/13 Vietnam

Maria Sturm


This work focuses on young Vietnamese, who, although not part of a genuine “youth movement”, belong to a small group of youth who lead lives that are very different from those of the mainstream Vietnamese. The settings of these portraits emphasize the isolated nature of the phenomenon these young people represent in present day Hanoi.

Some of the people photographed know each other, others do not, yet everyone is somehow linked to all others. These young people, ages ranging from 24 to 32, seem to be very normal to us. Their appearance, their clothing, their behavior, their keen sense of their surroundings, their confidence, all look familiar to us as mainstream characteristics of our western world. The only aspect that situates them in Vietnam is the Asian physiognomy of each face.

The series is called “East=West“. The title underlines the outward similarity with western youth, but also emphasizes the different path by which the subjects have acquired the western outlook, in opposition to both their traditional Vietnamese values and to the values of communist propaganda.