We live in a time where street fashion photographers are practically running the streets in gangs, shooting herds of decadently dressed women, and updating their blogs at lightening speed during fashion week. The latest iPhone apps are now rivalling the latest cameras, allowing anyone to indulge in this behaviour and call themselves the next Satorialist or David Bailey. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's very refreshing when Orange County-native Teddy Nguyen says that he doesn't actually identify himself as a photographer but as someone who is simply doing what he loves. 

Soft sunsets, blue mountains, and pretty girls captured in the golden hour, Teddy's dreamlike images transport the viewer to his hometown of California with just a glance, leaving them seduced and without any doubt that he's an enormously talented (and humble!) individual who should never put his camera down. I predict big things for him in the future, and personally can't wait to see what happens. In the meantime, check out my interview with him below! 

Hi Teddy, can you tell us a little about yourself? 

The most difficult part of any of these interviews is the introduction. Do you say Hello? Greetings? or do you just get right to it? I think I’ll just get right to it. My professional name is Ted, my stage name is Teddy, and on my birth certificate it says Theodore. Long story short my name is whatever you want it to be. I just recently turned 23 this past September 11th (save your looks of pity it really isn’t that bad), but I really feel like I turned 50. And given that I just graduated from college about a year ago for Criminology, Law and Society and with a minor in Political Science, I’m currently studying the art of living life to the fullest with my camera along for the ride.

What's the best thing about being young and living in California? 

The best thing about California… there isn’t one thing. California is just amazing all around. But from a photography standpoint California is beautiful. The oceans are blue, the sunsets are golden, the hills are vibrant, and the people are interesting. It’s hard to generalize because it’s so big and there are some parts that aren’t so great, but from a southern California prospective, it rocks. You want the beach? We got it. You want the desert? We got it. You want the urban jungle? We got it. You want to be a stones throw away from a wild weekend in Mexico? We got it. You want horrible reality shows based on the county you live in? We got it (although New Jersey is a fierce contender). 

What sparked your interest in photography?

There wasn’t a defining moment where I just decided that I was interested in photography. What really keeps me interested in photography now is that it’s really just a way for me to capture moments in my life. When I take a photo I try to get the right colors, hues, and shades to really capture how I feel at that moment.  

There are people out there who claim to be able to read auras and who associate the colors that surround you with your personalty and how you feel. In a way, I feel like photographers are aura readers. We’re just simply trying to capture the subtle shadows and lights that surround us. And that’s the best part about photography, trying to accurately capture how you felt for that millisecond in time. Hell of a lot cheaper than a time machine if I do say so myself. 

Can you talk about your current influences and inspirations?

Music is one of my biggest influence. Whether it’s the sexiness of Santigold or the mellowness of Sufjan Stevens music has always been an inspiration. Art inspiring art is really a great thing. 

But what may seem odd to you is that photography in and of itself inspires me. Photography inspires me to travel to interesting cities, to do interesting things, and to meet interesting people. 

Who are the people in your photographs?

I’m very proud to say that everyone in my photos are either friends or family. While I’m definitely not opposed to shooting agency represented models, I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by inspirational people. 

What advice would you give to someone starting off in photography, and wanting to make a career out of it?

I honestly don’t feel worthy of offering advice. Largely in part because I really just started doing this about 2 years ago myself. So in a way I’m just starting off too. But since you asked, I’ll give you my 2 cents. 

Well for starters, have the most expensive camera possible and a lot of hot friends. Without both, don’t even bother. I’m just kidding... In all seriousness, based on my short experience, I think the best advice I can give someone is to just do you. Don’t be overly concerned about what cameras the next photographer is using or what agency everyone is shooting for just do what you think is right. It’s perfectly fine to be inspired by someone else’s work but I think true talent is organic.

Has the internet and social media helped (or hindered) you in any way? 

Social media has really helped me put my photos out there to the public. I think it’s amazing that I have photos on my blog with 19,000 reblogs and likes. To think that thousands of people have seen my photos is pretty cool. Something that would’ve been impossible just a few years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, those numbers are outliers. Most of my photos get 10 reblogs and likes at best, but again I’m not doing this for anyone but myself. 

When there isn't a camera in your hand, what are you doing? 

When a camera isn’t in my hand, I’m probably instagramming (OMGteddy) what I had for dinner. But if you consider that a camera, most of the time I’m just trying to spend time with loved ones. Nothing beats being around family and friends and of course, instagramming what we’re doing.

And finally, what's next? 

You may be surprised but the next thing for me is Law School. I’m currently working on applications right now. But no fear, I plan on having my camera with me the entire time. 

Check out Teddy's work here and follow him on twitter

1 comment:

Beavs said...

This guy is inspiring and fantastic and real and loving all in one.