Madrid-based Vietnamese fine art photographer Viet Ha Tran, instead of taking photos, tries to depict women’s emotions, inner dreams, intimacy, poetry and philosophy with her camera. Her photos, apart from having an air of classic paintings, capture ephemeral moments of female emotion. Reality plays hide-and-seek with fantasy, in a reflection of volatile moods, and the permanence of change.
Her artworks have been featured in over 60 international periodicals including Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair France, Vietnam News, Vietnam BusinessWoman, Photography MasterClass Magazine and Visual Artistry Magazine. She was the semi-finalist in the Spanish National Digital Photography Contest in September 2013, and won Honorable Mentions in the International Photography Awards 2013. She photographed for Vogue Talents Shooting in April 2014. In 2014, she participated in the digital exhibition at Saatchi Gallery London and in the Brighton Photo Biennial. In May 2015, through her gallery My Web Art, her award-winning photograph The Lotus Lake was auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong for charity and reached the highest bid of the night. Most recently, Viet Ha has been chosen as Artist of the Day on Saatchi Art. We speak to the photographer.
A: Your photographs are visibly influence by classic painting, how did you develop your unique style?
VHT: I am a great fan of painting, and I guess that clearly shows in my artworks. My favourite painters include Rembrandt, P.P.Rubens and Caravaggio, I just feel enchanted by the rich and dark colors of their paintings which provoke deep emotions within the audience. I see myself more an artist than a photographer, I usually say that I am not a photographer; I am a woman who uses the camera to interpret her emotions, fantasies, dreams and illusions.
A: You have described your photographs as resembling “poetry in motion”. Can you discuss your approach to depicting emotions in your work?
VHT: Although there are many photographers that I greatly admire such as Paolo Roversi and Sarah Moon, I think my works are more influenced by spirituality, philosophy, classic literature, old master paintings and Persian mystic poetry: a mixture of all these elements. I am also greatly inspired by music, myths and other cultures. I find that photography is a great way to express my feelings. I am a very romantic, philosophical and sophisticated person. I don´t feel that I belong to this world, I always feel trapped between the two worlds of reality and fantasy. Thus, I always feel the need to express my emotions in some way.
A: Your work primarily encompasses portraiture that reveals inner feelings, with great attention to detail. Describe your work process from brainstorming the concept to the actual shoot and post-editing?
VHT: Indeed my photos usually convey the very deep emotions of women. In the beginning when I first started photography, I tended to create the concepts by myself. I didn’t force myself to think about concepts, they normally came to me very suddenly while I was reading a poem or listening to a song, or while I was visiting a museum. However, as time goes by, now I tend to work more with stylists and creative directors to create something of a more consistent and organised concept.
The process I enjoy the most is post-production, where I can use all my imagination. Digital art offers unlimited ways of retouching the same photo. I started working as a digital artist before actually learning how to take photographs myself. The photos I have after the photoshoot are only raw materials, they need a lot of work to become the final product. I usually spend a lot of time to find the right crew for the shoots since I look for models who can express their emotions very well.
A: Can you tell us about your most recent series Xian: Myths of the Beauties? I see that some photos have already been published on Italian Vogue‘s photography website.
VHT: This series was inspired by the Four Great Beauties of ancient China who changed the history of the four different dynasties in ancient times: Diao Chan, Yang Guifei, Wang Zhaojun, and Xishi. They were renowned for their unparalleled beauty, which they used to exercise influence over kings and warriors. With this project, I worked with a very talented team including international stylist Edith Chan, and Miss World Supermodel 2010 Maya Murofushi who just won the best actress award at the 37th International Festival of Cinema in Florence for her role in an Italian film. Through these photographic creations, I wish to sketch a glimpse of the history and culture of Asia and the hidden oriental soul: something fragile, emotional, romantic, sensitive and very deep.
A: What are your future goals and ambitions as an artist?
VHT: I would like to see my works appreciated by art lovers and collectors around the world. It’s my personal opinion that the sole mission of art is to touch the heart and provoke emotions in the audience, and to make the world a more beautiful place. My artworks are created from the innermost part of my soul, and I wish that the people who see them will feel the same way as I do when I create them. Also, as an Asian artist, I also wish to work more on projects focused on Asia in order to show the world the beauty of our culture and traditions.
To see her listing in the Artists’ Directory in Issue 68 of Aesthetica Magazine, pick up a copy at www.aestheticamagazine.com.
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1. Viet Ha Tran, Yang GuiFei, Xian – Myths of the Beauties, 2015, published by Vogue Italy. Courtesy of the artist.