finding balance

Posted in personal by Kevin Vu on April 17, 2011

picnic at lauren’s place.

los angeles, california.

© kevin t vu


i’m dedicating this year to finding BALANCE in my life.



   life is no straight and easy corridor along

which we travel free and unhampered,

but a maze of passages,

through which we must seek our way,

lost and confused, now and again

checked in a blind alley.

But always, if we have faith,

a door will open for us,

not perhaps one that we ourselves

would ever have thought of,

but one that will utimately

prove good for us.

~ a.j. cronin



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

stepping back

Posted in personal, work by Kevin Vu on November 12, 2009

lauren putting on makeup. santa fe, new mexico.
© kevin t vu

having a photographic vision is definitely something that i am consistently thinking of. and as i reflect more on it, i realize that my photographic vision comes from who i am as a person, and not who i am as a photographer.

by taking a step back, i am better able to look at myself comprehensively. the decisions on who i surround myself with, what foods i enjoy eating, what clothes i wear, what type of art i’m interested in, etc. all have an impact on who i am. and i ask myself, why do i wear those clothes, why do i hang out w/ those people, why do i eat what i eat, why do i like that genre of art? my answers define the quality of life that i live and in turn define the quality of imagery that i put out.

the food that i enjoy eating elicit an emotion from me. when i plow into a good bowl of soulful chicken soup, i’m instantly taken home. the clothes that i wear are clean, simple and classic, i try not to follow the short-term cultural trends.  i love the visceral despair, ecstasy and drama of a caravaggio painting.  my close friends are amazingly loyal, trustworthy and deeply passionate about life.  (the words in bold are parameters for my vision and my brand)

you have to take the step back and see what you are saying with your life, only then can you really say anything with your photography.  this is where i want my vision to be.  my vision is a record of how i live my life.  i only hope that i can refine my vision enough to run parallel w/ how i live life and vice versa.

“I remember one of my friends saying to me ‘oh yeah, you just went to ny, you got lucky right?  you just got lucky?’  and he’s a photographer too and that comment gets me! There’s no such thing as luck for a start, you create your own. i just thought, well, you could look at it that way, but it wasn’t and you should try it and see…  You gotta be passionate about what you do, you really do.  Cause people notice it.. and they respect it. Its a very powerful drive to have.  It makes you sleep well at night if you do stuff you’re happy with that you’re making and achieving.”

– ben watts


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.