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.
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