Matca Creation Grants 2021

Cinematic Photographs Of Dinh Nguyen

I came across Linh Ta Linh Tinh #1 (translated as Randomness #1) of Dinh Nguyen when it popped up on my newsfeed after it was liked by a mutual friend. It was a collection of vignettes composed of contrasting and dramatic lighting which resembled film stills. Dinh’s photos avoid the usual visual tricks often seen in street photography nowadays. Instead, he brings in a curious and poetic point of view while at the same time, keeping a distance with the subjects in order to convey a cinematic taste that can only be understood based on each individual’s perspective and feeling.

What is photography to you?
I’m an architect, so at the beginning, I took photographs mainly to support my job, but as time passed, photography became a tool to perceive things in a different light. It feel like a date where I can be my true self.

Light and color from your photos are very cinematic, do you find inspiration from movies?
Whatever inspires me, will more or less affect me. Inspiration can come in many forms, not just in the form of movies. Perhaps photography and cinematography speak sort of the same language so the effect is more apparent. I enjoy watching movies which convey a sense of vagueness and uncertainty, such as, Lost In Translation, The Vertical Ray Of The Sun, Chungking Express or You, The Living,… they deliver an unbalanced feeling where abnormal and opposite things meet. They are a mixture of sadness and humor, of reality and dream, of romance and harsh reality. I also really like the feelings provoked while reading Things by George Perec and Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk.

You find yourself curious and romantic?
Not really, maybe a bit of both.

What do you look for in a new space?
I don’t particularly try to find anything specific. Although, I’m easily drawn by scenes that are free, unconstrained and messy, that don’t follow any particular standard and is mixed with a lot of different elements… Funny isn’t? Considering that I’m an architect and what I just said is opposite to the nature of my job.

Is walking a big part in your photography?
Yes! It is pretty normal and natural for any street photographer.

Are you currently having any other photography project that you can share with our readers, perhaps Linh Ta Linh Tinh #2?
Photography is still only hobby of mine when I have time. Maybe there will be Linh Ta Linh Tinh #2 when I perceive things differently compared to now. A detailed and long-term project needs more time, effort and a different approach. Therefore, this plan will remain a plan.

Thank you very much, Dinh! I wish you would soon find out more inspirations for the upcoming projects.

Định Nguyễn is a street photographer based in Ho Chi Minh City. He practices photography as a personal way of perceive things and events surround his living.
Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.