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Stay Safe Online (Nov 16)
27 Feb 2014

Maika Elan 'The Pink Choice' | Photographs of LGBT couples by Vietnamese photographer exhibited at 'Can you see me?'

Can you see me? is a LGBT art and photo exhibition organised by Element magazine with the aim of promoting diversity by showcasing the lives of the ordinary LGBT people through the works of various LGBT or LGBT-friendly artists.

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Alongside the Asia Pink Awards Ceremony taking place on March 6th, the exhibition showcases 21 pieces of art and photography from  Asia at the Galerie Slogan & Art, Singapore.
These are images from Vietnamese photographer Maika Elan who takes natural and intimate photographs of LGBT couples. Here is how she describes the thoughts and passions behind her ‘Pink Choice’ photo essay.
Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.
Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.
The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.
Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.
The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.


Alongside the Asia Pink Awards Ceremony taking place on March 16th, the exhibition showcases 21 pieces of art and photography from  Asia at the Galerie Sogan & Art, Singapore.

These are images from Vietnamese photographer Maika Elan who takes natural and intimate photographs of LGBT couples. Here is how she describes the thoughts and passions behind her ‘Pink Choice’ photo essay.



Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.

Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated

.


The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.

Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.

The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.

Reader's Comments

1. 2014-02-27 12:34
Looks insightful and contemplative, but not holding my breath with regards to Singaporean reactions.
2. 2014-02-27 22:33
It's a great effort indeed to raise awareness, and also to promote the existence and the significance of love in LGBT communities in Asia.
Seeing is believing...
3. 2014-02-28 00:18
Would love to see the photos... great effort hope it goes well...
4. 2014-03-05 07:58
Sorry, I didn't feel the things that she was trying to capture. The one of the girls left me feeling slightly depressed ,it gave me the feeling of hopelessness.

The boys well no emotions were stirred inside me. This could be a typical picture of asian boys, as friends most asian boys are close like this but not depicting them gay.
5. 2014-03-05 07:58
Sorry, I didn't feel the things that she was trying to capture. The one of the girls left me feeling slightly depressed ,it gave me the feeling of hopelessness.

The boys well no emotions were stirred inside me. This could be a typical picture of asian boys, as friends most asian boys are close like this but not depicting them gay.

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