Posted in personal by Kevin Vu on January 2, 2010

portrait of mary. los angeles, california.
© kevin t vu

I truly believe that if you’re passionate enough about something and if you have the resolve to commit to it, then you can indubitably achieve it.

I understand the tradition of having new year’s resolutions, but why must it be the ‘new year’ for us to have purpose. If that must be the case, then let it be a new year everyday!

Lets be resolute in our ambitions and make everyday be a day of purposeful objective!

“The real truth is always found in the moment, never in the future. Sadly, not everybody is cut out for thriving in the present tense. Life is unfair.”

~ Hugh Macleod


wanting more

Posted in personal, work by Kevin Vu on December 5, 2009

hanging out w/ mary on a southern california sunday. west hollywood, california.

© kevin t vu

i can’t believe that the year is drawing to a close so soon. this time last year, i was in guatemala traveling w/ lauren. i have grown a tremendous amount this year and it has been a journey w/ so many twists and turns, bumps and bruises. but everyone of those turns have made me a better person and photographer.

this blog has been an incredible asset for me. it has enabled me to document my experiences. just as in my photography, i don’t do it for anyone except myself. for me, the blog is a tool for growth. i am able to look back and see how far i have come and how much further i have to go.

am i reaching for success?  for money?  or is it satisfaction w/ my life? i feel society presses me to understand ‘success’ as something finite. do i consider myself successful? is it a place to be at? somewhere that i can come to and relax? in my understanding, i see ‘success’ as a progression. success is the drive that pushes me to be a better person, a better photographer, a better friend, a better whatever. am i successful?! Definitely!! i strive everyday to be better! and i surround myself with those that pushes me to be better.  i find complacency lends itself to mediocrity.

” If you compromise what you’re trying to do just a little bit, you’ll end up compromising a little more the next day or the next week, and when you lift your head you’re suddenly really far away from where you’re trying to go.”

– Spike Jonze


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

keep on keeping on

Posted in personal, work by Kevin Vu on July 22, 2009

lauren in the garden.
© kevin t vu

living the life or trying to live the life of a photographer is not easy. one that many know, either through their own experiences or through their relationships. yet still, so many try to live it. why is that? in this economic state, is there still a romantic association w/ the job?

we were raised to have hopes and dreams and pursuing those goals is a heroic endeavor. but where do we draw the line and realize that we also have to survive physical existence. how do we balance between idealism and realism?

its a hard task to accomplish and some do it better than others. but those that can’t, what happens in the confines of the mental space can be excruciating.

so i make sure to keep moving. but sometimes i find myself idle and the doubts, confusion and hesitation creeps in.

that’s when i realize that i’m carrying a psychological sledgehammer, for those ‘just in case moments’ that i find myself in.

the ‘psychological sledgehammer’ is the community i am surrounded by. the people that help me to keep moving forward. the ones that get me excited about photography, about life. the ones that will help me in whichever way they can because they truly care about me. they recognize the times when i need to be called out on my self-loathing and the other times where i just need a friend. and of course, its a reciprocal relationship.

those are the people that you want to surround yourself with. (and that’s not just talking about photography, that’s about life in general.)

back to work

Posted in work by Kevin Vu on July 16, 2009

©kevin t vu

lauren enjoying a sunday lunch in the garden. santa fe, new mexico.
© kevin t vu

i’m back now in southern california. came back for work. i drove the 12 hours straight on monday. thought i had a job on tuesday and wednesday, but that fell through. though, we’re doing a prelight tomorrow for a movie poster at fox studios on friday. frank might also have another job on sat/sun. but that is still pending confirmation.

i went to pick up my film from the lab today and about a mile out from making it back home, my car dies! i’m not quite sure what’s wrong. it’s an electrical problem and i hope its just the battery, which is charging as i write. otherwise, its gonna be hard to make it to work in LA tomorrow without a car. fingers crossed!

i’ve been loving shooting in film. there’s such a magical quality to it, very childlike, not knowing what you’re gonna get. and the colors and grain of it are gorgeous. my next business purchase is going to have to be a scanner for myself.