Viet Ha Tran is a Vietnam-born and Spain-based fine art photographer known for her emotionally dense and endlessly compelling photographs of women. Her art emphasizes fantasy and imagination as a source of aesthetic experience. Instead of taking photos, she tries to paint women’s emotions, inner dreams, intimacy, poetry and philosophy with her camera. As a result, her photos, apart from having an air of classic paintings, capture an ephemeral moment of feminine emotions flowing through the river of time. As reality plays hide-and-seek with fantasy, it’s a reflection of those volatile moods etched in the permanent state of change.
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
I started out my art career with digital manipulation, which has had a great impact on my artworks later on. My photographs are a mixture of photographs and digital techniques.
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
Over the years I´ve shot hundreds of fashion photo sessions but the photographs I´ve had the most success with are the ones I took without too much planning or a big fashion team. I specialize in photographing women, but in recent years I started photographing landscapes and nature which have brought me several photography awards.
Emotions have an essential part in my photographic work and through the eye of my camera, I try to draw pictures of my own inner dreams, feelings and intimacy, or reflect these emotions onto my photographs of landscapes and nature. I have created the best works during my career during the most intense emotional moments.
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
Although I can spend months planning the photoshootings, from recruiting the fashion team (from models, make-up artists, stylists, hair stylists, fashion designers etc) to choosing the location for the big day, I enjoy working with post-processing the most. The photographs I take are only the raw materials which need much work which I could spend up to 20 hours creating a photographic artwork (such as the photographs from “Xian: Myths of the Beauties” or “I Femme”. The concept behind my photographs usually comes to me very naturally while reading a poem, listening to music or visiting my favourite museums. For me, post-processing offers unlimited ways of retouching the same picture and allows me to explore with my imagination. It´s a journey inward.
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
I am greatly inspired by the paintings of the Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Rubens. I live in Madrid and have been to Prado Museum countless times, it´s my source of inspiration, I am deeply fascinated by the colors of the old paintings.
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
I have a very different art career path. I have been working all my life as a businesswoman before becoming a full time artist. My most recent position was Director of Admissions for Finance Master Programs at IE University (Madrid, Spain) during 2009-2020, where I also worked as Exhibition Manager at IE and Jury Member of IE Foundation Prizes in the Humanities IE University from 2016-2020. Before starting my art career full time in 2020, during 16 years I worked in market research, banking, financial services and finance education in Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Spain.
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
I like emotional music such as New Age. Enya´s songs enchant me and give me a lot of private emotional space.
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
I admire Canadian photographer Ysabel Lemay´s photographs and would definitely love to own one of her pieces one day.
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
I dream of having my art piece hung at Louvre Museum in Paris! I´ve been to this museum many times and I can absolutely spend the whole day admiring the paintings there. I love paintings from the XVII – XIX centuries.
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
I think it´s very important to be equipped with a lot of patience and peserverance and understand that an artist´s life is full of ups and downs. There will be many rejections and failures in the beginning and even later on after you are already successful. You to believe in yourself, love what you do, and most of all, and create art for the sake of beauty and with all your sincerity and honesty. Art should come from the soul, from your own being, your way of life and your desire of leaving part of you to the world every single day. The rest will follow. I think it´s not advisable to create something that the public wants because this will not be sustainable. Just be yourself because you are unique.
10) What is your favorite book of all time (fiction or non fiction)?
I am in love with Jane Austen´s novels. “Pride and Prejudice” is my most favorite of all times!
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non traditional art setting, where would that be?
A hospital or an orphanage. I think art has the power of touching them deeply and making them feel different tones of emotions. There are many artworks that have brought me joy the instant I saw them, and I think in such places where people need much comfort, motivation and inspiration, art can even do more.
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
Hard work pays off. Maybe it takes time, but no effort will ever be wasted. Also, any kind of work experience is precious, you can learn many things from even the smallest tasks.
Learn more about Viet and discover her collection of photographs.