New Zealand Photographer Shows His Love for Hanoi in Special Calendar Project
|New Zealand photographer Luka Goy shows his love to Hanoi in 2022 calendar project. Photo: Luka Goy|
During the busiest time of the year, Luka Goy, a 29-year-old New Zealand photographer living in Hanoi, sat down with Vietnam Times to discuss his latest project. For the past few months, he has been putting together his works to create a photo calendar for 2022, featuring images taken throughout the Vietnamese capital.
"If I were to describe my style, it would be street photography, which Vietnam blends itself to it very well," explains Luka. "Hanoi is extremely photogenic, there is always life on the street, I like to capture the candid moments in daily life."
|Hanoi The Calendar by Luka Goy Photography. Photo: VNT|
Hanoi: The Calendar by Luka Goy Photography is now on sale and is well-received by Hanoi lovers. Even ex-Hanoi inhabitants now living in Australia or Switzerland have shown interest. They want to purchase the photo calendar because it has captured the city they know and love.
|Hanoi The Calendar by Luka Goy Photography. Photo: VNT|
"For the past few years, I have been making calendars privately for friends and family back home to share with them my life in Hanoi. And I found that something so familiar to me would seem so unique to them" said Luka, when discussing the genesis of his idea. "This year I want to challenge myself by putting my works out there. In the future, I want to move towards something like prints, and portraits of my photography so the calendar is the en route to that as well."
This project shared dozen of candid moments that Luka captured during his time in Hanoi. What began as a simple photo calendar now tells an intimate story of daily life in Hanoi.
Expecting the unexpected
|Luka Goy (right) enjoys his life in Hanoi. Photo: Luka Goy|
This project came to Luka naturally and almost spontaneously, which suits the aesthetic of the project that he was going for. No gimmick, no pretending, just daily Hanoi in real life with normal people.
The rich and vibrant culture imprinted upon the expat photographer's mind, and every time he snaps, regardless the time and place, there is an unique story. Having lived in Hanoi for almost four years, Luka learned to constantly expect the unexpected.
Many foreigners might find the adventurous side of Hanoi dangerous and inconvenient but it excites this expat artist more than anything.
Luka shared that he would wander around the city, even get lost from time to time, trying to put the little details together to make a greater picture of classic Vietnam.
The 29-year-old Kiwi has a full-time job that he loves – teaching children Math and Science and had always considered photography merely a hobby. Recently, he has ventured to professional photography.
It has been more than 5 years since he first started, yet Luka still finds that there are still much to learn. Luka has been spending more time on practicing his photographing skills, taking online classes on how to improve his techniques.
He looks up to many Vietnam-based photographers, and is on his own path to defining his individual style.
This calendar project is his first attempt to get our of his comfort zone and showcase his work to a much larger community. Hence, Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam - is just the perfect place for this travel enthusiast to perfect his craft.
Luka has visited many cities and provinces but Hanoi is the city that inspired him the most.
"Different memories are attached to each page of the calendar," said Luka.
From his massive collection of photos, Luka has spent a lot of time selecting the twelve best photos for this project, giving each month a distinct Hanoian image.
|He hopes to work with local artist community in his next projects.Photo: Luka Goy|
Luka's Photographic Storytelling
|Luka (second one from the left) have grown his understanding of Vietnamese culture over the years. Photo: 2Big Production|
In making use of idle time during lockdown, Luka brainstormed how to make his photographs into a calendar, then carried out the entire process in a month. As a foreigner with little command of Vietnamese, discussing his project with the local print shop was difficult. Fortunately, the meticulous artist found enough time in lockdown to make it perfect.
As he pointed to the month of April with a picture of an old man in a lotus pond, Luka laid down the impression he had about Hanoi. During his three years here, Luka figured out that this thousand-year-old city could be hustling and bustling but if you pay attention you can find people's hidden private paradise. "This photo is interesting because it highlights places of individuals' paradise. This is in the middle of Tay Ho (West Lake), I have to snap through the gap between the trees so that I would not disturb him. He looks totally relaxed, people did not see him here and would never know that he is here."
|Photo: Luka Goy|
As a photo is worth a thousand words, Luka's dozen photos tell a grand epic of Hanoi, demonstrating how the thrills of the capital streets intersect with quiet gardens and cozy alleyways.
|He begins the 2022 calendar with a wall graffiti near where he lives. Photo: VNT|
He begins his calendar with a picture of a graffiti near his apartment. Vietnam's iconic plastic stools sit under the unblinking gaze of some long forgotten wall art. Luka's first picture is a subtle praise of the artistry found on every corner of Hanoi.
These twelve photos of Hanoian life are vary, resembling the diverse corners of the capital. One month depicts the the craziness of Hanoi's rush hour, the next shows an old man smoking a cigarette near lotus flowers. By using such a large scope, Luka is able to show different aspects of Hanoi in only a few pictures.
|Hanoi's rush hour. Photo: Luka Goy|
The people of Hanoi also inspire his art. "I met an young Vietnamese couple by the river when taking photos of the sunset on Thang Long bridge. The guy came up to me, asking me if I can take their pictures. I ended up taking photos of them going on their date, which was lovely even though I did not speak much Vietnamese and they did not speak much English."
|Surprised encounter with local people is one of the things Luka Goy loves about photography. Photo: Luka Goy|
While he enjoys meeting new people, the expat likes to become invisible so he can capture authentic reactions. “I like the rawness, I think, if people see me with the camera pointing at them, they would act differently. That is not what I want.” he said. “Most of the time, I try my best to be a fly on the wall.”
An one-man quest to uncover Vietnam's fascinating culture
|Luka likes to capture candid moments in Hanoi. Photo: Luka Goy|
Luka is very much in love with Hanoi, he could not imagine himself leaving anytime soon. His quest to uncover more of Vietnam's fascinating culture with his camera has just begun. The passionate New Zealander treasures every lovely encounter that he gets to interact with Vietnamese people through photography, no matter how brief it is.
The young artist explained that this impulse to explore, to experiment, has guided his quest to professional photography.
|His passion is travel and taking photos. Photo: Luka Goy|
“That’s where this project came from,” he said. “This is my attempt to turn a foreign land that is dear to me into an inspiration. This is the beginning, I am not yet entirely satisfied yet but as a self-taught photographer, it is my way to one day realize my own style.”
Ha Long Bay Seller. Photo: Luka Goy
While Hanoi is his favorite, Luka cannot wait to travel soon and widen his scope of creativity. In the coming months, the adventurer says he plans to visit Phu Quoc island and revisit Sa Pa and Ha Giang, adding to his photo collection.
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