A woman walks past a smoky food cart, turning to hear a vendor a few yards away who appears to be calling out to her. It’s an ordinary scene on an unremarkable street corner in Saigon, but the composition has an accidental perfection: a triangle formed by the lamppost and the rays of sun frame the central figures, whose two faces are separated only by a narrow strip of color. Above them, billows of smoke from the grill suffuse the scene with an otherworldly light. The snapshot seems to conjure a whole social world and elevate to some higher, more ethereal realm. This is street photography at its most eloquent.
Phuong Tran, the Saigon-based photographer who took this photo, is largely self-taught. A copywriter by day, he started taking pictures simply because he had a smartphone and decided to play around with it. “Back in the day, I’d go around Saigon and take pictures of whatever I liked,” he recalls. “I just captured things, and it brought me a lot of fun.”
拍摄这张照片的是自学成才的摄影师 Phuong Tran。他生活在西贡，全职工作是一名文案，会开始拍照仅仅是因为他买了一支智能手机，想要摸索一下而已。“白天的时候，我会在西贡四处乱逛，拍下我喜欢的照片。我只是想捕捉住一些时刻，这个过程很有趣。”他回忆道。
Like many other amateurs, he discovered he had a knack for photography, and that talent quickly turned into an obsession. “It was like another world I could escape to. I thought about it all the time, I began to read materials, and I got praise from friends,” he says. Eventually he decided to upgrade to a mirrorless camera, which allowed him more control over the shots he took. He now shoots with a Sony Alpha 6000, and easy-to-use model that suits his needs.
像许多业余的摄影爱好者一样，他发现了自己在摄影方面的天赋。很快这种天赋演变成为他的热爱。“摄影是我可以躲进的另一个世界。我无时无刻都想拍照，于是我开始阅读相关的资料，朋友也对我的作品给予很多肯定。”最终，他决定从手机升级到微单相机，这让他在拍摄时能有更多掌控。现在，他用的是一台索尼 Alpha 6000 相机。这是一台操作简单的相机，正符合他的需求。
Tran’s work has earned him a devoted following on Instagram. “The most important thing I want to capture in a photograph is the connection between myself and the subject,” he explains. “If that event brings me excitement, or a thrill, or gives me pause—well, that’s something worth capturing. Then comes the question of light, colors, composition, etc., to tell the story in a beautiful way.” Many of his images show light refracted or reflected—piercing smoke, streaming through windows, or blurring background and foreground in a shop window.
Phuong Tran 的作品为他赢得了 Instagram 上一批忠实的粉丝。“一张照片最重要的是要捕捉到我和被摄者之间的连结。”他解释说，“如果某件事物让我感到兴奋、激动，或让我为此停留，那就值得拍下来。再来就是光线、色彩、构图的问题，如何通过好看的画面来讲述故事。”他的许多照片都利用烟雾、窗户等物体来表现光线的折射或反射，或是透过玻璃橱窗模糊背景和前景。
While he’s also taken photos in Burma and Taiwan—where the above image is from—his favorite subject is still Vietnam, and especially his hometown Saigon. Its “messy streets, strange people, and changing appearance” have inspired him since he first started pointing and clicking. His Saigon is a city of bicycles, scooters, overhead wires, its buildings comfortably weathered and daubed in a ubiquitous turquoise.
It’s also a city that’s changing quickly. “Just like other Asian cities, Saigon has its own conflict between preservation and development,” Tran says. “Every day I witness the replacement of old by the new, and I think I need to capture these images before they’re gone, to give them a second life.”