Days in The Sun
Ha Dao & Linh Pham / Matca
3 - 18 December 2019
Venue: FCC Angkor
The exhibition showcases the extraordinary life and work of Nguyen Van Chanh, a photographer and founder of the famous Luminor Photo studio from circa 1926 to 1954. The photos are selected from three family albums once owned by Chanh and his daughter, the first Vietnamese female director Bach Diep.
The collection of photographs depicts an unusual way of life during a defining period in Vietnam history. It offers a glimpse into how an individual played by his own rules and made his mark with photography during wartime. The photographs are significant for their historical context, such as fashion, vehicles and architecture, while also presenting an opportunity for the past to not only be revisited, but also recontextualized and reinterpreted.
The exhibition seeks to expand discussions about the much neglected role that studio portraits and vernacular photography, or the family album medium in particular, plays in national art and history.
The story of Nguyen Van Chanh and Luminor Photo can be found in the book Maket 01 – A Vietnamese Photography Village, the first printed publication and a deliberate attempt by Matca to explore and document the transforming photography scene in Vietnam.
Ha Dao & Linh Pham / Matca
Matca, whose name means fisheye in Vietnamese, is born solely out of our passion for and beliefs in photography as a form of narration and visual arts. We intend for Matca to be a collective, an alternative gathering space for the Vietnamese photographic community to seek inspiration and bounce ideas off one another. At Matca we acknowledge and feature local photographers as well as visual artists out there whose compelling works are often overlooked in today’s society’s context.
Ha Dao is a Vietnamese photographer whose works switches back and forth between being observational and self-referential. She has documented her own queerness in domestic settings, service girls in Siem Reap, male wrestlers in Kolkata and ethnic minorities in the highlands of Vietnam. In doing this, she examines the concepts that define the world and herself: gender, identity and cultural changes. Since early 2017, Ha has been coordinating Matca, a bilingual online journal and physical space dedicated to photography in Vietnam.
Linh Pham is a Vietnamese photojournalist based in Hanoi, Vietnam who has been covering Southeast Asia for National Geographic, The New York Times and Getty Images amongst others. Although working internationally, Linh’s personal works often return to document the avant-garde aspects of the issues that has a link to the past in Vietnam where his root is planted in. Linh co-founded Matca in 2016 with the hope of nurturing the local photography community.