|Trần Hồng Nhung's nude photo exhibition, entitled "She Said" is held at Fu Hoo Cafe. Photo courtesy of ByC.vn|
Trương Khánh Linh
HÀ NỘI - Hà Nội-based photographer Trần Hồng Nhung is using her passion for nude photography to promote self-expression and self-discovery.
Nhung's journey to become a fine-art nude photographer was unexpected.
"At first, I just considered it as a side hobby and doing it for fun," she told Việt Nam News.
"The thought of being a nude-photography artist never crossed my mind, but my friend asked me to take nude pictures for her; and as I didn't want to upset her, I accept.
"Luckily, the pictures turn out great and my friend really likes them. After that, I started to take on nude photo projects and gradually become a fine-art nude photographer."
Despite the initial shock and confusion from her friends and family, Nhung continued to pursue her passion and was eventually invited to display her work at an exhibition in the Philippines. Her parents, who were initially shocked by her career choice, have now fully supported her.
During her four years as a professional photographer, she has heard many stories from women from all walks of life.
"I have learned that women still face a lot of prejudices, especially related to their appearance," she said.
"For instance, some people say that women are not pretty if they don’t have makeup on. I must admit that makeup is a great way to enhance beauty.
"However, there are those who dislike putting on makeup, some are allergic to cosmetic products. So they aren’t gorgeous just because they don’t follow some societal expectations of women? For that reason, I want to convey the behind-the-scenes stories, the stories that people rarely heard about in my pictures."
She has since noticed a common insecurity among many women she works with - their bellies.
"They often feel insecure about their belly. Not their chest or their back but their stomach, which some find quite surprising to hear," Nhung added.
"I feel like this insecurity stems from the unrealistic beauty standards that are imposed on women through the media.
"We are often bombarded with images of models with perfectly flat stomachs and small waists. This certainly sends a message that women's bodies must look like this.
"But I want to say that it’s completely ridiculous. We sit in the office for eight hours a day, not spending eight hours in the gym. It is extremely normal for us to have belly fat. The perfect pictures of women you see on social media are often heavily retouched and edited."
There are still many challenges and stigmas associated with nude photography, particularly when it comes to women. However, Nhung believes that it ultimately comes down to personal choice and as long as the subject is consenting and comfortable, there's nothing inherently wrong or shameful about taking nude photos.
|When the pursuit of beauty becomes a painful journey. Photo courtesy of ByC.vn|
|Creating her own happily ever after on her own terms. Photo courtesy of ByC.vn|
|'Embracing vulnerability'. Photo courtesy of ByC.vn|
Nhung's nude photo exhibition, entitled "She Said", runs until March 20 at Fu Hoo Cafe 104 Lạc Chính Street, Trúc Bạch Ward, Ba Đình District, Hà Nội.
The photographer hopes her exhibition will encourage people to become more open to this form of artistic expression and challenge societal beauty standards. VNS