minutes to hours to days

Posted in work by Kevin Vu on April 22, 2010

Brian at the beach to see if the waves are surfable. newport beach, california.
© kevin t vu

the days have gone by excruciatingly fast! i can’t believe may is almost upon us. I just finished a huge job w/ Frank. We shot the tv gallery for the show MADMEN. We had 8 assistants, 2 digital techs, and 48 profoto 7a packs! plus a 1,000 amp tow in generator. it was an 18 hr day that started at 5am. fun stuff!

its incredible the amount of skill, production, time and money it takes to do a shoot like that. and its incredible that i’m able to be a part of it! hopefully, one day, i’ll do the shooting instead of the assisting.

Work is still good and i’ve been able to buy some more gear. I just bought the canon 85mm f1.2, which is just a beauty of a lens.

The guys I work w/ are great and I feel like i’m really building a community here for myself in LA. I’m learning a tremendous amount and am making contacts w/ various producers, assistants, makeup artists, stylists and rental houses around the area. I’m making note of the people I like to work w/ so that when jobs come up, i’ll have a solid crew i can work with.

One of the things I’ve learned while assisting is that having a solid crew that you can trust will really help make the shoot day go smoothly. There are so many balls to juggle and you want to be confident in the people you work with.

“Their success is related to standing out, not  fitting in. Its a fad.  One wants to be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack!”

– Don Draper (MadMen)


to the new year!

Posted in personal, work by Kevin Vu on December 25, 2009

lauren in the garden. santa fe, new mexico.
© kevin t vu

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope this holiday season finds you all w/ those you love and cherish!

As for me, It’s been an absolute hectic winter season. Work has been relentless and consistent. I’m working and making contacts w/ some great people and i am moving forward in my own work everyday. The year has flown by and it has been an utter roller coaster ride.

I finally saved enough money to buy the canon 5d mk ii w/ the 50mm 1.2f lens. its being delivered as we speak and i cant wait to get my hands on it. my next lens will be the 24mm 1.4f, but i will have to work a little more in order to get that bad boy. i’ve fallen in love with prime lenses and i dont think i could go back to a zoom. but we know that all this gear and technical stuff is always secondary to one’s creative vision.

working w/ frank these last couple of months has taught me an incredible amount in photography. w/ frank, light is a conversation. each shaft of light is a sentence. and we piece all those sentences together to start the conversation w/ the viewer. its the suggestion of his portraits that make them so powerful.

and he’s been absolutely gracious! he’s helped w/ my photographic vision and has helped me to get shooting and assisting work w/ other photographers. and he’s giving me a print of my choice for a christmas present. i’ve narrowed it down to three and am gonna let him make the final choice of which one he wants to give me.

so if you happen to be in LA, i would suggest 2 current exhibitions on display that you dont want to miss! the first is irving penn at the getty center. and the 2nd is frank’s at the icon.  you can see some images of franks exhibition on his website.

cheers to a new year!! i hope it brings us all success, in every capacity of the word!

vision and solitude

Posted in projects, work by Kevin Vu on August 22, 2009





wild parrots, a gathering of artists and musicians performing their craft.
© kevin t vu

sorry for not updating in a while. i dont have much excuse because i do have the time. its more of a lack of inspiration due to how little i’ve been shooting recently.

i was able to photograph a wonderful event that gathered some amazing artists together. the above pictures are a sample from that night. there was such great creative energy in the forum and i was so glad to grab as much as i could.

work has been good, but inconsistent. it comes and it goes. you just have to ride with it. i am trying to figure out myself for the short term. would like to start another project so i’ve been playing w/ the idea of a roadtrip through baja. the whales come during the winter months so it would be fun to catch that while i work on my editorial portrait portfolio.

working w/ frank and art has been a tremendous learning experience. they are on different ends of the spectrum in their visual styles, but i love how they both use and search out natural light. we did an album shoot the other day at a beautiful beverly hills home and come 730pm, frank and an entourage of stylists, make-up artists, producers and assistants were busy running through the hills of LA searching for shafts of light before the sunset.  it was great to see that side of the shoot, especially since not a week ago we did a different shoot that used 32 profoto 7a packs.

well, i’ll leave you w/ some quotes i’ve read recently:

here’s the dilemma and the strength of photography.  its the easiest medium in which to be competent.  but, its the hardest medium in which to have personal vision that is readily identifiable.

– chuck close

we take pictures because of the kind of people we are.  we’re individuals.  and that’s why i take pictures the way i do.  i don’t say it’s the best way or the only way.  it’s just simply my way.

– arnold newman

aiden’s baptism

Posted in work by Kevin Vu on July 29, 2009






my sister angie carrying aiden out of church, w/ my brother-in-law hien following in tow. stanton, california.
© kevin t vu

the baptism was on sunday and i have to be honest, it has been a very long time since i was in church. and considering i was the godfather, i’d probably should’ve been to church more often. but i consider myself more spiritual than religious these days anyways.

as for work, july has been a slow month, but things have started to pick up in august. i think everyone took vacation in july. i’ve been working with frank mostly, we did a shoot for the LA Times Magazine on Monday. It was a quick and easy editorial shoot. And he has me on hold for a couple of more days this month.

I was able to go to his studio after the shoot on Monday. It has such a creative energy to it. In fact, his entire house was covered w/ walls of art that the family created. Diane, his wife, is such a beautiful and wonderful person. I had met her in Mexico with Frank. And they have two lovely boys with a lot of energy. i just love people that give you real hugs!

We were able to sit and discuss where I wanted to go with my work and vision. Frank gave me some great ideas and got me in touch with some of his contacts. He is definitely helping me start the right conversations with the right people, I hope I can just keep them going.

On another note, I’m heading to Santa Barbara early tomorrow morning to assist for Embry. It should be fun! Embry is such a great guy to work with. And I haven’t been to SB for a year so it’ll be great to revisit w/ some friends.

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.