Archives Photography

Vietnamese historical photography, paths from Hong Kong to Cholon, Saigon Chinatown

For the Indochina period, historian François Drémeaux reveals an intriguing fact: Hong Kong served as the first harbor of French Indochina. This choice was influenced by several factors, with one of the primary attractions being the city’s favorable taxes and free port system.

The Vietnamese Administration of the Nguyen Dynasty also recognized this advantage. In 1865, they dispatched Dr. Dang Huy Tru on a Chinese mission to explore Hong Kong’s current development. At that time,

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Photographer Huong Ky Photo, archives of a precursor film maker in Indochina time

The name of Huong Ky Photo is more associated to the history of cinema in Vietnam than to Photography.

Located in Hang Trong Street (Rue des tambours), Hanoi, the studio photo was established in 1905 by Mr. Nguyen Lan Huong (1887 – 1949).

This street is famous for the production of a specific woodcut paintings. The craftsman only prints the black outlines of the image, then will finish the details by hand.

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Illustration Journal 1934, Photographer Khanh Ky on the visit of the Emperor of Annam to Tonkin

Text from the article

THE VISIT OF THE EMPEROR OF ANNAM TO TONKIN
We mentioned, in our last issue, the visit that the Emperor of Annam Bao Daï made to Tonkin during the first half of December. We have since received some new photographs which illustrate with a picturesque commentary this study trip of the young sovereign, the impact of which was considerable in all the cities and regions he traveled.

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Photographer Khanh Ky, The first photo reporter in Vietnam (Indochina period)

Khanh Ky’s real name is Nguyen Dinh Khanh (1874-1946), opened a photography studio in 1892 on Hang Da street. The business being successful he opened many studios in Hanoi, Haiphong, Saigon (1907, 1924)  even in China at Guangzhou (1924).Unlike other photographers, he attached particular importance to train his operators who mainly came from Lai Xa village, in Ha Dong province who is considered as considered the cradle of Vietnamese photography.

In 1910, Khanh Ky went to France to study photography.

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Interiors of Steamliner Paul Lecat, Company Messageries Marititimes

The steamliner began his career on September 22, 1912 on the Far East line. In 1914, it was, with its 13,000 gross tonnage, the largest and most luxurious of the Company’s liners, the only one able to offer “luxury” cabins, equivalent to the North Atlantic lines.

Some excerpts of the travel story on Jeanne Marie Méchin aboard the Paul Lecat in November 1923 between Marseille and Saigon. These letters take a month to reach France till the France-Indochina air mail link reduced the time to one week.

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Les Messageries Maritimes – the Far-East Line to Haiphong – Hanoi

Text from the leaflet

HAIPHONG, the port of the French Protectorate of Tongking, is situated at the far end of the Gulf of Tong-king, on the Cua-Cam, 90 minutes from the sea, and is 8229 miles from Marseilles. Its population is about 75.000, of which the French and Chinese number 15.000.

Fine streets and spacious boulevards bordered by brilliant flowering trees and shrubs give the town a most cheerful appearance. Among its most important buildings are the Residency,

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First historical snapshots and street photography in Vietnam – Indochina period

This album is a rare archive containing snapshots and instant photos made by M. Barbet on his trip from Marseille (France) to Hanoi (Vietnam formerly Indochina ) in the early 20th century on the steamliner of the company Messageries Maritimes .

Usually at that time, photography practice was made by professional photographers because the process involved heavy and voluminous gears to be setup. The low sensitivity of the film also needed a long exposure time.

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Air Vietnam – History of the airline company creation in 1950

Extracts of the article in Air France Magazine 1950
by MAURICE LEMOINE, general secretary of Air France

It was one of the first commercial enterprises in the young state to associate French interests with those of the government. Vietnamese. The latter holds half of the capital, the other half being distributed among various French shareholders, first and foremost Air France. From multiple points of view, this Air Vietnam creation is worthy of attention.

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Air Vietnam – News in the 70s

Nguyen Tan Trung, president of Air Vietnam, has been named chairman of the Board of Directors of the Republic of Vietnam flag carrier. His nomination by board members to the post, which has traditionally been held by a cabinet minister, has been approved by the Vietnamese Government.

Calling 1974 ‘‘a year of challenge for everyone in the
airline business,” Mr. Nguyen Tan Trung said he was persuaded to accept the
additional responsibility with Air Vietnam in consideration of the national
interest and in view of the prospects of the development of the company.

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Origin of Hue song at the court of Annam

This text comes from the book Mémoires de Son Excellence Huynh Con dit Đan Tường by Jean-Jacnal written 1924.
This biography of a former Minister of Rites at the Court of Annam contains historical details of his life and has an interesting description of music at the Court.

“Every night, we brought in singers. So little has been written about this category of people that no doubt I will be allowed to give some details about their life,

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