Interview with DUONG NGUYEN, VIETNAM

Updated: Oct 7, 2017

Ask any successful film photographer what is the key to their success and they will probably say, “Let your instincts guide you”.


So, Duong, how did you get into film photography?


Duong: After several months shooting digital to learn the ropes, I found myself shooting hundreds of unnecessary photos, wasting countless time post-processing a photo to look somewhat like film rather than spending my time enjoying the process and refining my skills. That is when I give film a try and ultimately fell in love with the medium.

What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?


Duong: I'm going to speak on color film only since I mostly shoot color film. Honestly, anything that you can get your hands on. The color and the tones are not always going to be the same. It varies by the chemical, the developing process, the scanner, the scanner color preset, etc. For 35mm, my favorite films are Fuji c200, Agfa vista 400 and Cinestill 800. For 120mm, if you scan the film yourself, I highly recommend Portra 400 and 800.



What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?



Duong: The grain.


Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?

Duong: I used to print my photograph since my college has some great printers but if someone would order my print I would use a lab just to make sure the quality is on par with the money that they invest in.


What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?



Duong: I view the act of capturing a moment, not as something I have to do every day anymore. It's too much pressure thinking like that. There is a period where I push myself to make photographs even when I don't feel like it, and while I get the photos, I don't get to enjoy the process. All I did was to seek out something that isn't there and try to salvage something out of it. That's not how I want to approach photography.


Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?


Duong: Leo Berne, Wang Wei, Lukasz Wierzbowski and so much more. I'm also in love with Daniel Arnold and Troy Holden when it comes to street photography. 


Do you see any value shooting with film? 


Duong: Other than slowing you down, ground yourself and making you think before you shoot, not a whole lot ;) 



What do you think is the future of film photography?



Duong: There is a surge in the fan base for film in recent years, but I think it will only last for a little while until the hype dies down. Kodak is also bringing back the Ektachrome, and there are constantly new films being introduced. Still, I think digital will still dominate, and I think that is perfectly reasonable.


What’s your dream photography project?

Duong: Saigon. A series of beautiful artistic photographs of the people of Saigon, especially the youth.


Would you like to share some advice for aspiring film photographers? What must they learn before venturing into this format?



Duong: Get a Contax T3 and make sure to hashtag #filmisnotdead every time you post something on Instagram. Jokes aside, get yourself a cheap prime lens point and shoot that is simple and easy to use. Shoot everything that you deem fascinating in the beginning, let your instinct guide you. Later on, factor in the cost and before you press the shutter, ask yourself whether or not the moment is worth capturing. Most importantly, have fun.


Excellent job, Duong. Having fun whilst shooting, I guess, is utmost priority!


I encourage you to check out Duong's profile on Instagram and catch the different mood of his photographs posted there. Look up du0nguyen.


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Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Duong Nguyen. He devoted his time and worked hard on these photographs. You are not allowed to copy, download, reproduce, reprint, modify, distribute, publicly display, license, transfer or sell content retrieved from this page in any way, for any public or commercial use or to any commercial source, including other websites, without prior written permission of Duong Nguyen. You don’t want to go to jail, do you?


Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at mapamelvin@gmail.com with the subject, "Interview me", and share everyone your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.


Don't forget to subscribe to this page so you can login and add your comments about Duong's work. Be sure to be nice and constructive.


Cheers!

Mel


© 2020 The Photography of Melvin Mapa®. All rights reserved. All copyright solely belongs to Melvin Mapa and The Photography of Melvin Mapa®. Unlawful use of any content will be prosecuted.

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