Sunday, 4 October 2020

Sung Kwan Ma | Hanoi Portraits

Photo © Sung Kwan Ma | All Rights Reserved

It's always a genuine pleasure to view the work of a photographer who shares many of one's own aesthetic, as well as geographic affinities. Through a mutual Facebook contact, I discovered the lovely work of Sung Kwan Ma, a photographer born in Seoul and now based in New York City. He has a number of galleries on his website, that include work from various cities in India, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Viet Nam. His work includes portraits and street photography, as well as wedding photography...both in color and monochrome.

It's his Viet Nam photographs that I loved the most, especially those of his street portrait sessions of Thu Thuy, a Hanoi-based model. He has chosen to photograph her amongst the bustle of the old quarter in Hanoi, known as Pho Co; one of my favorite areas for street photography because of its ambiance and exotic back walls that are often inscribed with mobile telephone numbers as adverts...and where the beauty of the Vietnamese model in her traditional red and white ao dai is amply displayed.

Interestingly, he has also used the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio in his framing for a selection of his portraiture work, such as in Shanghai and in NYC. He preceded me in that style, as I am preparing to do the same in a forthcoming project with Lise Liu (see my previous post).

As per his website, Sung's extensive spiritual journeys in India and humanitarian activities throughout Asia over the past two decades have been the soul and defining framework of his work. He specifically mentions his affinity to the various cultural diversities of India and the Indian people. His images seek to capture the emotional depth of traditional sentiments and the joys of festivity.

A photographer to follow.