The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Vintage Tran
DateJanuary 9, 2017
Photographer: Vintage Tran
Location: I am currently based in Paris – the “City of Lights” and “City of Love,” where working has been closer to pleasure than duty. I also have houses in La Baule in the west of France by the sea, and in Les Saisies in the French Alps, where I often go for a change of scenery, and to recharge and find inspiration. Since I practice parkour on a regular basis, home for me is anywhere I can climb a building to the roof, set up my hammock, and admire the scenery. There is a difference between being at home and feeling at home. For me, home doesn’t have to be under a roof in between walls. Home isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind and about being comfortable where you choose to be.
Equipment: I am using a Sony A7S, which is great for filming in low light situations, as I often explore my city when the sun is down. I only use native Sony lenses. In most cases, I use the excellent 55mm F/1.8 Sonnar Zeiss, which offers excellent bokeh and sharpness, and the 24-70mm F/4 Zeiss if I need a larger angle. I then edit my photos in Lightroom CC for color corrections and Photoshop if heavier editing is needed.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
I was actually in medical school. I made it to the 5th year – just one year away from the final medical exam before becoming a doctor – but decided to step out, as I knew that working indoors for the rest of my life wasn’t for me. I wanted my life to be filled with travels, meeting new people, and enriching myself, while sharing my way of seeing the world. My father was into photography as a hobby and taught me the basics when I was a teenager. I was so passionate about it and I just knew I had to go in that direction after I left medical school. Since he passed away in 2012, having photography and filmmaking as my job is a way to pay tribute to him and pass on his knowledge.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
I was part of the “Assassin’s Creed Unity” video directed in 2014 by Devin Supertramp, which got over 40 million views on YouTube. It took five days of constant shooting from 6 am until midnight with my team, The French Freerun Family, scaling iconic Paris spots and rooftops, and being kicked out by local guards and the police. Overall, we were arrested 13 times. Thankfully, we never got fined! It was very tiring, but it was one of the most mesmerizing experiences. The video had such a great impact that we did two other videos the next year – “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate,” which got 10 million views, and “Assassin des Templiers” with French YouTuber Norman, which got 30 million views.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
It’s all about drawing out the right gear at the right moment. I take my iPhone 7 out if I want to capture a situation quickly, because I know that I have fast access to my camera app and can take the photo in an instant. If I have more time to frame my shot, I will draw out my Sony A7S to emphasize the subject and the surroundings.
“Often, we tell ourselves that we will accomplish a certain task as soon as we buy the right gear, whether it is a lens, a new camera… Use what you have for your shoots, or craft a DIY technique to accomplish it. Challenges make you more creative, and lead you to discover new ways to shoot. “
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
People. It’s getting parts of ideas from other people, tweaking and putting your own touch on them, giving them your style and your logic. From day one, as humans, we have been learning through others; from learning how to speak, how to walk, and how to interact. I think inspiration comes from putting yourself out there, from experiencing certain situations with all of your senses. It all comes down to shaping and mixing a bunch of ideas, moulding them into one another, and coming out with something that’s truly original.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
My father has been a great mentor to me, analyzing my work in the early days and giving me advice on how to improve. He was passionate about pointing out the lines in composition, and it’s on that same point that I base my work.
A great influence has also been Leonardo Dalessandri, who is an absolute genius in video editing. He taught me how to embed more information in my work using very subtle techniques.
Tell us three photography tips.
1. Look around: If you have to take a shot, try to find the most creative angles possible. Look around you! Maybe there are some stairs or walls you can shoot from, or objects you can shoot through, or set up a “frame in a frame.” Most people are so focused on what is directly in front of them, but if you step back a little, you open yourself to more opportunities.
2. Be happy with what you have and use it: Often, we tell ourselves that we will accomplish a certain task as soon as we buy the right gear, whether it is a lens, a new camera, or a Steadicam. Use what you have for your shoots, or craft a DIY technique to accomplish it. Challenges make you more creative, and lead you to discover new ways to shoot. There are so many DIY tutorials are on the internet – take the time to look up ways to adapt to your situation. If you only have your smartphone to shoot, then shoot, and stop being passive while waiting for your brand new equipment to make it’s way to you!
3. Smile: Setting a positive mood and creating dynamic interactions is key for all shoots, whether it’s with your model or with the people around you. You want to make your model feel comfortable and confident to save time. Also, people around you tend to be nicer and let you go on with your shoot, rather than kick you out of your location, if you’re trying to shoot in a private or restricted area.
Finish the sentence…
If I weren’t afraid I would… take out my camera and film constantly.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if… I hadn’t had the guts to quit medical school.
I’ve been listening to… all of Hanz Zimmer’s soundtracks.
Kids these days… are too spoiled and should learn to be happy with what they have.
I look and feel my best when… I come out of the shower after intensive parkour training.
When no one is looking I… vlog.
Travelling… is what I live for.
I respect… achievement through hard work.