In the age of smart phones and digital cameras (not to mention Instagram filters), just about anyone can take a good photo of a monument or their morning coffee. However, it takes someone pretty special to be a photographer – someone who understands the amazing things cameras can do, but also has an eye for natural composition, light, and context. Duy Dash Huynh is one Adelaide photographer doing pretty special things with a camera. Add to that his writing skills, social media know-how and general talent for knowing what’s good.
The 29-year old studied Marketing and Design at the University of Adelaide, and had a short stint at Stanford University in the US studying innovation and entrepreneurship. Like many, he struggled to find a full time job in his field of study (we know the feels), and found work freelancing. His foray into photography started during Uni, when his interest in all things visual took him to start experimenting with cameras.
Since then, his portfolio of photography work is closer to art than anything else. From his travels around South-East Asia, to capturing the best of Adelaide’s food and wine scene, Duy’s photos capture life and light, and his original creative eye.
With over 16k Instagram followers, his work certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. Duy was asked by Time Inc in New York to do a captioned photo tour of Adelaide for Foodandwine.com. TIME. TIIIMEEE. Duy will be visiting his favorite spots in Adelaide and doing what he does best, to show the world what’s going on here in RADL and inspire more people to come and enjoy what we have to offer.
He was also asked by the South Australian Tourism Commission to participate in an Instagram event known as #HelloWorldRELAY with Bonnie Hamilton, this Sunday the 27th of September. The day ends with Duy and the team holding an InstaMeet at the Moon Lantern Festival in Elder Park, where anyone can come to meet like-minded photography lovers; whether you’re a professional or just good on Instagram.
RADL: Your photography is incredible – how do you go about your work?
DUY: I don't like shooting objects in isolation because the reality is, in life nothing is in isolation. One thing always relates to another, they belong somewhere just like a jigsaw piece and understanding where they belong and showing that context makes the ideas you generate understandable to more people. So whilst I think it's good to have work that's looks aesthetically pleasing, that shouldn't take priority over context; a sense of place, time or purpose.
Hong Kong – it has that unique blend of busy streets, bright lights and monumental amounts of food. Not to mention it’s a very photogenic city.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The inspiration for a lot of my work comes from a girl called Sarah Choi - @candysarah, a Hong Kong based street photographer. She has this unbelievable ability to draw out mundane everyday events and make then a unique point of focus and visual conversation.
Favourite thing about Adelaide?
Probably the thriving culture of food and dining, which has skyrocketed in the past few years. More choice and more venues aspiring to bring unique things to Adelaide. Beyond that I think it's the sense of community.
Adelaidians I find are very proud people, happy to spruce about their love of Adelaide and South Australia and happy to support good people doing good things.
What advice would you give aspiring photographers?
In relation to advice, I think one of the most important pieces of advice I was given is "you'll always be judged on your worse piece of work". I think that really resonated with me, so instead of going for sheer quantity I've really gone to make sure everything I do is as best as I can do it.
Be prepared to put work out there. Too often I see so many talented individuals failing to put work out in the public sphere due to embarrassment or insecurity. Generally, we're our own worst critic so if you've worked hard on it and happy with what you've done, put it out there and see what happens.
Be nice to people, the value of a collaboration is immeasurable. Be proud of your work but not arrogant as to alienate yourself from others. Understand that respectful competition is a good thing.
You’ve got such a great Instagram – what tips can you give us?
My key to good Instagram photos are quality. Whilst it is important for everyone to find their own unique style, it's equally important to have images that are sharp and clean.
Using a smartphone camera can produce amazing results but you have to understand it's strengths and limitations. They're very good for shooting close subjects but notoriously horrible in dim lighting. Quite often you can recover bad images with phone editing apps, by turning them black and white or by using the matte fades that you'll see plenty of other Instagrammers use.
You can meet Duy and get some more Instagram tips this Sunday at his InstaMeet at the Moon Lantern in Elder Park. For regular updates, check him out on Instagram at @duydash, on his twitter, or on his website, duydash.com.
All images by Duy Dash.