I remember so vividly the first time I picked up a proper camera. It’s the same feeling I had as I wandered the streets of London for the first time as a professional photographer – hoping to stumble across an opportunity for a unique photograph.
Where do I begin? What’s going to be my inspiration? All of these sensations are close to me now as I write the first blog post for my new 2016 website.
That first time I handled a professional camera, the dream of being a photographer became a reality. I initially studied finance at university before I learned that art is something I’m much closer aligned to; so I changed direction to a much more fulfilling and exhilarating course.
Perhaps romantically, I believe that inside every person there’s a place for art. But for some it’s a long and arduous journey to discover what they’re actually into; so not everyone actually bothers to even try! Growing up in Vietnam, art, especially photography, isn’t traditionally what parents want their children to develop a passion for, or to follow a career in.
Fortunately, my aunt was an art teacher in my high school – I realise now how she inspired me! I miss the times I used to watch her paint and do quick sketches of us kids, as we felt as sleep during her lessons. It amazed me how good she was, and how quickly with a few strokes of a pencil she could capture a moment in time. How I wish now I’d kept one of those sketches.
My love for photography really came through when I was seventeen. That said, I didn’t really pick up a camera in anger or with any real confidence until I was twenty.
There’s a reason for that. My parents, and so many other parents of the same age who survived the Vietnam war years, passionately wanted their children’s lives to be different.
They saw many friends Word document editor and their families die. And I think that made them even more obsessive than parents in the UK; wanting desperately for their children to have a peaceful future. They drummed into us that we needed to be good at Maths, Physics, or Chemistry in the hope that one day we’d turn out to be a Doctor or an Engineer. So for twenty years of my life, art and creating images was relegated to the bottom of the ladder.
However, when I was a child, I and many other children were given pencils and crayons, also books with drawings of elephants, mice, cats, toys, so we could colour them in. I guess if any child colours an elephant orange, they’re using their imagination or trying to illustrate a story. It doesn’t need to stop there. I think that as adults, we need to pay attention to what the children are good at and enjoy doing. We guide, nurture and help them build their happiness.
The struggle with that is as we become older, certainly in the mid part of our lives, we become more concerned with neatness, orderliness and constantly finding the perfect solution. But in art, there are so many solutions. Of course, as humans, we are all ourselves a work of art in progress.