The onslaught of the latest pandemic has hampered, if not put on hold, intimacy and proximity for a good portion of the world. This has made images depicting love and tenderness more compelling, as is the case with a beautiful set by Vietnamese film photographer Nguyễn Ngọc Hải. As both the series title and the photos say, Love was made for me and you — a testament to a truth that speaks volumes especially in this time of physical distancing.
Known among his peers and friends as Heo, he was working as an engineer in Da Nang but quit his job to become a freelance photographer in Saigon. While he began his photography journey with a digital camera, a gift prompted his path to shooting with film. “Photography has been a part of my heart since 3 years ago when I got started using a digital camera. About a year ago, a friend gave me a point and shoot camera as a gift and I have been started shooting film since then.”
Landscape and wedding photography were his genres of choice when he was starting out, but he has recently found interest in street style portraiture. “Now I’m eager to pursue becoming a street style photographer, because I realize I love wandering around the streets, randomly taking photographs and listening to stories from strangers. Maybe this year, I will learn more about shooting fashion.”
Love was made for me and you features his friends in Da Nang, who he visited recently and photographed to thank them for helping him during his stay. The series follows what he believes makes a photo great: meaningful moments caught in time. “I think moments are the most important thing in photography. Not everyone can pose like a professional model, so I have to find those moments when they look natural, and capture that moment in time.” Through this beautiful and touching collection, he also wanted to convey that love is for everyone, and we all have the chance to fall in love. “These photos don’t capture a trendy couple but I hope this series will be a motivation for those who are always lacking in confidence.”
He shot this heartwarming series using his go-to camera Contax G1 loaded with Kodak Gold 200. While he’s planning to upgrade to a Contax G2, he finds that the G1 and its lens system have been able to meet his simple shooting requirements.
Why does he continue to shoot film despite his ample experience with digital photography? He believes the medium still has a thing or two to teach him and allow him to meet his creative goals. “I think patience is a necessary virtue of a street style photographer, and shooting film helps me to cultivate that personality.”
Do follow Nguyễn Ngọc Hải on Facebook to stay updated with his film photography.