Contexts and avant-garde – Interview to Duy Nguyen

Contexts and avant-garde – Interview to Duy Nguyen

Tommaso Berra · 2 years ago · Photography

The first of the five photographers selected by Collater.al Magazine among those present at Liquida PhotoFestival from May 5 to 29 in Turin is Duy Nguyen. In a brief interview, the photographer talks about his style, his relationship with his past and with the subjects that pose in front of his camera.

1. You are one of the photographers selected for the Liquida Exhibition, tell us about the project you will exhibit in Turin.

My project for Liquida Photofestival has the working title Phantom Lineage. My project is based on my own life and explores the idea that not everyone has the privilege of access to their own archive. My cultural heritage is not written down, and there are very few photographs of my family. It all lives on only in memory, but memories changes over time. What I remember may not be the truth. In this project, I’m subjectively exploring feelings, memories, and experiences around my childhood as an immigrant and foreigner. These emotions are also enhanced by being a foreigner in Italy for my artist residency at Paratissima. Practically, I’m bridging the past with the eyes of the present through images, video, and digital installations. If you come to Liquida Photofestival, you will see some very experimental works I have created and very much look forward to showing.

2. Your photos seem to be influenced by graphics design, collages, and cinema, how would you describe your photographic style?

I studied art direction and graphic design in school. I tried to separate my photography from my design work for a long time. Usually, designing was done to create income, while photography was my artistic outlet. Now that I have matured more, I’m finally learning to combine my many skills to create unique work. I think my photographic style is evolving intact with myself, but in the present, it lies somewhere in the space that blurs between analog photography and digital art. As for cinema inspiration; I really love how good cinema often makes you feel like you are part of the scene. I try to bring this into my photography as well.

3. With the evolution of art more and more towards digital scenarios, in your opinion what role will photography play in the future?

We can only hypothesize, or guess, as digital scenarios, NFTs, and digital art are still in their infant stage. It will take a while for it to become mainstream enough for all to understand it. In the past; painters used to depict reality as well as they could until photography was invented and eventually took its place. Then painting as an art form evolved, and eventually became more abstract or conceptual. I wonder what digital art will do to photography, as photography challenges painting. I guess I don’t have a good answer here because this subject is something I’m currently exploring myself.

4. The subjects of your photographs often look at the lens, what relationship do you search for with them?

I think my photographs are often a reflection of myself, perhaps even more than a reflection of the subjects. Maybe I’m searching for myself in the subject. It could be a person, an object, or a situation. I think of it almost like a performance where I’m trying to find something that I can relate to, and then drive that emotion and moment until a photograph is taken. With people, it’s usually easier to find that through the eyes when they look at me.

Duy Nguyen | Collater.al

5. In your opinion, when can a photograph be defined as avant-garde?

I think it’s hard to look at a single photograph and judge if it’s avant-garde or not. Instead, I would probably look at the photographer’s practice and see if it’s challenging or criticizing the aesthetics and ideas of photography in the present. Another interesting aspect is also cultural context. For example, something that might be seen as avant-garde in one community may be perceived differently in another country. With my recent works that dab between analog photography, collage, and performance, I have found that some institutions find it too experimental to be called photography, while others find it challenging. 

Contexts and avant-garde – Interview to Duy Nguyen
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Has food truly conquered us?

Has food truly conquered us?

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

Over the past year, the internet seems to be obsessed with food culture, fueling a trend that is now evident even in the world of visual culture. From the Tomato Girl Summer, which many mock retrospectively, to the foodie fashion girlies, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon, and the massive success of The Bear. Food appears to be experiencing a rebirth, but in the worlds of art, photography, and design, it has always been present. Is this just a passing trend, or is it the glorification of an element that has always been part of our lives?

Un’illustrazione di Maisy Summer

From Tomato Girl Summer to the pomegranate

It was only in 2020, with lockdown recipes—does anyone remember Dalgona Coffe?—that so much talk about food emerged. On TikTok, @wishbonekitchen made us dream by showing us her life as a private chef in the Hamptons this summer. Unforgettable were her Heirloom Tomato Gallette and the garden where she harvested fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In 2023, it seems to have been the summer of food not only with the release of the second season of The Bear but also with Tomato Girl Summer. On the other hand, according to Danielle Cohen on The Cut, it now seems to be the time of the pomegranate.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Cansu Porsuk Rossi (@cansupo)

Thanks to its shape and the vivid red that characterizes it, this fruit is widely recognized as a symbol of fertility in many parts of the world. But not only that, we find the pomegranate in mythology, art history, and, according to Cohen, even in the Torah. In short, fruits and vegetables seem to be largely protagonists of this rebirth, so we have collected some works and photographs by artists and photographers we have talked about in the past and more.

Browsing through our archives, we remembered Michael Crichton‘s photos and his photographic series, Conceptual Food, as well as Dan Bannino, who many years ago narrated the eating habits of the powerful. But there is also Stephanie Sarley, an artist who, with fruit fingering, challenged the way the art world has represented the female reproductive organ throughout its history.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Stephanie Sarley (@stephanie_sarley)

Why it seems not to be just a passing trend

The success of food in visual culture can be attributed to its tangible communicative power. We see and experience the colors and textures of food daily, all evocative elements of memories that we have been collecting forever. In conclusion, we can only wonder which will be the next fruit to receive all this attention, already dedicated to tomatoes and pomegranates, even before avocados and bananas.

