#matcaspotlight June ’17 Collection

Matca has had the chance to meet Dong Hieu, a young and passionate photography teacher in Hanoi during the last days of June and immediately wanted him to be the curator for #matcaspotlight. Below is his selection. 

First of all, I’m so glad to have received the invitation to curate photos for #matcaspotlight June 2017. As an educator in photography, I appreciate what Matca is doing very much. This is great encouragement to the Vietnamese youth that wants to express their own views using photography as a tool. It is meaningful especially when we are wishing for a more open-minded and more specialized photo industry.

There are a lot of good images from #matcaspotlight that not only transfer information but also show the unique perspectives of their creators with distinctive personality and aesthetics. Some even clearly reflect creative experiments in both the content and visual, I consider this to be a good sign for the future generation of photographers.

The photos chosen below have some elements that particularly attract me. My selection is not meant to judge and rate, it is simply my own obsession with composition.

Best regards,
Dong Hieu

1. Photo by trongtin131.
This one captivates me at first sight, it presents a worried patient looking through the X-ray scan of his own torso. Through his look we can see that he’s developing a serious illness located at the space his eye is dwelling on.

The white skeleton makes an impressive foreground, which not only catches our immediate attention but also creates meaning for the photo. The subject seems to dissolve into the darkness behind him and  builds high drama when combined with his concerned facial expression.

2. Photo by hieupham1.
A photo that I have contemplated for a long time. It interests me not because of the content but the composition, an important element in photography. It could be said that the author is masterful in organizing the chaos in life into a harmonious picture. Two hands – one real and one shadow in two opposite directions, a big chunk of black in the middle and a small white part on the edge creates balance overall. There is light within the dark and darkness within light, it brings about a smooth transition in a black and white photo.

3. Photo by quibeo.
This picture introduces an interesting view. Frankly, shooting inanimate things and making it “lively” is a real challenge. The author has shot paper horses, which are still, but when seeing them we can sense a familiar story that we might have come across in our daily life.

The story is suggested from the contrasts in space, color and quantify, all linked together by the direction that the green horse turns to. The imagined story seems to cast a spell on these paper creatures and make them alive.

In this kind of pictures, besides describing textures, colors and conditions of things, photographers often “borrow” still life as metaphors to send some messages about human life.

4. Photo by pwin_pt.
This photo describes the atmosphere on the beach and is shot at just the right moment. Perhaps the photographer values the philosophy of “the decisive moment” by Henri Cartier-Bresson and applies to this picture. The bike and a part of an arm makes a good foreground, the relationship between the big and small and also the layers create depth in the photo. The framing and composition are clever in a way that it makes a photo with a lot of details without being messy.

The photographer is an acute and maybe quite mischievous observer as he neatly frames the man about to dive in within the bike and the arm. This is the most visually notable part of the picture. If he holds the camera a bit lower, we could see more of the foreground and sky, then perhaps the composition would be better?

5. Ảnh bởi phongsmonologues.
I enjoy how careful this image is made. Light plays a vital part in creating shapes, lines and space for the photo. It is minimally composed because of major negative spaces. The person appears relatively small, bringing about a sense of solitude.

The brilliant light on the stair leads our eye to him. I badly want another subject in the light so as to create a point of reference to the one near the window. The contrast in sizes, colors and temperature has been successfully employed and create a great sense of depth in space.  

Dong Hieu was born in Bac Ninh and is working as a lecturer of Art Photography in Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema – where he used to be a student a decade ago. Besides teaching, he often captures daily moments on the street. 

Connect with Hieu on Facebook.