arts • 24 Feb, 2016
Abstraction on Film
Thy Tran is one of the more intriguing and obscure photographers we’ve come across. Along with other Vietnamese photographers like Yatender and Kyanh Tran, Thy Tran leans very much towards the abstract realms, capturing bizarre figures in banal moments and obtusely arranged characters, usually completely faceless. And all on 35mm film, of course.
Although originally from Vietnam, Thy is currently studying in Melbourne, working with vintage clothing bran IIE IE Girls, and running a killer Tumblr account, as well as her Instagram. We liked her work so much we reported on her ‘Faceless Portrait’ series from last year, but we’ve been loving her Instagram feed so much lately, we just had to make Thy Tran one of our Insta Elite.
Don’t forget, if you want to be part of Insta Elite, use the #aainstaelite hashtag on all your Instagram posts, and follow us at @anyarenamagazine to see all the cool stuff we’re putting out there.
How did you get into the habit of taking photos and posting on Instagram?
Well, I started as a digital image-hoarder. I take lots and lots of photos on my phone and I don't delete them very often. My phone would run out of storage. However, this process is completely different when I use my 35mm film camera. I take less photos and I become more selective of what I really want to photograph. I spend a lot more times observing/working on the subject in front of me, rather than shooting like crazy, hoping to get some good shots at the end.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy taking photos using my phone every now and then, but shooting film is just a totally different experience. It gives me an immediate inner thrill.
How do you use Instagram to express yourself?
Lately, I’ve been updating the projects I’m working on through my insta account. Just some kind of sneak peek to keep my friends posted on what I’ve been doing.
How would you describe your art?
I want to create something surreal and uncanny within my photographs. People often ask me why there is ‘no face’ in my photos. For me, portraiture without a face allows me to stay focused on their body language and how I imagine their identity to be. I am interested in creating a narrative that comes from the body, as a sculpture, and their surrounding. I sometimes see myself going through a process of investigation into what sculpture can mean and I found myself abstracting the portrait even more.I have a lot more to imagine, a lot more to offer by telling a story without the face.
Any particular objects/subjects/moments that you are attracted to?
It really depends on what I have in my mind at that time. If I’m working on my projects, I might look for the right moments or have a particular vision of what/who/how I want to create my images. But I also do some random snaps every now and then whenever I see something that appeals to me. Quite often sometimes the subjects find me; sometimes I discover them.
How does Instagram affect your style and the way you express yourself online?
I think Instagram is a great platform to get more experimental, especially for creative individuals. For example, I’m now interested in creating .gif images because of the new feature “boomerang”.
Do you always feel inspired and ready to post every day?
I think it is the quality of the images that matter, not the quantity. I could disappear for more than 3 weeks if I don't feel like posting anything. I try to take photographs every day simply because I love to do so and I want to be better at what I do.
Do you spend a lot of time on the curation of your images or do you just put photos straight out there?
To be honest, I put in a lot of consideration when I post my images. Since Instagram has its unique grid format, my OCD can get to an extreme level. I usually don't post individual photos but do a ‘triptych’ since I like to focus on sets, not single images.
What defines a great Instagram feed in your opinion?
I don't know exactly how to define one (since it’s quite subjective anyway). But I am interested in looking at how people curate their images, there are heaps of interesting instagram accounts out there which inspire me to take more photos and not afraid of trying something new.
What do you hope viewers get from your photos?
If people look at my photos and have some kind of feeling toward my work, that’s great.
What can we expect to see on your Instgram in the future?
Currently I am working on some of my personal projects. I am hoping to exhibit my works in the near feature and be able to self-publish my own photo-book, they will be film photographs only. I am also looking for an opportunity to collaborate with other artists (of any field). I think it will be a great learning experience!
Photo credit: Thymcqueen's IG