The human body carries us throughout space, gathers the scars of time and coats our very being: it is the vessel of skin and flesh that transports us across dimensions, carrying feelings, intentions and experiences towards our destination. With such vision in mind, the photographer Meiji Nguyen presents a portrait of the human body in its various forms and purposes: whether this is a mother whose womb is heavy with human life, a ballet dancer stretching her tight muscles in an arabesque or someone standing poised behind a drooping hat. Skins are shiny and counterposed to minimal backgrounds, allowing for their freshness and radiance to emerge as a source of light.
Bodies meet in perfectly measured embraces, merging into each other or fitting together as a jigsaw. Flamboyant settings merge with the clarity of poses and gestures, where these human bodies seem to emerge from backgrounds of artificial distraction. The true thing in these pictures is only skin: in an exploration of bodies, postures and gazes, human presence becomes the subject of these collections, where a unique language is forged with compelling expressiveness, yet does not require a single word. In the works of Nguyen, the human body takes flight, balances simplicity, dances with reality.
How did you begin taking photographs?
My photography journey started during a trip to India with my cousin, where she let me use her manual Canon film camera. She set everything for me, all that was required from me was focusing, framing and pressing the trigger. I will never forget the feeling while I waited for the film to be finally processed so I could see the final prints. I was so fascinated by how I was able to capture story telling moments of my trip, through the use of photography. My cousin noticed my growing interest in photography and she lent me her precious camera to practice and experiment with. That’s how my love and fascination for photography began.
What is your favourite painting?
To be honest, I never had a favourite painting. Instead, I have come across some paintings that, at the time, have moved me and triggered emotion. I feel that our appreciation for art and types of art, changes with time depending on our age, knowledge and life experience. It’s forever evolving. I’m someone that appreciates all forms of art, from street art to grand masterpieces you would find in museums.
What are the connections, if any, between art and your photography?
Renaissance paintings and sculptures would have the most significant influence in my photography work. It’s most recognizable in how I select to pose the model, the hand gestures, and facial expressions. Photography is my tool for creating art. A photographer is able to use a camera and their photography knowledge to produce art, just as a painter would use traditional brushes to paint. There’s a genre of photography called Fine Art Photography. A Fine Art Photographers objective is not only to capture what is in front of the camera but to also produce a creative expression. Photography is a tool that helps us deliver messages, expressions and stories in a creative form.
What is beauty to you?
I love the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. To me, beauty is a combination of many factors such as colour, texture, movement, form and shapes that are aesthetically pleasant for one to look at. The definition of beauty can vary from person to person. Depending on one's age and life experience their perception of beauty will change too.
Photo Credit: Meiji Nguyen