Photoessay: life in Hanoi, part II

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One at a time, please

The series of images presented today is the conclusion of the cinematic Life in Hanoi set from a couple of days ago. During the curation, two visually very distinct groups of images emerged: the first, which felt a bit more structured and ‘formal’, and the second, which – to my mind – is a bit more freeform and organic, with higher visual density. These hold closer to the ‘story in a frame’ of traditional photography. Personally, when I looked at the scene – and the subsequent images – a caption came immediately to mind – perhaps not the same one as you might have read, but it would be nevertheless interesting to hear the differences of perspective. Enjoy. MT

Images shot mostly with a Olympus E-M5 II, Zeiss Otus 1.4/85, Zeiss ZM 1.4/35, and Canon 5DSR.

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Mine. All mine.

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“You know, after this we could…”

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It true?

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Expectation of the ages

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Everyman in the way and for himself

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Don’t get caught

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End of the all-day wait

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One more night in paradise


Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Larry Kincaid says:

    The images from my 75mm/1.8 is quite good. Now I have to worry about it’s LoCA. Perhaps I’ve never seen it in my images.
    As usual, I like all the images, but those kind of shots are my favorites as well. But hey, the “Everyman in the way and for himself” image could have been “Why are women always getting in my face and asking if they can help me with anything.” Did she by the way?

  2. They have the usual ‘pop’ and clarity that I love about your photos. I’m trying hard to emulate that … getting closer but I’m no ‘Ming’ 🙂

  3. Frederick Saunders says:

    Thank you for posting these and the earlier set… I have been considering a visit to Hanoi next year – I surely will now!

  4. Gerner Christensen says:

    Thanks for showing these marvelous cinematic shots Ming. Perfect coffee break adventure and inspiration 🙂

  5. Fantastic images ….love the way they are focused and unfocused to draw you in…. I totally get the captions ! Thanks : ))

  6. Wonderful pictures!

  7. Ming, great shots. I especially liked your use of the 85mm for street work — which is almost unthinkable to the self appointed guardians of the street tradition. As much as I love shooting at the ‘traditional’ street photography focal lengths, many of my favorite street images over the years (i.e. much of McCurry’s work — he would even use Nikon’s excellent 105mm) were shot at longer focal lengths. By the way, the color grading is excellent — very cinematic.

  8. I love this. The pictures present Hanoi’s street life. This post gave me an idea on how to post some of my photos. 🙂

  9. It seems these are more based on subtle human expressions than part I, which seems to affect the compositions that were selected. Personally I’m not very good at reading such photos, so the labels improved the set for me.

    These are also higher key and lower contrast than the first part, which I think is also connected, but I can’t immediately put my finger on why.

  10. Very nice. I’ve liked seeing both. Thank you for sharing these.

  11. Loving “Everyman in the way and for himself”, thanks for posting!

  12. Why no review on the Zeiss ZM 1.4/35?

  13. So wait. Which lens on the Olympus?

    I really like the Everyman pic. And Trapped.

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