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Thomas Van Dyke

Vietnamese Bridal Fashion

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Vietnamese Bride in a traditional áo dài

 

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All captures on a Nikon D3x

The full lengths are with the vintage Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4D Nikkor

While the profile portrait is with a vintage Tokina AF 300mm f/2.8 SD IF

 

Thank you...

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Adorable. Esp. the last two. The red gives an accent that suits the whole narrative perfectly


Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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Impressive portraits Thomas

 

The rim light on her cheek in 2 and 3 is perhaps a bit bright and big 

 

I bet it took quite a while to get her ready for the shots


Regards,

Armando

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Only one word for these: masterful. 

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Very imaginative image, as always.  The subtle reflection on the floor gives some noble feel to the image.

 

The hair styling with chopsticks may not be something people from the culture of using them would come up with, but is a nice idea and beautifully done.


"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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Impeccably posed and lit (as expected! :)  )

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Thomas, I'm curious about the black floor. Is that the way it looks or did you have to do some PP to get it totally black (apart from the shadow)? 

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Adorable. Esp. the last two. The red gives an accent that suits the whole narrative perfectly…

Thank you Frank… the hair stylist on the shoot agrees with your picks…

 

Ann you are way too kind… however beauty and grace was the easy part, in as this bride provided it all with very little direction… Simply demonstrated the pose dynamic I was seeking and she instantly mirrored same… oh if only some of the agency talent I have to work with were so easily directed… lol

 

The rim light on her cheek in 2 and 3 is perhaps a bit bright and big…

Armando I totally concur…  that said the challenge being the classic “black cat in a pile of coal” scenario… This bride’s jet black tresses would disappear entirely against the black seamless if properly exposed…  Thus the rear rim illumination kickers were boosted up nearly one and a half stops above what I typically would use… it is a matter of reflectance/luminosity… In an ideal scenario the gown/hair would have the same reflectance… here there was a three stop disparity... And I’ve yet to find a blonde Vietnamese Bride to work with… however the door to the studio remains open to same…

 

So what to do?  Photographing black on black generally requires the use of “sheen” to separate the hair out…  A solution is KENRA platinum Silkening Mist Brilliant Shine spray… Yes having a cosmetology background can be a positive attribute for shooting Beauty Genre… Two licensed cosmetologist on this session.  

 

Hope this makes sense…

 

Dallas, thank you for your kind word… albeit the results here are aggregate synergy of an entire team…

As for your query… “I'm curious about the black floor. Is that the way it looks or did you have to do some PP to get it totally black”  Many light control gobo/flags used here… over a half dozen… Also all illumination sources (save for the overhead silver umbrella) had grids… However yes post processing played into the mix… btw, the initially concept was this image I had done some time ago for a clothing designer…

 

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However I didn’t feel extensive artwork was germane so I mimicked what a natural reflection would be on polished marble… Yes I’ve shot on marble floors so it wasn’t much of a challenge…  I gave the bride what she wanted to meet her expectations…  Please keep in mind the example image is with an accomplished agency model with deep tenure… This bride isn’t quite at that level of expertise…

 

Hope this helps…

 

Akira, I deeply appreciate your thoughtful feedback here… and indeed dearly realize my want of cultural expertise on this narrative…  Thus I relied nearly entirely on the hair stylist to use her creative genius with chopsticks… btw, she has considerable tenure with VOGUE NYC having styled hair for them prior to moving to Washington DC.  I oft allow her to provide much of the creative direction on beauty narratives… we have been collaborating for over seven years now… she is an absolute joy to work with… And deserves much of the credit here…

 

Alan thank you for the kind words and yes the devil is in the details… lighting was not easy… lol   The good news is the bride was indeed a natural thespian… so incredibly easy to direct…  surprisingly it was a wrap after very few takes… but the studio was configured the night before (many hours of balancing luminance)

 

Vivionm you are too kind… so funny how I only see way too many flaws… but I’m never satisfied… guess perfection may be in the eyes of the beholder… so again, many thanks… your very kind words are greatly appreciated…

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Dear Thomas!

