Photographer of the Week #79: Pipo Nguyen-duy

Our select for this week is Pipo Nguyen-duy. A political refugee from Vietnam, much of Nguyen-duy’s work explores the physical United States “as a metaphor for nationalism and optimism.”

Everything we’ve chosen for this feature comes from his East of Eden series, 2002-2006. In these large, staged scenes, Nguyen-duy says that he was “interested in looking at our contemporary American landscape as the Garden of Eden and re-framing it from the post-September 11th perspective. These photographs in East of Eden dealt with humanity in the context of the post-apocalyptic landscape.”

There’s something haunting about these images, challenging the viewer with a close but simultaneously distanced glimpse at their subjects. Alongside a lingering forced serenity, Nguyen-duy’s skillful use of light brightly hints at something dark and difficult to pinpoint.

Nguyen-duy has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others. He’s currently a photography professor at Oberlin College. For a closer look at Nguyen-duy’s work, please visit his website.