Posted in personal, projects, work by Kevin Vu on October 26, 2009



portrait session w/ ana-Lauren at her home. orange, california.
© kevin t vu

its great to have friends that are patient and willing to give you the time of day to photograph them. ana-lauren and i had a great time during our portrait session. of course, it helps to bring some good music and a chilled bottle of white wine. i shot these on a 35mm and 6×6 film camera. normally, i would look at the 6×6 frame and think that i ruined the image by not properly advancing the film. but i realize that the uniqueness of ‘flaws’ is the reason why film is still so amazing! you never know for sure until the roll is processed. you just have to go with it and make it work for your visual style.

i shot some portraits for a non-profit last week with my film and digital camera. i had a small softbox to a profoto 7a pack. it was a very simple setup. i used the the softbox as a side light and let the left side of the face drop to black. i had my 35mm film camera hardsynced to the pack and shot most of the portraits on film. i used the digital more as a polaroid to check out my lighting. it was the first time i used the 35mm konica w/ a strobe pack so i wanted to make sure i had some stuff on the digital as well, just in case nothing comes out on film. luckily i did that because when i got the roll of film back from the lab, there was nothing on the negative. i shot two rolls and it looked like the lab just processed 2 rolls of unshot film. so its always smart to cover your bases, otherwise you can easily lose some clients.

if you’ve read my previous post, you would know that i had an opportunity to move to chicago for work. i’ve decided to keep pursuing my work here. i feel that i’m starting to build the foundations here in LA and it would be a shame to leave it now. The biggest markets in the US are LA and NYC and i’ve made some inroads to both. For now, i’ll keep investing my time and work in LA.

I’ll leave you w/ some quotes I’ve been chewing on:

“If I were to encapsulate what anyone must do, it would be to have a vision of life and depict that vision.”
-Joel Peter Witkin

“Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a consensus.”

“Never compare your journey with someone else’s. It’s a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his/her own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never ‘arrive.’ No one ever does.”

“Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency.”

– Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai



Posted in work by Kevin Vu on October 11, 2009

people relaxing by a tree. laguna beach, ca.
© kevin t vu

its been a consistent month of work for me and i’ve started to realize that i’ve made some in-roads in the photo community of LA. its been a bit arduous and slow, but i’m getting there.

as this is happening, i’ve also been in talks w/ a photographer in chicago who needs a full-time assistant. this is where the dilemma comes in. do i pick up and go or do i keep scratching and clawing here in LA. both offer great opportunities, but i need to see what’s best for my work and personality.

i cant complain as both are great options either way.

i’ve been reading rodney smith’s blog recently. if you dont know him, then go to his website now! his work is whimsical and has a timeless quality to it. the way he uses graphical/textual elements in his new book is wonderfully fluid!

there has been one entry that has really stuck w/ me.

“To say a photographer has a vision is to say the photographer has something unique to say about the world.  Why do some photographers have something unique to say, when so many others just shoot pictures that are general and lacking vision?  Most people would say it has to do with talent.  Maybe.  But maybe not.  Maybe it has nothing to do with talent.  Maybe it has to do with the ability to express one’s feelings.  The person who presents a strong vision has figured out a way to express his or her feelings, while others are struggling to do that.  Talent, then becomes not so much artistic talent, though that may be a good part of it, but rather emotional talent.”

What i have come to realize is that I could never be a documentary photographer.  I am run on my emotions.  People who meet me and who know my imagery find it perplexing.  They see a happy person and wonder why I have such dark imagery.  But that’s because they don’t know all the aspects of my personality.  The reason I shoot the way I do is because I’m traveling on this path that I have for myself, and it has, at times, been a very isolated road.  My work deals with personal issues in context to what is happening around me.  Its my view of how I see what is going on around me.  Seems a bit selfish, but I just can’t help it.  Its how I see the world.

heading out

Posted in personal, projects, work by Kevin Vu on July 1, 2009



summer in california. © kevin t vu

it’s summer and the 4th of july is this saturday. so i’m heading out. gonna drive to santa fe to visit some friends, do some odd jobs and celebrate the 4th. then i’m not sure where i’m heading next. might just drive back home or just keep going east.

i’ve switched back to film and will be shooting it on this trip. i have no idea what story i’ll be shooting, but i head out early tomorrow morning and all i have in mind is a photographic journal of my trip. i’m excited to be shooting on film again! it’s been a while. we’ll see how it turns out.