Things That Count is an online collaboration between young photographers from Europe and Vietnam. During 10 weeks from March and May 2021, students from the Photography department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium communicated online in text and images with young Vietnamese photographers about important current topics in modern society. Ten values include family, safety, gender, heritage, humor, intimacy, freedom, power, knowledge, and faith.
In times of COVID-19, existential questions are posed to young people who are now facing an uncertain future. Each week, the participants dealt with an assigned “value”, which they first discussed in pair, then provided each other with inspiration, and finally expressed their personal opinion of the value in question in one single photograph. The resulting images and fragments of the written communication between the participants were published online, where perspectives were shared and friendships developed.
Bert Danckaert, associate professor of photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp who spearheaded the project, shares his thoughts after three intensive months: “What struck me most was the immediate openness and trust that the participants had in each other. The project seemed to generate an injection of hope facing another continent, a virtual bridge between two cultures. Looking back, I think the most important and eleventh value is that of trust.”
At a time when social contact is severely limited, Things That Count sends a hopeful signal by creating an international network among upcoming artists and sober reflections on what is considered valuable today.
Participating photographers include: Hoàng Minh Trang, Ana Lucía Fernández, Catherine Smet, Nguyễn Vân Nhi, Phạm Hà Huy Anh, Daria Oprean, Eduard Michalko, Nguyễn Minh Hoàng, Kiên Hoàng, Moritz Broszat, Trần Vĩnh Đạt, Robert Sasarman, Cao Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, Sarah Kirchner, Oxiea Villamonte, and Nguyễn Thanh Huế.
The project was initiated by Bert Danckaert, associate professor of photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, and exhibited at Matca Space for Photography with the support of the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam.
Things That Count Location: Matca Space for Photography, 48 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Date: 8:00 – 20:00, 25/06 – 07/07/2021