Huong Quynh

We meet award-winning photographer Khanh Phan

Despite being on the Vietnamese photography scene for only six years, Khanh Phan has already amassed a significant collection of domestic and international awards. She has traveled the length and breadth of Vietnam, capturing unique and authentic images of the country and its people. Khanh Phan spoke to Heritage Magazine about her passion for photography.

Mending nets (Nha Trang - Khanh Hoa)

I had the opportunity to view a large portion of your work. Your photos reveal your painstaking camera angles and are infused with emotions. Where do you find your artistic inspiration?

I love this life through the eyes and heart of a woman who has experienced a great deal of loss, so I want to capture all the beautiful things I get to see. I’ve already traveled around Vietnam, but the more I explore the country, the deeper I fall in love with it. These trips help me forget sad memories, brush up on my real-world experiences and knowledge, and appreciate the simple things in life. To me, photography is much more than taking photos. It’s also a long road of learning and reflection.

Photographer Khanh Phan

How did you prepare for your long journey?

When I was still working in banking, I thought I would just be an amateur photographer. Back when I considered photography a mere diversion, I still devoted a significant amount of effort, energy, time, and money to taking satisfying creative trips. The more I traveled and took photos, the more I realized this is my destiny. I decided to leave my secure banking job to pursue my passion for photography and make my dreams a reality.

Can you share more about these dreams with Heritage’s readers?

The main themes of my photo collections and single images are the culture and tourism of Vietnam. Our motherland is stunning, with a multi-layered culture bursting with vibrant colors. I’m enthralled by the beauty of Vietnam’s four seasons. I was moved upon visiting centuries-old craft villages and meeting artisans who have passed down their family trade for generations. Every destination and location in Vietnam has its distinct beauty, so there is no shortage of photographic material. Taking and preserving photographs of the country and people of Vietnam is my life’s mission. Once I have plenty of experience and footage in various types of photography under my belt, I’d like to hold a proper photo exhibition outside our borders to promote the culture and tourism of Vietnam – in Europe, for example.

Stormy day (Phu Loc - Thua Thien Hue)

You’ve received hundreds of domestic and international awards and many of your works have been exhibited. Can you tell us about a photo that means a lot to you?

The most memorable photo, for me, is Stormy Day, taken in July 2022. It recently received the Gold Award in the People theme, Professional category, at the 2022 Chromatic Awards, was chosen as a Top 10 finalist of the American Photography Open 2022, and earned many other awards.

It was taken on a creative trip to Hue. I had just arrived at Lap An Pond when a storm descended. Lightning struck the pond itself, and heaven split asunder. The sky and the earth seemed connected by wind and water. My frightened companions fled into the car, leaving me alone to face the storm with my camera and drone in the middle of Lap An Pond. I was terrified, but I huddled down and snapped several photos in quick succession. Eventually, I found the perfect shot. Despite having to brave the storm, I came out with great results and a sweet memory to show for it.

Children in a traditional festival in the Central Highland (Gia Lai Province)

What’s your best memory with Heritage Magazine?

I purchased my first professional camera six years ago. On a Vietnam Airlines flight, with an issue of Heritage in hand, I wondered: How can I get my photos published in such a beautiful magazine? As I gently flipped through the pages, marveling at photos taken by my seniors, I secretly hoped that my work would one day appear beside theirs. That wish was granted, and some of my photographs have even been used as cover images.

Chúc mừng chị đã có những “quả ngọtCongratulations on your sweet success on your journey toward living your passion. We hope your greatest dreams will soon come true. Thank you!