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Vintage Photos Capture Hanoi On The Brink Of A New Era

In 1986, Hanoi – much like the rest of Vietnam – was at the start of a new era. Thanks to the government's Doi Moi economic reforms, the country had moved from a centrally planned command economy to a “socialist-based” market economy. During the first decade of Doi Moi the city was teeming with shops like those vividly captured by German photographer, Hans-Peter Grump.

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Then plagued by poverty, authorities aimed to decentralize the economy as well as foster international economic relations. These reforms were viewed as a compromise between the government's ideology and economic survival, as much of the country was still struggling to find its footing.

Through the lens of Grump, who traveled through Vietnam in the early 1990s, Hanoians tend to shops packed with everything from soap to electronics, rope to hardware goods.

Tucked away inside a much emptier, mud floor version of Dong Xuan Market, vendors are a world apart from the Hanoi of today but Grump's photographs capture an important moment in time, when the beginnings of modern Vietnam were just starting to emerge.

On his journey through Vietnam, Grump took roughly 1,600 photos in 20 provinces. His images capture the everyday lives of ordinary Vietnamese, many of whom had never seen foreigners before.



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