Monday Inspiration

March 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve made a few biggest decisions in my life recently, and now I’m in the phase of coping with them. All are quite exciting indeed.

Two days ago, I launched my babe ZINC Studio (no, it’s not an actual studio yet but it will be one day), which meant I would, hopefully, start working full-time as photographer. ZINC Studio focuses on wedding, portrait, and music photography – some areas that I’ve developed an interest in in the past few months. They say the beginning is always the hardest part – I would totally agree. But I’m sure everyone has got to start somewhere and so do I. By the way, random thing yet related – I love a saying of President Obama on Human of New York that basically says:

But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ — then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.

There will always be a path.


I wish when things become a little more official, I can update you all on what has changed then.

For now, I’m back on the Internet searching for inspiration. I’m feeling as if I’m, once again, lost without a clear direction in photography. I even feel like I vaguely know who I was a year ago. I’m in search for a new beginning – something different, something I didn’t know before.. After a long break (over a year), I think that is exactly what I need.

I haven’t seriously spending much time on photography as years ago (either shooting photos or looking for a source of inspiration), and at some point, I thought things will never be the same as 18. But I’m now a bit more certain that life will eventually lead me back to photography. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Let me know which books/ photographers/ sources I should take a look. 


Solange & Puma’s “Wild Wonder” Collection

The Siesta Project

Ben Sandler

Jaka Bulc

Antoine Bruy

Still Life

Thomas Prior

Franck Bohbot

Want to be happy? Slow down

February 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on

In 1972, Matthieu Ricard had a promising career in biochemistry, trying to figure out the secrets of E. coli bacteria. A chance encounter with Buddhism led to an about turn, and Ricard has spent the past 40+ years living in the Himalayas, studying mindfulness and happiness. In this free-wheeling discussion at TED Global in October 2014, Ricard talked with journalist and writer Pico Iyer about some of the things they’ve learned over the years, not least the importance of being conscious about mental health and how to spend time meaningfully. An edited version of the conversation, moderated by TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz, follows. First, Pico Iyer on how he became taken with the idea of staying still:

Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED. Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED.

Pico Iyer: When I was in my twenties, I had this wonderful…

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January 16, 2015 § 1 Comment


driving home today and listening to a new addictive Viet song, I finally felt what I’d been feeling for years before anh came along—little nostalgic, missing a few people and some pieces of an old golden life. questions rose in the far horizon and quietly disappeared like the sun came up and down each day. I wished the ride home could be longer. maybe I could have driven longer and taken a detour, but life is now filled with things you’ve got to do. there are hardly times to daydream and to miss everything in this world. but tonight, I miss so many memories all at once. isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?–you either don’t feel a thing or you do feel so much.
the cigarette was lit, and I held it between my two fingers. friends—I missed friends. I miss good talks and golden silence among people who don’t need to say anything for others to understand how they feel. I miss the night rides across this country I have called home for so long—the nights we stopped at random gas stations, ate instant noodles as if it was the best meal a meal could be, and loved every single moment we were living.
we probably didn’t know it could be so easy to miss such moments badly. when you live pass good times then get back to rat race life, you wonder how you got the courage to do it all.
I long for nomadic days. I long for those nights we shared in the deserts of my southern home. I long for laying down on a bench, among some dearest people in my life, and watching the stars above our heads. each found their own comet crossing the night sky then made a quick wish, believing in miracles to come.
life was so easy and beautiful then.
now I can only long for it as if it was never my life… as if it belonged to someone else.

Give me that peaceful, wandering free I used to know..

January 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Give me my badge and gun
Give me the road that I may run
Give me that peaceful, wandering free I used to know
I’ve waited all I can
But I’m just not a patient man
And I’ve been hiding here for seven months or so

Hand me down my golden hat
And grab the winter one at that
You never know how long I’ll be away

Give me my badge and gun
Give me the songs that I once sung
Give me those jet-black, kick-back, lay down nights alone
This house is safe and warm
But I was made to chase the storm
Taking the whole world on with big ol’ empty arms

Tell my friends I tried my best
That one day I just up and left
They probably saw it coming anyway
What can I say
Hey, hey

The lock is on the cellar door
I can’t remember what it’s for
I ain’t been down those stairs in oh so long
So, so long

Give me my badge and gun
Give me the road that I must run
Give me that peaceful, wandering free I used to know
The copy of your key is hanging where it used to be
Good as you’ve always been to me
The life I need to lead
Is somewhere out there, callin’ over those hills.

