Vietnamese photographer Thai Phien has finally been able to introduce his proud collection of nude photos to a wider public through an ongoing exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, after several years of careful preparation despite regulatory hindrances.
The June 16 – 20 exhibition, bearing a graceful name, “Mien Co Tich,” or Fairyland, is receiving positive feedback from visitors.
All of the 26 photos featured in the show were handpicked from Thai Phien’s nude photo book, which was released two months ago.
The artworks express respect and honor toward the beauty of women through the lens of the 58-year-old photographer.
Thai Phien even offers free soft drinks and parking to visitors to his exhibition, using money from his own pocket.
While the display did not attract many visitors on its opening day, the crowd of audience got larger on Sunday.
People of all ages, including students and the elderly, all spent a considerable amount of time admiring the bold yet subtle and delicate artworks by the photography artist.
“The works of Thai Phien always give me a certain respect for the beauty of humans and the best pulchritude of a woman through her feminine images and curves,” Nhung, a visitor, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Nhung visited the exhibition with her fiancé, and the young woman would spend several minutes standing in front of each photo as if she were enchanted by it, before exclaiming, “Very nice, very artistic and very emotional!”
Most of the visitors to the exhibition recognized that Thai Phien’s nude photography works contain high-quality art and do not leave any unesthetic, offensive impressions on the viewers.
Nude pictures are everywhere on the Internet. But Thai Phien has emerged as the first artist in Vietnam who is able to take nude photos that are beautiful and artistic enough to persuade regulators to allow them to be on public display.
“The artists must put all their minds and hearts into their brainchildren,” Thai Phien said, referring to the nuance of taking nude photos.
The artist also addressed the common prejudice against nude art in Vietnam, underlining that one must “have an esthetic view to thoroughly understand all the beauty of nude photography.”
First and possible the last
Thai Phien revealed that the exhibition is the sweet result of his ten-year effort to obtain a permit for a nude photo display, highlighted by several failed attempts.
Thai Phien told Tuoi Tre that he had wanted to give up many times.
“I thought I would never make it, even though it has been my dream for a long time to hold an exhibition for all my brainchildren,” the photographer said.
Thai Phien has failed in two of his three attempts to obtain a permit to run his nude photo exhibition in the last ten years.
“I did receive a license in the other attempt, but it was canceled at the last minute,” he added.
Thai Phien said those failures have greatly discouraged him from initiating yet another permission-seeking process.
“The ego of an artist sometimes made me think that I did not need an exhibition anymore,” Thai Phien recalled.
“So this might be the last time I have done [such an exhibition like] this,” he concluded with disappointment.
However, the 58-year-old photographer still hopes that more quality nude art exhibitions will continue to be introduced to the public, instead of being only known within the walls of photography associations.
“Mien Co Tich” is taking place with free admission at the Ho Chi Minh City Photography Association at 122 Suong Nguyet Anh, District 1 from June 16 to 20.
On July 23, Thai Phien will bring the exhibition to Hanoi.
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