Hà Nội Candid - Inactivity

Man, feet up on park seat, holding hands as though holding book. Taking you from pictures of people reading, on the last page, via this photo of a man who thinks he might be reading (if he had a book) but in the meantime is
puzzling over some nearby event
This is the second of two pages resulting from a wandering camera in Hà Nội being pointed at people who, as is general in Vietnam, really do not seem to care about being subjected to another's gaze. The one problem that does occur constantly here, is that given half a chance the response to any camera pointing in their direction, is to straighten up and pose, producing the antithesis of candid shots. Hence most of these photographs show people distracted, gently engaged, or preoccupied with others. These photographs feature an almost complete lack of activity; Hà Nội's climate is such that this is much the most sensible approach to daily living. Small girl in front of fountain in evening light. Fountain in Hàng Đậu Park, near Long Biên Bridge,
watched as the sun sets
Infant smiling in direction of camera. Unselfconscious poseurs. Although the impressively fat... Comfortable looking cat on motorbike seat. ...cat (by Vietnamese standards) might have reason to pose Older woman sitting and looking left with hand on box. Such velveteen costumes are popular among older women. She sells cigarettes and tea - kept hot in the insulated box under her hand, and topped up from the flask Older woman walking, her large hands noticeably knurled. Hands that might make... Man sitting looking left with cigarette in hand. ...him wonder about ageing Back of man standing holding scissors looking at flag display Thinking about the final touches to his flag display... Woman reaching up and adjusting flags. ...while she unhooks a snagged fold Two women in hats, with conspiritorial air. What indiscreet comment might be being shared here? (The office behind them makes seals) Older man in hat and jacket cycling thoughtfully. Older faces stoically cycling through the traffic... Older man wheeling bike followed by young couple. ...or wheeling a cycle through a park Woman in long elegant turquoise dress standing next to man. The long formal dress (aó dài) being admired beside the Chúa Báo Ân at Hoàn Kiếm Lake Man in crash helmet sitting on motorbike fingers interlocked. Might his hands say he is waiting - a little long Man squatting on wall. Whereas he, hunkered down, has a relaxed arm drooping over his knee keeping an armpit cool Older woman talking to younger one on one side and holding arms with another on the other side. A Hà Nội matron with what may well be a daughter and grand-daughter. Vietnamese women seem not infrequently to fail to show any signs of age at all until around 50, and then catch up on their western counterparts surprisingly rapidly Motorcyclists, nearest one helmetless with reddened hair. Viet people have jet black hair - so red dye is considered
chic, and a crash helmet would hide his
important fashion statement
Man squatting on a parapit leaning against a small pillar, some feet above water. Is he relieving a lower back pain? - precariously! Woman in long white dress framed in an archway. Another aó dài framed at the Chúa Báo Ân Woman looking left with concern. Not knowing what she has seen: might her face express anxiety at the man above's position; or consternation at the elegance of the framed woman! Group of three women sitting mouths open looking to the right. Notice on wall above, metal objects beside them. This just must be some accident about to happen!
(According to the notice above them, these women sell a range of types of metal)
Three women by wood stacks with anxious faces. And here another event is disturbing, but not so much that yellow takes her eyes away from me Woman on motorbike completely covered with helmet, glasses, mask and gown over her arms and hands. Thus heavily covered against the sun, women sometimes wave, forgetting there is no chance of recognising them! Two older women sitting together passing a small paper, younger woman standing behind. Might you guess that the younger woman could be thinking: "Mother really!" Trailers... The waterfront of the capital of Mull - Tobermory. The next page jumps from human scenes in busy Hà Nội to the uninhabited spaces of the island of Mull in the north-west of Scotland. Cloud swirling over sea with house ruins. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Bitter Art'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 10th September 2022 Murphy on duty ...guide to this site

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