This shoot was based on the Ao Dai – a traditional dress of Vietnam. The Ao Dai has always been something I wanted to shoot but the thing is, they are readily available everywhere here in Vietnam. You can get them from street vendors, tailors, etc., but the biggest problem for the look I was going for was finding a “Vietnamese-looking” model.

You read that, right and might ask, “Trevor, you’re in Vietnam, how come you can’t find a Vietnamese mode?”.

Well naturally, there are heaps of Vietnamese models, but I specifically wanted to find the one that had facial features approximate to a pre-1975 Southern Vietnamese woman. That is the “proper” Vietnamese face, the ones you may see now are very different from the past.

So I went on a search, and luckily I found one, her name is Truc Mai (a very Southern name as well).

For the shoot, I chose the location of the Ho Chi Minh City Post Office in District 1. This was because it is the oldest post office in Vietnam, constructed in the late 19th Century during French colonisation. The location, pre-1975 design Ao Dai and a subject with pre-1975 facial structure would hopefully all come together for the shoot.

The film I chose was expi\red Kodak Portra 400NC, rated it EI 100. The camera was my Pentax 67 along with my favourite lens: the SMC Pentax 90mm f/2.8. I metered the scene using the metered prism, always pointed at Truc Mai’s face. Portra 400NC is a great film in my opinion. Because it’s expired, it gives out the old vibe from the old photo albums I have in my home.

The shoot when exceptionally well, although we had a couple of paparazzi tried to sneak in a few free shots but I had my mates to cover it (I paid Truc Mai for her time and didn’t want other photographer’s taking advantage and/or uploading their digital image on the net before me).

Thanks for reading.

~ Trevor

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Trevor Hong

Ex-Haematologist, English teacher who enjoys Portra 400 way too much.

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6 Comments

 

  1. Very nice photos. I’ll say one of my favorite photos was one that I took during someone else’s photo shoot on a street in Manhattan of a model “walking” five dogs on 6th Avenue. Nobody blocked my view of the model or tried to stop me from taking the shot, but it was a different era before the internet made posting a photo quite easy. I showed my shot to family and friends, but nobody was ever able to locate the original In context.

  2. I admire your passion and commitment to this project. The images you have posted are stunningly beautiful and not only reflect a bygone time but a felling as well. I’m not sure I would have trusted such an important photo shoot to expired film.

  3. I admire your passion and commitment to this project. The images you have posted are stunningly beautiful and not only reflect a bygone time but a felling as well. I’m not sure I would have trusted such an important photo shoot to expired film.

  4. The ao dai – I’ve seen it in movies but never knew the name! A graceful and attractive yet practical garment, looks like. Your photos were a great introduction to it. Each culture seems to have its own wonderful contribution world couture. Great idea to photograph them! Thanks!

  5. Great. I have visited your great country and taken pictures of this great dress with my Contax system nearly 30 years ago. A nice, great country, which should be quiet, free in speace like mostly all the other small countries around, … but the vampire of the middle … is here. Returning on photography : very great pictures. Thank you so much.
    These dress are very elegant, class, they are simple, magic, and very pretty.