Art and Photography are our passion! As we travel, we are always drawn to unique artists that capture their local culture in amazing ways.
During one of our trips to Vietnam, as we walked along the streets of Nha Trang, we stumbled into a small photo gallery. As it turned out, the gallery and eye catching photos were the work of Photographer Mai Loc. Lucky for us, he was actually at his studio during our visit, so we had the opportunity to speak with him and learn more about his work. We were incredibly inspired by his story, and learned just how a little bit of generosity to others can help a person grow in ways you never expected.
Here is our interview with Mai Loc, a professional photographer capturing local culture and practices of Vietnamese people with an elegantly composed perspective…
Us: Tell us a little about yourself?
Mai Loc: I am an award-winning photographer and grew up in the lowest level of Vietnamese society. I am local, born and bred, from the ever-changing city of Nha Trang .
Us: How did you get started in Photography?
Mai Loc: For me, everything in my life changed in March 1995 when I met and befriended a Norwegian couple, Gunnar Simonsen and Eva Mellquist Wenchen. When Gunnar and Eva came back to Vietnam for my wedding in December 1997, amongst other things, they gave me a small solar camera as a wedding present. This one gift changed my life…
…they gave me a small solar camera as a wedding present. This one gift changed my life…
Sadly, in 1998, Gunnar passed away. He died peacefully, but thanks to his generosity, kindness and love for me, I was able to continue to improve my life, as, before he died, he transferred $6000 USD to me. With the money, I bought myself a motorcycle and began working as a tour guide in Vietnam. The further I travelled, the more I shot and captured my world, and over time, learned the art of photography.
In 2003, five years after Gunnar passed away, Eva returned to visit me in Vietnam. She was very happy to see how much better my life had become – thanks to that small camera. I gave Eva the photos I had taken over five years as a present. She took them back to Drobak, Norway, where they went on exhibition. Unfortunately, I could not get a visa to attend the exhibition. But in 2006, Norway organized the First International Photo Festival in Kristiansund – called “Nordic Light”.
Eva took my photo to Morten Krogvold, a well known photographer in Norway. After the exchange, I was given an invitation to attend the Nordic Light International Festival of Photography. It was a great honor and an amazing experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to the people of Norway and to my Norwegian mother, Eva Mellquist. The experience has given me a lot of confidence and motivation to continue with my photography. I have made a promise to myself to become better and better.
Us: What inspires you and influences you?
Mai Loc: I love people and I love life, so I’m inspired by portraits of the elderly, children and daily life. I hope to show others how the Vietnamese people live, with their smiles and their happiness. I hope that each photo I take, tells a story. I’m inspired by the love of the beauty of life, the love of the older generation for the younger generation, the love of nature, the love for something around us all …when we all really have the power of love, the World will know peace.
I thank life every morning when I wake up knowing there is another chance to give love…I wish to bring to people the power of love in this complicated life…
Mai Loc: My Mother, who devoted all her life to bring me up.
Gunnar Simonsen and Eva Mellquist Wenchen, who gave me their love, their warmest heart and their generosity, so that I had more positive energy to keep going on with this life even as I almost wanted to give up.
Mr James Nachtwey who is a American War photographer. You can find out more about him, then you’ll know why he’s my hero.
Mr Morten Krogvold who gave a lot of tears when I was in Norway 2006, tears of happiness and tears of love.
All my friends around the World who dare to be my friends…
Mai Loc: Hanging out with some friends in the morning at the coffee shop, chatting about photography. Getting together with old friends and recalling our childhood memories…
Mai Loc offers personal photography tours that take you to local areas that most tourist never get to see. If interested, you can sign up and contact him to set up a guided tour at:
For more information, contact Mai Loc directly at: