Monday, 7 July 2014

Truyen Than: The Art of Conveying The Soul

(click on image)

With my photo expedition-workshop to Vietnam looming, I revisited some of imagery made during my earlier visit to Hanoi in 2012, and decided to rejig some of the photographs which had appeared on a gallery I had titled The Portraitist Of Pho Hang Ngang onto Medium, a blogging platform.

The portraitist is Nguyen Bao Nguyen, and he works as a “Truyền Thần” artist. The art aims at conveying the soul of a person from a photograph to a drawing-painting.

Speaking of Medium, I'm a fan of these new platforms; noting that some are free while others are not, since they provide an easy way to feature one's work, whether prose, photographs or both...and these promise to widen the reach of such "publications".

Apart from Vietnam being on my mind, the other prompt for uploading Truyen Than is the recent photo essay appearing in The New York Times titled To Be A Russian, which follows the same design characteristics as Medium...large photographs filling the whole viewing real estate on one's monitor (if one chose the photographs to do that), sparse prose (but to the point) interspersing these images.

I recall some years ago various POV posts encouraging fellow photographers to go big...that the era of small dinky photographs on websites didn't cut it any more. One of these POV posts is dated April 2009, some 5 years ago...and since then, we've seen a proliferation of large photographs on websites.

But back to Nguyen Bao Nguyen...I read somewhere that he had passed away, but I believe that the information is wrong since it pre-dates the dates (September 2012) when I met with him in Hanoi. I hope I find him well and healthy when I'm back in Hanoi in a couple of months.

I'd like him to see this photo essay.