– John Mayer

Today is the day.

January 11, 2015 § 1 Comment


“It feels great to watch life through the lens of a camera. It feels great to press that shutter button and hear the click.
When my mind is shut from the worries of the world, I feel happily emptied. It frees me from the burdens of trying to join society, to become someone.
With the camera I can be no one. I can walk the street and watch life going by.
It feels great to shoot whatever gives you feeling. All of life’s mundane things somehow fit together in a picture. At the press of a button, in a click of the shutter, anything that I want to keep stays with me.
I am lucky that photography makes me feel this way. I feel lucky I look at life the way I do. I no longer want to be a famous photographer or having the best photos. It is the process of taking a photograph that makes me happy.”

A piece of writing from my dear friend, whom I wholeheartedly admire and treasure much.

Yesterday was quite a painful day to be alone. Yet, being alone was the only way for me to be stronger on my own. The recently created habit of running to people as soon as I felt down has become quite poisonous. It is certainly not wrong to do so; it is just not healthy, I believe. So I created a new habit of switching my phone to airplane mode and being all alone when I feel out of control. (Out of control! Such a strong phrase. By that I only mean when I am not quite calm.)

The tough night passed as the tears dried. I woke up to another arduous morning, feeling much exhausted and hopeless. It must have been years since I last laid on bed for another 2 hours or so without an effort to get up. But you know, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the good days. At noon, I finally got up and wiped those tears off my face once again, knowing that I have to try again. I must. When you gave something your best and you failed, that’s when you know you have to try again.

But what I really want to write about today is photography.

The pain last night made me ask quite a thousand questions about where things went wrong and what really mattered to me after all. What makes me happy? Now that I don’t even often do the one thing that makes me complete (making photographs), what truly lightens up the day even though it is a gloomy one? I found out the answer once again.

Photography. I can feel the joy in just the thought of holding the camera and clicking that shutter. I can feel the joy in sitting down at my desk and working on images. I can feel the complete joy in making art. Though the break has been a bit too long, I no longer fear that art will slowly make its way out of my world, because it has already run in my blood. It is impossible to disappear. As long as my blood still runs, art will be with me. That’s when I came across this beautiful piece of writing that speaks for me. “I am lucky that photography makes me feel this way. I feel lucky I look at life the way I do. I no longer want to be a famous photographer or having the best photos. It is the process of taking a photograph that makes me happy.”

Today is no longer the day to be in pain or to look back. Today is the day to feel grateful about family, friends, and things that make me feel alive. Today is the day to stand up and try again.

Collection of random notes

January 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

“Ten long trips around the sun since I last saw that smile, but only joy and thankfulness that on a tiny world in the vastness, for a couple of moments in the immensity of time, we were one.” – Ann Druyan

That summer was veiled in a thin layer of sadness

A small cloud of butterflies land in my stomach.

The house baths in the moonlight…

“You cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are ‘not that sort of person’.”
“But, I’m not.”
“How do you know? You’ve done nothing, been nowhere. How do you have the faintest idea what kind of person you are?”

(From “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes)

“It’s overwhelming and so moving to stumble upon kindness. I was on a train to work as usual and sat in front of a homeless woman. An Asian lady came in at a station and immediately asked if the homeless woman wanted some donuts. She spoke with her broken English that was filled with care. That’s what we are here for.”

“Nights like today’s make my heart worn. And it makes me miss my 18 years-young most. Heavy heart. Continuous unknown tears. Broken but not. Miss everything there is in this world. Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurts? I can feel that now. I look at him and tears would stream down my cheeks. If one day this love ends– possible as everything on earth is–it will hurt so much to leave, and I don’t know if I can move on ever again.”


