Award-winning photographer Phan Thị Khánh.- Photo Phan Thị Khánh Instagram.
Photographer Phan Thị Khánh has won international and domestic prizes although she only got into photography in 2017.
The prizes include a gold medal at National Young Photography Festival 2019, first prize in Skypixel 2019's Fun category and first prize in the Siena Award 2019's People category.
Her most recent achievement is third place at the Arial Photography Awards 2020 for the photo Harvesting Grass.
Tổ Quốc (Fatherland) online newspaper reporter Hoài An interviews Khánh about her work.
You have made an impression with prizes in domestic and international contests. Which prize please you the most?
Flower on The Water is the photo I feel most proud of. It has brought me a lot of luck with the number of awards and medals from competitions around the world. The biggest honour was the time I went to Siena, Tuscany in Italy to receive the first prize at the Siena Festival.
Above all, this photo has given many opportunities to me and brought me wonderful friends from all over the world.
I still remember when I took the photo. I went to the southern province of Long An with five friends to chase photography moments. It was forecast that there would be storms and strong winds.
I was the only one to stay whilst my friends left. That night I could not sleep listening to the wind and the rain.
That night I lost sleep, listening to the wind and the rain falling on the roof of the house in the middle of the forest. The next morning, it was still stormy and huge black clouds rolled in the sky.
At that time I was disappointed. But like a miracle, the sky was suddenly clear and sunny by about 8.30am. I took the photo of the clear and smooth water surface. After the storm, the sun was very clear and the weather was calm.
Everything looked like the perfect arrangement for me to take this photo.
You are not veteran in photography. Do you think that taking photos is hard work?
I have spent three years pursuing this work. Frankly, sometimes I feel exhausted and want to give up. I work hard staying up late and getting up early, moving a lot being restless or facing unforeseen dangers.
I take advantage of nighttime to practise Photoshop and see photos. I take a lot of photos and spend time and money to have a perfect one.
I think that beautiful photos deserve my effort. I found that I didn't know about my own strength and determination. My family including my mother and my boy help me a lot.
What is the biggest difficulty you encountered when taking photos?
It took more than two months when I took a series of photos of Landmark 81 in HCM City. I was mesmerised by the ambition to have a set of photos featuring the different moments of Landmark 81 which is a symbol of the national economic achievement.
To snap the precious moment, I stayed up nights in a row to capture dew falling at night and clouds around the buildings. There were nights when I sat alone on the banks of the Sài Gòn River taking photos until morning.
I think that I am so daring. But more importantly, I did it and I'm proud of it.
Why do you take photos of landscapes and not other subjects?
I must say it is very lucky for me as well as for other Vietnamese photographers who were born and raised in a rich culture.
Việt Nam is one of few countries in the world that still maintains many traditional craft villages with rich genres and unique historical and cultural characteristics.
Craft villages are one of the precious materials in photography and they are difficult to access in other countries.
I chose this subject to introduce Việt Nam to colleagues at international photograph festivals to convey that Việt Nam is a nice place to visit.
I had a dream at the beginning that my photos will be used more and more in the world. They may appear in print and online. I hope they will be hung in galleries or living rooms and seen by lovers of beauty all over the world.
You have travelled to many places in Việt Nam to take photos. Where do you like the most?
I have special emotions towards Đà Lạt City in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng. It is the city of flowers, the fresh air, the beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous lakes and green valley of postcard beauty. Đà Lạt people are gentle.
Plus, I like the mountainous northern province of Hà Giang. It is best experienced as a road trip on two wheels, soaking up the majesty of the landscape and the atmosphere of the remote towns and minority villages. — VNS