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[Photos] 18 Rare Black-and-White Photos of Northern Vietnam in the 1970s

What draws us towards the spectacle that is old photos?

The most obvious, but rather simplistic, answer would be nostalgia — that sense of silvery yearning that one harbors for the entities of their past, be it a place, a person, or even, at times, entire cities and towns. That, however, won’t be sufficient in explaining why sometimes we are fascinated by the visual proofs of a time even before our existence.

There’s something both surreal and hyper-realistic about these black-and-white shots of Hanoi taken by Iranian photographer Abbas. The Paris-based photojournalist is known worldwide thanks to his career spent deeply involved in our history’s most tumultuous moments, from the Iranian Revolution to the war in Vietnam.

Abbas’ photos of 1975 Hanoi, rendered in monochrome, take on a dreamlike quality as if one’s sneaking a peek into a stranger’s memories, especially for those of us who were born well after the era. The sights, clothing, lifestyle, and more must feel like coming home for the few who lived through the time.

Take a trip down memory lane through Abbas’ snapshots of Vietnam taken in 1975 below:

Hai Phong Port in 1975.

Local militants practice tossing grenades in Thai Binh.

A meeting between officials of a commune in Thai Binh.

Students learning to handle firearms in Thai Binh.

Inside a weaving cooperative in Thai Binh.

Keo Pagoda in Thai Binh.

Hanoi's The Huc Bridge.

A schoolgirl does her homework next to Hoan Kiem Lake.

At a construction project for a tenement.

Workers at the job site.

A gathering of aquarium enthusiasts at Thong Nhat Park.

Portrait photography at Thong Nhat.

The local youth committee practices marching at the park.

The Christmas Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi.

The remnants of a B-52 on display at the Hanoi Zoo.

A bomb shelter doubles as a playground for Hanoi children.

Inside the Vietnam Museum of Revolution.

A soldier in Da Nang takes a rest.

[Photo via Redsvn]