Photographer of the Week #140: Thy Tran

Thy Tran (b. Ho Chi Minh city, 1988) is a Vietnamese-Australian visual artist who received her BFA from MADA at Monash University. She currently lives and works in Saigon, Vietnam.

Her ongoing personal project Cacher documents the literal and emotional space between bodies when one partner is also navigating the distance between herself and her sexual identity. The series explores generational reticence to be emotionally forthcoming as well as coming into queerness in the context of a relationship while asking how our relationship to ourselves informs, enhances, or inhibits our relationships with those closest to us. The 35mm snapshots give us a glimpse into the private landscape that exists between lovers while also communicating the fear of being utterly ourselves in the presence of someone else. Cacher hits a sweet spot at the junction between intimacy and identity and while the images are often funny and overtly sensual, they are also somewhat shy. Many of them capture a semi-self-conscious postcoital quality that makes Cacher read like a slightly inhibited love letter. But it is a love letter that still feels sweet and brave, particularly in its willingness to be candid about the scariness of vulnerability and “outness,” while interrogating the tension between desire and suppression. The series ultimately calls into question how well we can ever know another person, particularly when our struggle for authenticity is exacerbated by the imposition of societal forces.

For more of Tran’s work, take a look at her website.