January 2, 2015 § Leave a comment


* Đoạn viết có phần sướt mướt của cô gái đang yêu. Và cô gái này lâu rồi không viết tí gì nên lời lẽ khá lộn xộn *


1. Càng sống càng thấy có nhiều điều mình luôn nghĩ mình biết về chính bản thân, nhưng trải qua một khoảng thời gian nhất định lại nhận ra thực chất mình không hoàn toàn hiểu. Sau một thời gian có-lẽ-là-khá-dài single, mình luôn nghĩ việc ở một mình là chuyện đã trở thành thói quen. Ở Dallas, ngày ngày vẫn lái xe ra tiệm Starbucks cách nhà 10′, ngồi từ sáng đến bao giờ chán thì thôi. Hoặc chạy xe ra bookstore to đùng và giấu mình sau những tủ sách cao. Hoặc lang thang ở Target (seriously, sở thích đi dạo các retailing stores). Hoặc chỉ đơn giản là ngồi đọc báo, tìm nguồn cảm hứng nghệ thuật từ các bạn nhiếp ảnh gia trên thế giới. Cuộc sống một mình chưa bao giờ làm mình cảm thấy khó chịu. Ít ra trong một thời gian, ký ức của mình là như thế… Nhưng khoảng thời gian hiện tại đang làm mình tự hỏi liệu bản thân có phải là một “introvert” thật hay không? Hay đằng sau những giây phút yên ắng là một đứa nói siêu nhiều và thèm khát được giao lưu với xã hội? (Cái sự thèm khát này chắc chắn có tồn tại ít nhiều) Hay vì thời gian holidays ai nấy tay trong tay du lịch khắp nơi còn mình luôn phải làm bạn với cái bàn khiến đầu óc mệt mỏi? Hay chỉ đơn giản là mình đang bị spoiled nặng nề sau gần một năm luôn có anh bên cạnh?

Có lẽ đã quá nhiều thứ thay đổi từ lúc cuộc sống còn nhẹ nhàng và không nhiều trách nhiệm như lúc ở Dallas. Tháng ngày này dường như lúc nào cũng có những việc quan trọng đang đứng sau lưng nhắc nhở từng giây. Có mười mấy ngày nghỉ thì vẫn lắm việc cần làm. Phải chăng là cái giá của growing up? Challenging… yet exciting.

2. Đã rất lâu rồi mình không chụp, và quan trọng là mình cũng không nghĩ nhiều hoặc buồn nhiều về việc ấy nữa. Như thể việc không đi chụp là điều… bình thường. Mình nhớ những buổi thực sự create arts. Ở đây, arts là những hôm chụp cùng Anna, Susi, Ly, hoặc Oanh–những lần chụp với muses trong đời mình và cùng nhau chia sẻ một cảm xúc gì đó trong tấm hình. Arts là những lần đi khám phá thế giới và lưu lại những khoảnh khắc tuyệt vời của tuổi trẻ. Arts là telling stories, là capturing moments, là một thứ mang lại hạnh phúc thật sự cho bản thân. Và như thế thì chụp models có lẽ không mang lại niềm vui đích thực cho lắm.

Mình nhớ lắm… nhớ lắm những chuyến đi.

3. Thay vì luôn điên đầu và mệt mỏi khi phải ở một mình miệt mài với sách vở và nhớ anh, có lẽ mình nên cảm thấy grateful. Grateful vì có khoảng thời gian không quá bận bịu ở công ty để tập trung luyện thi. Grateful vì có khoảng thời gian này để trân trọng hơn những lúc có anh bên mình. Grateful vì mình có sự lựa chọn riêng cho bản thân. Grateful vì tất cả.


November 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Heavy heart. And mind. And trying not to complain.

1. I remember the excitement, the hope, the ambition, the “plan” at one point in life. Couple weeks back, for instance, I remember the determination to conquer 5K running, which I still am on my way there. Couple weeks further back, I remember the goal I set for myself. Today, I’m here hoping that time would turn back a month and half ago. There are many things I’d like to change. This is what my life looks like. It’s filled with motivation from time to time, then it’s filled with regrets from time to time. The modes keep switching back and forth with promises in between. That’s why I’m nowhere near the place I want to be. Arg! Such a loser!

