returned to Hanoi for an amazing workshop with Eric Kim, an internationally recognized street photographer.  Eric and his wife, Cindy, are from California and currently live in Hanoi.  I met both of them in September since Cindy is also here on a Fulbright grant.  We were lucky to have two of Eric’s friends, Neil Ta and Chu Viet ,  who are also leading street photographers, join us for the workshop. The participants, several of them professional photographers themselves, traveled to Hanoi from Argentina, Australia, Canada and the US, which goes to show just how well-revered these photographers are.  

Neil, Eric and Hà

It has been great spending my last week in Vietnam with Cindy and Eric, learning more about photography, meeting new people, and discovering new places.

Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Returning to Hanoi after a month of travel, I didn’t feel like I was coming home.  I had moved out of my apartment before traveling, said goodbye to friends and was ready to treat this workshop as a stopover before moving on.  The hard part is that the workshop made me fall in love with Hanoi again, which makes it more difficult to say goodbye.  I discovered neighborhoods and sites that I had never been to during my four months of living here, places that were so vastly different from the ones I knew.  Eric and Cindy introduced us to amazing restaurants and cafes.  I now wish that I had more time to experience this amazing city.

My Fulbright family. (Photo by Eric Kim)

I also was surrounded by incredible photographers who inspired me to take more photos, get closer to my subjects, and understand the elements of a great photo.

Besides the food, cafes, narrow alleys, beautiful parks, unique architecture and perfect winter weather, it is the people I will miss most about Hanoi.  Throughout my time here, I met many friendly and hardworking people who were so excited to meet an American.  I taught students who were eager to express themselves and took risks in sharing their poems.  I worked with dedicated teachers who were always positive in the midst of challenges that are unheard of the the US.  And I made many new friends here, including fellow Fulbrighters who have inspired me to learn more, travel more and expand my horizons.  Last night, we all enjoyed a Valentine’s Day goodbye dinner before I headed to the airport.

Eric’s workshop turned out to be a perfect way for me to say goodbye to this city.  Each day was full of learning as I interacted with amazing photographers.  Our final goal, after six days of shooting, which included a three-day trip to the mountain town of Sa Pa and surrounding villages, was to choose no more than three of our top photos (of the thousands that we shot).  It wasn’t easy, but worth the agony in the end.  The photos shared by my fellow learners showed me even more of the Hanoi that I had yet discovered.  You can see everyone’s results on Eric’s website.  

Against advice from the pros who taught me this week, I just can’t share only three photos.  Check out more below if you are interested.

Next stop, the Philippines! (Just landed in Manila.)

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Comments (18):

  1. Lori Liguori

    February 14, 2017 at 19:02

    Just fabulous, Tim! Can’t wait for your next adventure!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:39

      Coming soon!

  2. Linda A Wight

    February 14, 2017 at 19:19

    What a wonderful opportunity to be able to attend the photography workshop and to continues to meet some amazing people,and see even more of the people and places.. Looking forward to your next stop.. WE had 2 feet of snow yesterday. Wednesday into Thursday is expected to bring another foot of snow. Happy Valentine’s Day Tim , Love Linda

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:40

      I do not miss the snow! Heading for the mountains in the Philippines next week for some cooler weather – in the 70s.

  3. Anne cylkowski

    February 14, 2017 at 20:26

    Absolutely amazing how much you’re learning! I know that was part or should I say the purpose of the trip.I truly didn’t think we could do it at this age although you’re younger. I’m sure you heard this before but you’re truly an inspiration not only do many of us live thru your travels it truly does inspire us in many aspects of our own lives. Happy Valentine’s Day Tim!! we love you Ron Anne Nicole and Tom

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:44

      Thanks for the comments, Anne! It’s nice to hear, especially now that I’m in the Philippines. My first country where I don’t know anyone and am traveling alone. It’ll be fine, but it’s nice to be reassured. Love to everyone.

  4. Deidre

    February 14, 2017 at 20:38

    Thank you for breaking the 3 rule! Loved the photos! So true that we miss so much right in front of us everyday! Bittersweet goodbye but sure you are embarking on more unforgettable adventures! Stay safe!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:45

      Thanks, Deidre. The world does not look the same after spending a week with all those photographers.

  5. Cindy J Cassidy

    February 15, 2017 at 18:30

    Tim, these photos are remarkable. Only you could get the opportunity to rub shoulders with acclaimed street photographers and learn about the craft. You are an amazing person. Farewell Vietnam, Welcome to Manila!!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:46

      Wish I had some funny Vicky Ann stories to tell, but I guess I’ll just have to make up my own adventures now.

  6. Jay

    February 17, 2017 at 02:33

    Great work, Tim! I really enjoyed spending the week with you. Until next time!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 17, 2017 at 08:49

      It’s not the same being in a room by myself now! 🙂 Glad you got to see Vietnam, and someday soon I’ll see San Francisco.

  7. Neil

    February 24, 2017 at 00:01

    I think the fog shot with the church in the background is my favorite photo of yours from the week. I love the cinematic feel and atmosphere of it. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you, Tim. Please visit in Toronto!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 24, 2017 at 05:10

      Thanks, Neil. I learned a lot from you and am trying to put it into practice during my travels. I’m sure we’ll meet again, if not in Toronto, maybe New Orleans?

  8. Vicky Ann Deledda

    March 2, 2017 at 07:48

    Sorry it takes me so long to catch up on your blogs, you must have so much more time to write, without me!
    Such a colorful people, and I love the Church shots. The 3 photos were a good choice- but always nice to see more!

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:43

      Yes, lots of time to write without my travel companion, but I’d take you back in a heartbeat!

  9. Vicky Ann Deledda

    March 10, 2017 at 07:22

    Thanks, friend!


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