Jackfroot is all about connecting the right talented people who love what they do with other people that have a passion for what they love doing also. One photographer from Missouri that has made some noise for himself goes by the name of Vincent Van Nguyen. Not only does he take photos, but he also models! Check out this in-depth interview with Vincent to learn more about him and his career.
Jackfroot Exclusive Interview With Vincent Van Nguyen
What drove you to become a photographer?
I have always been into art my entire life, I have always loved to draw things that I see. I used to draw album covers, video game characters, anime and portraits when I was a kid. After taking more and more art classes as time went by I started to realize that creating was just something I really wanted to do with my life. So after starting out modeling for a year I eventually wanted to be behind the camera as opposed to in front of it. I had never even thought of doing photography in all my years of drawing I just wasn’t very interested in it. But the second I picked up my first camera I never wanted to put it down. I started out practicing on many different local models and friends and eventually after 4 months of building up my portfolio people started asking my price list for my work. I thought, “I can do this for a living?”. Of course I took to it and jumped right on the opportunity to start my career off with an art form, and it turned into one that I began to become passionate about.
You started off modeling, how did that begin?
Honestly, I never really thought I could model. I never really thought of myself as very good looking and I really still don’t as not a lot of girls really liked me in high school. Not to mention I was ALWAYS the new kid in school from moving so many times, and I rarely ever made any close friends. But when I became an adult I moved right back to the twin cities and a few women I knew did some modeling and told me to just try it out. So I thought, “Whats the worst that could happen?” I started out doing a few shoots with a few local photographers that my friends knew and started building a portfolio. Eventually I grew as a model and now I have photos in a few magazines and even a poster in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a very weird feeling seeing your face on the side of a wall of a busy street!
A lot of photographers that start out usually run through obstacles and struggles before they hit success. What were some of the struggles you had?
Well I grew up in east side Saint Paul. It wasn’t the best but I still enjoyed what I had. I didn’t get into too much trouble, I hope.. lol I had a few good friends from childhood who I could relate to however I moved around quite a bit. Making new friends was always hard to do when your family moves about once every other year, new cities, new buildings, new schools, new states even. My parents split up and a few years later when I first moved away from Minnesota I always missed my family a lot. I never got to see the Vietnamese side of my family so I never had a chance to learn the language or as much of the culture as I wanted to which still is something I want to do till this day. Since then I don’t think I have ever been able to stay in one place. I still get symptoms of wanting to change or relocate constantly. But all in all its made me very skillful at adaptation and being able to improvise or work with what you got is something I have taken with me my whole life. Even in my photography work I am constantly improvising. I live my life in binges wether it be art, music, booze, sweets, or writing I love to immerse myself and experience things at the highest level of indulgence. Sometimes these things get me off track.. but the way i see it, life is an endless occurrence of mistakes we make and opportunistic moments we waste by being unproductive. But, if any moment that was wasted was spent enjoying life… then it wasn’t a waste by any means.
What are some places that you’ve shot at?
Some of the places I’ve shot at are in the middle of busy streets, the middle of a frozen lake, dressing rooms. I’ve even done shoots in freezing -10 degree weather, while balancing high up in a tree, in penthouses and million dollar homes. I’ve even shot on the rooftops of buildings in downtown Minneapolis. Photography has also brought me around this great country. Some cities include LA, Houston, Las Vegas, San Jose, Dallas, and even Japan which was the best place I’ve ever been. But I would just say that every shoot I do, I do it to the best of my abilities and I am ALWAYS willing to take risks. Every shoot that I do brings about something new and challenging and I’m sure my next shoot will be as memorable as any.
You also do music, right?
Productivity is a temporary fix for heartbreak, butÂ I often write about what I feel. My best songs and writing have been though the bad times and about missing someone. I think that’s true for a lot of people. Rapping helps me get what I want to get off my chest and I feel a lot better after. It’s a process and it makes you a better person. I love to listen to pretty much everything. Since I have been to so many places I am pretty open minded when it comes to a new song or genre.
Can you tell us about some upcoming projects that have?
I am working on new songs and writing new music constantly and I have been recording a lot lately. Hip hop is something I have always loved and writing what’s on my mind is something that helps me get through the day. I’ll be doing a lot more music this year so listen to it on YouTube! I have also been asked to be in a movie that might take a year to film. So I’m very exciting to get into acting because its something I have always wanted to try. I have a few projects with my photography such as ViVi Girl. So check it out!
Who are some of your favorite models?
Some of my favorite models I have worked with are Danielle Haugan, Ashley Pham, Mary Ly, Honey Xiong, Brad La Barbera, Leigh Nguyen, Phibian Shannon, Tia Bella, Veness Chang, Venita Lena Le but there are a few models I am very excited to work with this year who will be featured in my ViVi Girl blog and ViVi Girl youtube! I hope everyone will enjoy it.
When you’re not modeling or shooting photos, what do you enjoy as other past time hobbies?
I have a ton of hobbies I love to do. I enjoy pretty much anything competitive. On my spare time when I’m not doing photoshoots or writing music, I love playing video games. I’ll also watch lots of movies and anime when I feel I’ve done enough work. At night I usually go to the gym to work off whatever alcohol I have consumed the day before by playing basketball and weight lifting. During the other nights, I will go to the bar and almost strictly play pool against people for drinks. Playing poker and going to the casino is something I’ve been known to do. Sometimes a lot sometimes a little, but poker has definitely been a passion of mine for about 8 years now. I love to go out to clubs and have a good time with friends. When it comes down to it, I’m very loyal if you’re my friend. I’m very respectful if you respect me Â but I like to joke around a lot too. I think that not a lot of people have such qualities these days and it’s a shame. If you cant trust anyone then you will never really get close. I also love to see my family. Every time we get together we have a very wild and incredibly good time. My whole family is like a bunch of teenagers that just drank their first beer and love to fight. Man they are the most important people in my life and make me feel like a million bucks for sure.
For more information on Vincent and his photography work, check him out on Facebook.