Thai Phien is an award-winning Vietnamese photographer who’s works have been exhibited in over 60 countries. Phien (his full name is Nguyen Thai Phien), was born in 1960 in Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam.
Among his many works, Phien’s publication of Vietnam’s first nude art photography book, entitled Buoc Thoi Gian (Steps of Time), was met with controversy in his conservative homeland.
However, overcoming the initial controversy, the work went on to receive the VAPA Cup from the Vietnam Photographic Artists’ Association. This marked the first time the association has bestowed the award on a photographer for a collection of nude photos.
According to VAPA jury member Duy Anh, “With low key lighting and monochrome techniques, Phien shows women’s physical and spiritual beauty.”
Phien has been taking nude photos for 22 years. When he won the honor, he said, “I thought of those who worked as my models. They are behind the success of my photos and have bravely defied social stigmas against nude modeling,”
Released a year before completing his university studies, Cuong Do Manh’s photo-story ‘Twins’ created a sensation in Vietnam in 2013.
The project consists of 20 photos that Cuong took of twin albino brothers, Huy and Hung, born into a poor family living in Ha Tinh province.
In addition to the hardship of poverty, the brothers face added adversities imposed their albinism – such as the need to avoid the harsh sun, and poor vision. Through it all, they act like any little boys – playing and smiling impishly.
Cuong believes the project’s successful reception was based on the uniqueness of the brothers, and honesty portrayed in the photos. This was the result of taking time to gain their trust by spending time with them – eating together, playing together, and even sleeping with them.
People who view Twins easily relate to seeing two extraordinary young brothers living an ordinary life.
According to Cuong, “These photographs are a window to the world of Huy and Hung – and what a special, wonderful and different view it is to my own.”