 

Until I saw this thread I did not know Vietnamese are into fashion at all. I percieve Vietnam as a country to be quite a closed shop.

 

So I guess the Fasshion as the Cuisine are brought to us by Ex-Patriates from this Communist state?

 

The flaws? Thomas, you are well to specialized in your Genre for us to "see flaws". There have been fashion shooters here at Fotozones earlier, but they seem to be gone...

 

I wish I had in my Speciality the level of knowledge you have in your Speciality.

 

Thank you for giving generous insight into your world.

 

Frank


Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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Akira, I deeply appreciate your thoughtful feedback here… and indeed dearly realize my want of cultural expertise on this narrative…  Thus I relied nearly entirely on the hair stylist to use her creative genius with chopsticks… btw, she has considerable tenure with VOGUE NYC having styled hair for them prior to moving to Washington DC.  I oft allow her to provide much of the creative direction on beauty narratives… we have been collaborating for over seven years now… she is an absolute joy to work with… And deserves much of the credit here…

 

 

Thomas, thank you for the details of the hair stylist.  I noticed that the print or the painting of flowers on two of the chopsticks corresponds to the flower appliqués on the áo dài.  Apparently she looked for the fitting chopsticks for this particular session after she had made sure of the dress the model was going to wear.  The painting of another chopstick gives a nice accent to the whole hair.  What a sensitive and meticulous job she has done!

 

Dear Thomas!

 

Until I saw this thread I did not know Vietnamese are into fashion at all. I percieve Vietnam as a country to be quite a closed shop.

 

Frank, Vietnam had already established its own culture (largely influenced by the southern Chinese one) way before it become a communist country...

Edited by Akira
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"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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Thank you Akira. I love Vietamese food as they eat it. I even contemplated to live in Vietnam. You really think this style of fashion is older than the communist regime?


Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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Thank you Akira. I love Vietamese food as they eat it. I even contemplated to live in Vietnam. You really think this style of fashion is older than the communist regime?

 

I love Vietnamese food very much, too.  And, yes, if I understand correctly, for example, áo dài looks very much similar to a chinese dress by design but with more simplistic patterns.  Vietnam had used Chinese letters for their language before it had become French colony.

Edited by Akira
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"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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#3 &4 stand out to me, but all images are sublime. The controlled lighting isolated the beauty of the bride and her amazing gown.

She deserves our every attention and the lighting and capture serve that end perfectly.

Thank you so much for sharing these with us. You've truly blessed my Tuesday morning!! :)


Nikon D500, D700, Df, 18-140/3.5-5.6 VR, 20/2.8D, 28-105/3.5-4.5D, 50/1.8D, 60/2.8D Macro, 80-200/4.5-5.6, 300/4E PF, 35/2D,  Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC

Manual Focus Lenses:  Nikon 55/3.5 Micro pre-AI, 105/2.5 AI, ZY Mitakon Creator 85/2

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http://www.bestlightphoto.net | http://www.visualohio.com | http://bestlightphoto.blogspot.com | Flickr | SCEENEINWINDOWS Project

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Thank you for your very kind words Andrew...

They mean a lot coming from such an accomplished talent as you...

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Thomas, beatiful images as always, thanks for sharing and for giving so much insight!

FrankF, communism in countries like Vietnam and China is a bit different from the USSR. Though they have communist party control, they also have a (partial) market economy.

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"thanks for sharing and for giving so much insight!"

 

bjornthun thank you for your kind words...

 

it has always been my mission to sharing anything I possibly can which might be of interest to others here on FotoZones...

I have grown my knowledge base by orders of magnitude from all the thoughtful wisdom so freely share here...

The aggregate synergy latent within this community is absolutely stellar...  hands down one of the finest site currently available to those who pursue the art and science of photography...

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Thank you for those very kind words about Fotozones, Thomas. We need to build the audience here a bit, so I am hoping to see many more submissions from all members soon. Also, photo essays would be most welcome at this stage - I will promote them to articles so if there is a worthy cause, let FZ be one of the places where it can be found. 