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Has food truly conquered us?
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

29 ARTS IN PROGRESS recently showcased Michel Haddi: Beyond Fashion, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Franco-Algerian photographer, marking his first solo exhibition in Milan. Starting from January 16, the second chapter of this exhibition opens, featuring unconventional shots infused with a street and urban soul. Additionally, there are elements of irony and sensuality that highlight Haddi’s complex personality.

michel haddi
© Michel Haddi – Debbie Harry, British Vogue, London, 1994 | Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

In this second chapter, nude shots and unpublished works by Michel Haddi are presented, stemming from advertising campaigns he personally captured. The displayed photographs capture the spirit of their time, thanks to influential figures such as John Galliano or Patsy Kensit, who have played pivotal roles in the realms of fashion, cinema, and music.

Michel Haddi has the ability to portray his subjects with both irony and depth, and each of his shots tells a unique story. His life, marked by a turbulent start, has nevertheless propelled him to become one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1990s to the present day.

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Collater.al Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

A few weeks ago, the Huxley-Parlour gallery in London announced the new exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, which opened on January 17th. We couldn’t help but talk about him, the American photographer born in New York in 1938, famous for his street photography, and recognized as one of the pioneers of color photography. The London exhibition, titled “Dialogues,” highlights this aspect effectively. Pairs of photographs engage in a dialogue concerning light, color, and composition. The pairings are chosen to investigate the development of color in the artist’s work, set within non-hierarchical and unresolved compositions.

The exhibition in London

Meyerowitz’s imagery blends a distinctly American aesthetic with a meditative approach to color. Spanning from 1964 to 2011, the exhibition at Huxley-Parlour reveals Meyerowitz’s enduring interest in the sensory and evocative experiences of his surroundings. Paired with lesser-known images from the artist’s extensive archive, the exhibition features some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works, including his early street photography and images from his seminal series, Cape Light.

Joel Meyerowitz and the Color Revolution

Joel Meyerowitz is widely acknowledged as one of the first photographers, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, to bring color photography from the periphery to the center of fine art photography. Historically, where black and white photography was considered a serious medium, color was widely viewed as technically inferior and aesthetically limited, relegated to advertising campaigns, television, and personal holiday photographs. In the London exhibition, it’s interesting to trace Meyerowitz’s shift from black and white to color. On display are works from “A Question of Color,” where Meyerowitz, carrying two cameras, paired black-and-white and color prints of nearly identical scenes.

Courtesy Joel Meyerowitz

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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

Giulia Guido · 1 month ago · Photography

Not even a week ago, Alessia Glaviano – Head of Global PhotoVogue – a guest on our Spigola podcast, reminded us that it no longer matters whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone. What matters is the intention behind the shot, not the means. We pondered deeply on this statement, and although there was initially some skepticism, we concluded that to take a true stance on the matter, we had to try it ourselves: capturing moments solely with a smartphone, but with the same attitude we would have had with a professional camera. Xiaomi provided us with the opportunity and the means.

Almost by chance, Xiaomi presented us with a challenge: to visit a distant place and attempt to capture its uniqueness using the brand-new Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. And so began our journey, short but very intense, in Bangkok.

All the promises of this new device – which, along with four others, forms the new Redmi Note 13 Series, further enriching the brand’s Redmi Note lineup – were substantial. Starting from the battery, rechargeable to 100% in just 19 minutes with a lasting capacity of days (not hours), and of course, the camera system consisting of 3 cameras, including a main 200 MP camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera, and a macro camera.

We decided to put Xiaomi to the test in every moment spent in the Thai capital. The first stop was at the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho temple, where the goal was to capture the colors of the mosaics and decorations.

Xiaomi

Being one of the most touristy places in the city, we encountered many people who, like us, were fascinated by the architecture of these sacred places. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G came to our aid in this moment as well. The smartphone is equipped with AI-based editing tools that, among other things, allow us to remove people who accidentally end up in our shots. You know those photos you see on Instagram of tourist spots always empty? Now you can have them too, effortlessly!

But a city is not only visited during the day; often, it comes to life at night, illuminated by a myriad of different lights. In our case, the lights were those of the legendary tuk-tuks, indispensable in a trip to Bangkok. In this case, the challenge was formidable: darkness, colored lights, movement. All the ingredients for a challenging shot were present.

Xiaomi

Not content with just the shot, we continued to play with AI tools and added a bit more movement, some stars, many stars.

When traveling, we know very well that we are not only captivated by architecture, landscape, and glimpses, but we also focus on the faces we encounter on the streets. However, we often don’t have much time to photograph them, sometimes because they move, other times because we are the ones on the move. That’s exactly what happened to us in the characteristic Thai markets, first and foremost the Floating Market.

Reviewing the photos on the return flight and at home with friends was like reliving the journey once again, leaving no detail behind.

Xiaomi

In Bangkok, on the occasion of the launch of the new Redmi Note 13 Series, the brand also introduced the brand-new Redmi Watch 4 and Redmi Buds 5 Pro. Visit Xiaomi’s website to discover all the features of these devices.

Xiaomi

Photos shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G

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