In early October 2011, French photographer Nicolas Cornet has returned to Hanoi and HCM City to carry out his new photo book project. Earlier, Cornet and Jean Claude Pomonti organized two exhibitions to introduce their photo book about Hanoi, in Bangkok and Paris, on the occasion of Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary in 2010. Cornet is widely known as a photographic expert about Vietnam who owns a large number of photos about Vietnam and Indochina. Famous travel magazines in France have used Cornet’s photos of Vietnam in the last two decades.
Cornet said his new photo book is completely different from other books about Hanoi that he published before. The new book will not be a traditional photo book and not a simple guide book. It will be a photo book about cultural tourism through stories told by pictures and by interesting stories.
Cornet used the first camera when he was 12. He learned using a camera at a photographic and advertising school the age of 19. In Vietnam, he learnt a lot from photos by late famous photographer Vo An Ninh and photographer Do Huan.
Cornet is a photographic lecturer at the HCM City Stage and Movies School. He has involved in many short-term training courses for Vietnamese photo journalists.
“When they saw my pictures, my friends in Europe asked me about characters, why this street has that name, how this cuisine is processed... They wished to repeat my journey, to stand at street corners where I stood, to talk with people who I spoke to… I read their hidden dreams of being a globe-trotter. They asked me to take them to Vietnam. But I could not directly take them here. An idea flashed in my mind: I need to publish a photo books with interesting stories which are as wonderful as adventure stories. Others only need this book, buy an air ticket to repeat my wonderful journey,” Cornet said.
Cornet kicked off this project in 2010 and the book will be published in 2012. The book is produced with a clear goal: inviting international friends to Vietnam.
The book has a special chapter about Hanoi, through which Cornet wants to tell international visitors that they can discover and even work well in Hanoi. Hanoi is an ancient city but it still catches with the modern rhythm. The area around the Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi’s centre, is very appropriate for walking and the life in Hanoi is changing day by day, in a very special way, which is different from any place in the world.
The book also has chapters about Lang Son, Ha Giang, the Mekong Delta, Tuy Hoa, Hue, Hoi An, etc. Cornet has traveled throughout Vietnam to have lively stories about these lands. He moves by every mean of transport but he likes the most to walk around Hanoi’s centre, to drop at a pavement tea shop to talk with anyone, to see the daily life and grasp it by his camera with the great passion.