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August 13, 2021


Photography and story by Vinh Tran
Introduction by Melanie Meggs

The sound of a camera's shutter, the buzz of an old-fashioned film camera and the whisper of the wind. All of these sounds made Vinh Tran, a documentary and street photographer based in Vietnam, feel alive. He is a man who speaks through his lens, expressing himself through his art and everyday practice of photography.

Vinh has this unique outlook on life and his passion for photography has become his language, allowing him to communicate his ideas and perspectives with others. He is never seen without his camera, always capturing moments that others may easily overlook. Through his photographs, he aims to tell stories that are often left untold.

In April 2021, Vinh embarked on a project that was close to his heart. He visited a nursing home in Hanoi, searching for answers to his imaginary fears - the fear of living a life without any objectives. This project became a way for him to explore his inner thoughts and feelings, as he was determined to answer the questions that were lingering in the back of his mind. What is it like living in a nursing home? Would it be ok to live in a nursing home when you are a person with countless objectives and expectations?


For most of my existence, I have been fighting with my parents to achieve freedom for myself. The priceless space that offers me the right to make my own decisions in any circumstances, to freely follow my dreams, and to live as a young man with countless ambitions independently. Asian parents are well-known for being invariably overprotective of their children, which triggered my curiosity about what it is like to be a child raised by non-Asian parents.

Is it necessarily true that Western parents are more liberal as they seemingly give the decisions and feelings of their children more consideration?

Back in April 2017, when I had a conversation with a Canadian friend and his mother, I asked a question that had always been deeply hidden in my memory related to my curiosity of the Parent-Child relationship in Western society:

"Would you move to an elderly care center or live with your son when you are old?"

She held her son's hand and said: "Of course I would live with my son. Therefore M, please don't leave me alone when I'm old, honey." I felt shocked and, at the same time, immensely emotional by her answer. It fractured my bright imaginary perception of aging in Western countries.

This series of images was taken in a nursing home in Hanoi throughout April 2021. I talked to the elders here, listened to them, sympathised with them, and witnessed different emotional nuances from numerous stories. My approach illustrates the imaginary fear of loneliness at old age, the feeling of pointlessness and emptiness. The definition of time becomes vague. Life turning upside down in a loop of boredom as there are no more objectives and expectations.

Vinh's project allowed him to discover the answers that he was seeking. He brought light to a place that is often forgotten and through his photographs he was able to communicate his ideas and perspectives with others. This project was more than just a reflection of his inner thoughts; it was a reminder of how powerful photography can be in bringing attention to the issues that are left unseen.

Read an interview with Vinh >>>

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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and are not necessarily shared by The Pictorial List and the team.

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