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Exquisite portraits!!!

 

They rekindle many memories for me.  In 1972 and 1973 I spent a year with a group of eight South Vietnamese Navy communications security specialists working out of SVN Navy HQ in Saigon, but spending most of our time traveling as a group throughout the delta region.  We forged very close friendships and I hold dear the memory of participation in my best Vietnamese friend's wedding, the high point of a not-so-pleasant time.

 

The comments on the similarity to Chinese dress and language/alphabet are interesting.  In actuality both Vietnamese and Chinese culture sprang from common roots in Southeast Asia eons ago.  Over the period of some three or four thousand odd years of cross border relationships, the Vietnamese struggled almost continuously with the Chinese monster to the North to maintain their independence and separate identity.  Similar to our tales of national heroism in the US such as "Washington Crossing the Delaware", Vietnamese tales of national heroism invariably concern those opposing China against all odds.

 

You might be interested that "ao dai", (sorry I can't figure out the diacritical marks) translates as "long dress" used for formal occasions from parties to school uniforms where we would wear a suit.  This contrasts with the "ao ngang" or "short dress" that is worn during day to day activities and is cut of an inch or two below the beginning of the split at the waist.  Both of these Vietnamese traditional women's styles are worn with pants.

 

Thomas, thanks for your beautiful post, very informative as always, and for jogging my long ago memories.

 

Vernon

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Vernon, I'm keen aware of the ubiquitous nature of the "Traditional" áo dài in Vietnam... In white it is the de facto academic uniform for Vietnamese students... It must be absolutely amazing to experience such a mature and advanced culture in real-time... Although your tenure in Vietnam must of been a serious challenge considering the nature of turmoil during this period... it is sad that so many lives were lost prematurely... One would think calmer minds could/should prevail albeit such pandemonium has existed/endured since the dawn of man... And unless a huge cultural awareness intercedes will undoubtedly continue unabated into antiquity...  

 

Guess one answer is that hope is rekindled anew with each generation...

 

Thank you Vernon for sharing your compelling and unique experiences here...

They are indeed appreciated...

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some truly brilliant shooting skills in these images. The lighting cannot be bettered. It is so well balanced that it shows every subtle feature, detail and colour including the soft sheen on some of the fabrics. Masterful work Thomas ! Mongo tips his furry hat off to you sir. 

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The models and the photographs are both, serene, exquisite and beauty personified,

poetry in photography is possible you've proved that here.

 

Very well done Thomas and thanks a bunch

for sharing your fine work. :)  :)  :)

 

tony

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Mongo thank you for your kind words and keen eye on the fabric of her wedding attire... Silk is a joy to illuminate since the play of light on it's soft surface luster is indeed endearing... That said the weave here plays heavily into the mix, with a satin weave of silk being the most cherished (and costly)  btw, this satin weave, most oft used for silk, each warp thread floats over up to 16 weft threads thus imparting a soft smooth-faced lustrous fabric surface..

 

Interestingly the fabric of silk is one of the most guarded secret in Chinese history... One of the oldest fabrics known, a product of silkworm found in the white mulberry. There is a charming legend of an empress developing sericulture, (a cultivation of silkworms), and invented the reel and loom... All this occurring over 3000 years ago... It wasn't until the advent of the "Silk Road" that western cultures became aware of this exotic fabric...  it's tensile strength is very high considering it's light weight as many aviators who "hit the silk" can attest...  

 

Tony your kind words are deeply appreciated...  however the serenity and elegance was entirely a product of an enchanting bridal talent who was so incredibly easy to direct... She is a gifted thespian who instantly mirrored each suggested pose I demonstrated for her... If only the agency models could be so graciously endowed...  And yes several of her poses are variants of those created by ballerinas I've collaborated with... albeit this bride obviously didn't start a journey in dance at the age of three... Perhaps some of the magic was latent in the Traditional áo dài wedding gown...

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