Tony Corocher

2015 - Ongoing


A visual story about a small community that lives in shelters and houses built with plastic/metal scraps on the riverbanks of the Red River, right in the center of Hanoi (Vietnam) under one of the main bridges.

With these images I want to reconstruct a typical day in the hard lives of this community. They are one of many forgotten communities that strive to survive in the new, hectic and fast moving Hanoi… most of the times they are left to themselves and when in luck find some work in construction sites, markets and fields nearby.

To meet with some of the people I had to go there very early in the morning (before sunrise) and then after after sunset when they came back from work . I was able to go there only twice and for just a couple of hours. They did not want me there and I did not want to be there too… human dignity is, and remains, a very important factor in my work and I always try to respect it. They also asked me not to mention their names.

It was not easy to enter these communities and, when I was there, there was very little light, very little time and most of the people did not want to be photographed (understandably so, even if some of them agreed to it). So, grainy images and movement had to be part of the work and the only way to tell the story.

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  • One of the houses on the Red River in Hanoi. A man is getting ready to start working on the construction site on the other side of the river.

  • Mother and daughter are busy getting ready to go to work in the near market over the bridge about 2 miles away.

  • Getting ready to go to work | A young man is getting ready for, hopefully, a long hard day work in the construction site nearby. He was going outside to wash his face and brush his teeth, and no... he was not using the water from the river but from bottles.

  • Getting ready to go to work | Going to the washroom before heading to the nearby plantation.

  • Getting ready to go to work | While mom is getting ready for work in the market above the bridge her daughter is finishing some homework. She will be dropped off to a nearby school and will come back by herself in the early afternoon.

  • Macrocosm and microcosm | With this image I wanted to show the micro universe of the Red River community within the macro universe of the massive city of Hanoi. The large river, the construction site on one side, the plantation and fields on the other side, the bridge in the middle which, like an artery, takes them to work and back home. Those that are lucky enough own a scooter. The market is on this side of the bridge. Mostly only bikes and the train in the middle are allowed through this bridge.

  • Working in the field | While most of the men work in the construction site in the background the women go to the market on the other side or to the small plantation on the river banks.

  • Working in the nearby market | Some of the women from the Red River community cross the bridge every morning and evening to come to look for work at the near market.

  • A ghost town | During the day these houses are deserted and, except for the very aggressive dogs, it feels like a ghost abandoned village. Until late afternoon, when the children come back from school, just a few old or sick people are around but hide inside. Everyone else is busy working.

  • The gym | The people of the Red River village built their own gym and after work young men meet here to train and discuss the events of the day.

  • Back home | The sun is setting and for this community the day is almost over. For those without electricity in a few minutes there will be very little light. Some will go straight to sleep, others will meet in a 'wealthier' neighbor home to watch some tv or discuss the events of the day.

  • Recreation and some distraction. This is one of the few families that owns a television set. Neighbors come here for some distraction. Also I was struck by the boy with the touch phone... it is becoming easier to have a piece of technology than a proper meal or bed to sleep...

  • An intimate moment | An intimate moment at the end of a hard working day. Intimacy is not easy to get in these situations. This couple did not have any children and the intimacy between them was clearly visible.

  • Time to go to sleep. Behind the moskito net is the bedroom and the dogs keep guard ...

  • ... another day | The next morning everything starts again... some men go out for a swim (in the highly polluted waters of the red River) before heading to work.