Hanoi’s 1967 – 1975 in German photographer’s eyes

The Hanoitimes - The snapshots of capital life in the 1967 - 1975 period was taken by the world-renowned German photographer Thomas Billhardt.


The photo book ‘Hanoi 1967-1975’ about the capital city, taken by the world-renowned German photographer Thomas Billhardt and published by the Goethe Institut, Camera Work, Nha Nam Publisher and Manzi Art Space, is catching public attention and revoking nostalgia.

‘Hanoi 1967- 1975’ through the lens of Thomas is the joyful moment of welcoming a child born in the wartime, the captured American pilots in the camps, the crowds bicycling in the rains, the outdoor drawing classes with barefooted pupils, the innocent and happy faces of children, the iconic stadium with football crowds lost in passionate cheers. All these visual notes make a symphony about life steeped in hardship but brimming with care and love.

 The image of the militia couple was taken in Hanoi in 1968. The author said that he took several shots of the militia pair from the front and back, but none of them made him feel like the first one. Therefore, he chose it to send to many exhibitions around the world.

 The photo of two children wearing straw hats was taken in the Northwest of Hanoi in 1968. Similar to the conical hat, straw hats were popular items at that time. Nowadays, straw hats have practically disappeared.

 Thomas Billhardt is a photographer good at communicating. He often took the initiative to ask for permission to visit many important places. The above photo was taken at Viet Duc Friendship Hospital in Hanoi in 1967.

 The German photographer was amazed when he first visited Vietnam. This place is far different from what he had imagined earlier. In particular, at that time, bomb shelters were found on every street as shown in the picture. The photo of a bomb shelter was taken in 1968 in Hanoi.

 Besides the scenery, the Vietnamese also surprised Thomas Billhardt. During the war, the Vietnamese people still gave him a sense of peace. Local residents continued to work amidst air raids. The above photo was taken at the Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi, in 1975.

Previously, cyclo was one of the most popular vehicles on the streets of Hanoi. Cyclos are used for traveling and carrying goods. Today, people can still see cyclos in streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, but mostly to serve tourists.

 Whether in the present or in the past, football is always a popular sport. The match took place in 1969 and the stands were filled with spectators.

 “Doan Trang” is one of the favorite photos of Thomas Billhardt and he has taken it to exhibitions and introduced around the world. After the war ended, Thomas returned to Vietnam to find the characters in his photos and reunited with Doan Trang.

Photo: Thomas Billhardt