Bike Couriers Got Nothing on These Vietnamese Street Vendors
The streets of Hanoi teem with bicycles, many of them ridden by street vendors carrying fruit and flowers. It’s amazing to see them gracefully pedal past on bikes piled high with colorful cargo, but the impact is lost amid the chaos of Vietnam’s capital. That’s why Loes Heerink photographs them from above. Only then can you can see just how much they’re hauling, and how colorful it is. “They’re works of art,” Heerink says.
Street vendors are everywhere in Hanoi, selling everything from bananas to brooms. Many are rural women who come to the city seeking a better life. They start each day around 4 am, hit the market to buy goods, and spend the day riding about selling their wares, earning just enough to survive. “Life as a street vendor in Hanoi is not easy,” Heerink says. “They don’t get appreciated as much as I think they should.”
Heerink is Dutch and started riding when she was 5. When she went backpacking through Vietnam in 2011, the vendors immediately caught her eye. She moved to Hanoi the following year and tried photographing them, but never liked the result. About a year ago, it hit her: Why not photograph them from above? Working from a balcony or one of three bridges near her apartment, Heerink would watch the street below with her Canon 6D, catching vendors making the morning rounds with baskets full.
She photographed 50 vendors in three months, each image capturing the beauty and grace of the street vendors who bring a splash of color to the cramped streets of the city.
Heerink is raising funds on Kickstarter to publish Vendors From Above as a book.