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Viet Ha Tran: Photographing Dreams


Mariela Saldías

Have you ever wondered what it would be like having your inner dreams and emotions immortalised in a photograph? This particular question crossed my mind when I discovered the poetic and emotionally dense photographs of Viet Ha Tran. Vietnam-born and Spain-based, Viet Ha Tran is an award winning fine art photographer whose art mainly emphasises fantasy and imagination as a source of an aesthetic experience.

Since 2013, her artworks have been published in over 70 different newspapers and magazines around the world including Vietnam News, Vogue Italia and Vanity Fair France. Most recently, she has been listed as a global artist by Artprice, the world leader in art market information and is currently represented by the Galerie Sophie Lanoë in Paris.

Viet Ha Tran
Viet Ha Tran | Title: Remembrance of the shattered dreams | 2015

An exceptional journey to photography

Viet Ha’s career as a freelance photographer began three years ago. She first started out as a model in Madrid back in 2010 where she collaborated with renowned photographers from all over Spain. In early 2012, she became interested in photo-manipulation and soon after started to work as a producer for photo-shoots. This experience introduced her to a great number of photographers, designers, stylists and models in Spain and abroad. Viet Ha’s big breakthrough in the photographic scene came in early 2013 when she made the decision to shoot her own photographs.

As the artist recalls: “I enrolled in a basic photography class at EFTI in Madrid, then I bought my first camera, a Canon EOS 6000D and started shooting everything that came to my mind.”

Model, producer and self taught photographer, Viet Ha’s passion for photography is one of her many talents. She currently works full-time in the finance sector and dedicates the rest of her time to fine art photography.

Viet Ha Tran
Artist: Viet Ha Tran | Title: 1001 years of loneliness | 2013

The artist’s inner world

Emotions have an essential part in Viet Ha’s photographic work and through the eye of her camera, she draws pictures of women’s inner dreams, feelings and intimacy. From a very young age Viet Ha felt the need to express her emotions in some way. She feels that photography has given her the opportunity to paint her world of feelings as many of her photographs originate from her own sensations. As she commented:

I am a very romantic, dreamy and philosophical person inside and often feel as if I was trapped somewhere in between the worlds of reality and fantasy.

As a matter of fact, when looking at Viet Ha’s photographs one can easily feel transported to a timeless world where beautiful and very expressive women wander peacefully around nature.

With an air of classic paintings, some of her pictures remind us of works by Caravaggio, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as well as some scenes by James Tissot. Thoughtful and lyrical, Viet Ha’s photographs have the power to push viewers into a day dream where reality conveys with the artist’s inner world. We asked the artist where her inspiration comes from and she told us:

“My artworks are mostly inspired by a mixture of different elements such as philosophy, classic literature, Old Master’s paintings, music and Persian mystic poetry.” Viet Ha Tran defines herself as a classic art lover, most particularly of artists such as Titian, Rembrandt y Rubens but also admires the works of the contemporary Italian photographer Paolo Roversi.

The creative process

As the artist gently explained, the concept behind her photographs usually comes to her very naturally while reading a poem, listening to music or visiting her favourite museums. In the past, she has been in charge of styling her photo sessions, but claims that nowadays, she prefers working alongside creative directors and stylists in order to create a more consistent and elaborated concept.

However, the part Viet Ha enjoys the most is the digital processing that comes after the photoshoot. As she elaborated: “My photographic work heavily relies on post-processing. The photographs obtained after the shoot are only raw materials, post-processing offers unlimited ways of retouching the same picture and allows me to explore with my imagination.”

For an example of this, Like a Painting of Autumn, from the series Remembrance of the shattered dreams, is one of Viet Ha’s photographs that has received global attention. The picture is a combination of a real photograph, originally shot at a small lake in Madrid, and one of Monet’s paintings from the Water Lilies series. This very touching impressionism inspired photograph has appeared digitally on Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair France and at the Saatchi Gallery London.

Viet Ha Tran
Artist: Viet Ha Tran | Title: Like a painting of autumn | 2015

What comes next?

Viet Ha Tran will be part of the project “Soul of Vietnam”, which is a joint force of Vietnamese creative minds to promote the beauty of Vietnamese tradition and culture to the world. The artist is excited about this upcoming photoshoot where she will be working alongside top names from the Vietnamese entertainment industry. We will definitely keep an eye on this very talented and sensitive artist who gives a glimpse of her soul in every photograph she takes.

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