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YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR

Duong Gia Hieu: Observations from Saigon

How old are you?
I’m 24 at the moment.

Where are you from and where are you based at the moment?
I’m from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. I’m working and practicing as a photographer in Ho Chi Minh City.

What is your zodiac sign?
Taurus.

Which camera do you usually use for shooting?
I use a black mirror-less camera. I like to cover the name of my camera by a small piece of black tape to evoke others’ curiosity of the name. For me the camera plays an important role but it really doesn’t matter.

Do you remember the first picture you ever took?
Not really. I guess it was my selfie using my dad’s phone.

How and when did you start shooting professionally?
I came to photography 4 years ago but I’ve been seeking for professional works for only the past few months.

In an industry saturated with imagery, how do you keep your ideas new and fresh? Where do you find inspiration?
Just keep exploring on the streets and digging for the topics that I’m concerned about. I believe each person has their own concerns, if not we would be easily saturated.

Is there something you wish you knew more about?
I wish I’d choose biology and environmental science to study before. Every day I explore social media and I see an accumulation of bad news regarding our and the future generation. Our planet is too beautiful to be left behind.

How does your creative process usually look like?
Observation. I love to observe my own daily life and identify relevant topics that I want to explore and use those topics as my own references and bring them into my photography.

Which of your projects do you consider to be the best?
I’m working on a project called “Dress like Saigon”. As part of a generation living in a transitional era, I’ve always wondered what is the Vietnamese style in comparison to other easily recognizable and iconic styles, such as Japanese, Chinese and Korean… This project is a research to help upcoming Vietnamese designers understand our culture better.

Which city do you like the most?
I’ve only lived in 3 cities. When I first came to Saigon I thought it was horrible but living here day by day, I love it more and more. It’s like a poor growing kid that needs our help, this also means saving Saigon is to save ourselves.

What was your dream job in childhood?
I dreamed to be a pilot when I was 5. Then I wanted to be an architect, which I still want to be so far.

Favorite movie and why? 
I was speechless while watching “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, then I cried.

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