|In his photography, Billhardt expressed suffering through the iconography of big, expressive children’s eyes (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Consisting of 130 black-and-white and colour photos taken during his trips to Vietnam, the exhibition gives viewers an honest documentary of the city from 1967 to 1975.
The photos were selected from a huge archive of Billhardt, a special photographer of the then German Democratic Republic, whose photos about the American War in Vietnam at the end of 1960s earned him the worldwide fame. The photographer, who was born in 1937, said he had special affection with Vietnam after setting foot in the Asian country for the first time in 1962.
Billhardt photographed the joyful moment of welcoming a child born in the wartime, captured American pilots in camps, crowds bicycling in the rain, outdoor drawing classes with barefooted pupils, the innocent happy faces of children and a 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.
Between 1962 and 1975, the photographer travelled to the war-ravaged country six times and has returned several times since then. The photos taken during these trips have been published in four illustrated books, Pilots in Pajamas (1968), Longing for Peace: Vietnam (1973), Hanoi on the Eve of Peace (1973), and Faces of Vietnam (1978).
The free entry exhibition Hanoi 1967 – 1975, which is organised by Manzi Art Art Space in collaboration with the Goethe Institute Vietnam, Camera Work, is taking place at both Manzi, 2 Hang Bun Alley and 14 Phan Huy Ich Street in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh district until November 15.