I hate it when people say it’s a human thing. I know mistakes make me human and they (supposedly) are necessary for my 20s. I need to make mistakes to learn, and it’s better to make mistakes when I’m young. But the thing is… I rarely learn. There are countless time in my life when I just sit there, look back to the last couple weeks/ years and hope things could be changed. It sucks, I know. And I also know that I’ve gone a long way to be here but it’s not enough. Every effort is not enough. Not yet.

Trust me, I’m not even asking too much of myself. You’ll agree if you know me.

2. Sometimes I (sort of) want to run away. On the train ride to work, I often wish it would change the direction and lead us all to the wilderness. I often think of Norway and Ireland and Greece, just anywhere in Europe. I often think of leaving everything I’ve built behind and become a true nomad. I often ask myself: “What if I really leave everything and go?” Then I thought of my favorite article about traveling when you’re young. Maybe I have too many excuses. But it’s not time yet… I have people I treasure here. I still have things (I don’t like to do) to take care of.

But I’ll keep this flame alive. One day. One day, I’ll wander to unfamiliar places and explore this world.

3. South Korea and Winter Trip were the best time of my youth thus far. There were nothing to worry about. The absolute freedom. The dear friends. Night on the rooftop watching Seoul fell asleep. Living life. Crossing borders.

Về chuyện nhật ký du lịch…

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Dạo này mình chăm đọc cuốn “Những Chuyển Điệu” của chị Nguyễn Thiên Ngân. Đây có lẽ là cuốn sách Tiếng Việt duy nhất mà mình đọc mấy năm gần đây… Nhớ ngày xưa anh trai mình nói đại khái là nếu muốn du lịch này kia, giỏi thì làm được như Thiên Ngân đi! Rồi cũng nghe cả chuyện chị bỏ làm đi du lịch. Nghe chuyện rõ là một đằng, đọc sách lại là một nẻo. Bỗng nhiên thấy connected với cái chị Ngân này. Mình thích cách chị nghĩ (nhiều phần giống mình..) và viết–dí dỏm, nhẹ nhàng, nhiều cách so sánh hay hay. Đọc cuốn này thấy mình vừa như trở về những ngày cấp ba dễ thương, đầy kí ức ngọt ngào (đây chỉ là cảm xúc về nửa đầu cuốn sách…), vừa thèm chạy thẳng quách lên White Mountain hay gì, hít thở không khí núi non một tí. Nhưng hơn hết, tự nhiên mình (lại) muốn viết nhật ký du lịch của mình bằng tiếng Việt.

Viết nhật ký du lịch để làm gì? Chẳng để làm gì. Mình luôn muốn lưu lại cảm xúc của , lưu lại những gì mình suy nghĩ về cái cuộc đời của mình và mọi người trong hiện tại, lưu lại những lần vui buồn không lý do, chỉ để sau này đọc lại xem mình đã đi từ nơi nào đến nơi nào và đã thay đổi ra sao. Những tấm hình mình chụp có thể lưu lại khoảnh khắc trong đời–như níu giữ lại cho chúng không trôi vào khoảng mang tên “dĩ vãng”–nhưng không cho mình biết trong đêm sao hôm ấy ở Marfa, mình đã nghĩ gì về cuộc đời… Rồi thì mình chỉ muốn qua những dòng viết linh tinh mà thật lòng ấy hay những tấm hình mình chụp bằng cả con tim, mình sẽ truyền cảm hứng cho ai đó. Mong là chữ “duyên” sẽ đưa mình đến gặp thêm nhiều người bạn đáng mến.

.. Và thực tình mà nói thì mình cần tập viết cho đúng chính tả.

Nói chung là từ nay, mình sẽ cố gắng viết blog này bằng tiếng Việt để lưu lại & chia sẻ những ngày mình lên đường khám phá thế giới. Hy vọng mười năm nữa ngồi đọc lại sẽ được trận cười ngặt ngẽo, tự hỏi ngày xưa mình nghĩ cái gì vậy. Thấy mà vui.


August 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I made friends with some kind people from Boston and London. We got together for a photo shoot shortly before Trang, my model in here, flew back to Saigon. It is wonderful to meet someone who would go on trips with you for a shoot here in Beantown. I miss that. I also want to thank Floral Punk for the beautiful earrings they sent me all the way from Germany! This is more like a fun shoot, but I’m also shooting something editorial for Floral Punk either this weekend or next weekend.


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