About Michael Nguyen



+++DAUERAUSSTELLUNG / Permanent Exhibition: An impressive permanent exhibition in the Gauting town hall with photo-paintings from the series “Nature is within us”: Rathaus Gauting, Einwohnermeldeamt, Bahnhofstraße.7, D-82131 Gauting +++

Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, give them new perspectives, a new soul.

Michael Nguyen's photography is the art of showing more than you can see. Making visible - worshipping the invisible, he walks with the third eye of a wanderer through the visual adventure of life.

Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images. Find out more


Last award:
At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold.

In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree. www.tagree.de


Michael Nguyen about himself

Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - „a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer, cultural organizer and bookseller. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. I like to observe people and photograph them in everyday situations.“


Some more words about me

Before I could consider myself lucky to work as an artist, medical nursing was my vocation. While working in the intensive care unit and the emergency room, I was confronted with great suffering and death. This certainly had an impact on my photographic work. Many of my photos, as one can see, are melancholic and sometimes a little bit dark.


I first got into photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was “Greece.” Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder, now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege in a magazine I worked for. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me.


For some personal reasons, I withdrew from art for many years. But since 2018 I have dedicated myself completely to artistic creation again, starting with restoring the past. In 1996, due to water leakage in the basement of my house, many negatives from the years 1988 to 1996 were damaged. I spent months of 2018 on restoring them. The results were my first series for years: "Historical Umbria" (1988), "Historical Prague" (1992), "Historical Berlin - Love Parade and CSD" (1992), "Historical Paris" (1994) and "Indonesia" (2005). With those, my way back to Photography had begun.


There is no particular person who has a major influence on my life or my photography. But I am inspired by a wide range of things. There are many interpersonal relationships of varying complexity that I consciously perceive in my environment, that I immerse myself in and that shape my way of perceiving and thus influence my choice of motif and also the final elaboration of the picture.


Having said that, as afore-mentioned, death and illness always have had a great influence on my life and my artistic work and have shaped me until today. I get inspired by little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. I like to observe people and photograph them in everyday situations. I value and appreciate this life so much.


I always loved the photographs by Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Dorothea Lange, André Kertész. In the year 1988 when I was often in Italy, I started making photographs. After some experiments, I decided to go with black and white photography. Life is full of colors. - Yet, many of my photos often are not in colors, just black and white, light and dark, and everything in between. I want to concentrate on the form, the lines, and the mood. Amazingly, you can convey everything with all its nuances, the streets, the cityscapes, or even people's emotions without colors. And the grayscales gives viewers the freedom to apply their own colors on my pictures. Colors from their memory. Colors from their imagination.


I need a lot of time to work on my pictures. The most important tools of my work are of course the eyes and ability to perceive things. I shoot sometimes with very simple devices, like a point and shoot camera or a smartphone. Some projects are created during my travels, spontaneously and without planning, - others require a lot of preparation. I visit a certain very often, studying the surroundings and the light until I decide at which hour I take photographs at that place. I decide in which format the pictures should be published later. Then various graphic software and apps are used to create the desired. My real artistic work, especially in the color department, begins afterward. The pictures are digitally processed and go through different stages until I have reached the mood, the sound, the effect, the emotion, and the meaning I want to express. Then the photo becomes a "painting" in which I show the real world of myself with all its beauty and horror. This makes my photographic art poetic, expressive, and distinctive.


Covid-19 changed the world and humanity immensely. I see the future of mankind rather gloomy because we destroy the environment and focus primarily on economic profit, many people concentrate exclusively on themselves and it shows that a peaceful coexistence even times like Covid-19 is difficult to make. Certainly, this lockdown time has created a unique and strange situation and also great opportunities for artists and creators to capture the essence of the world. I have been intensively observing the behavior of people in these days, the interaction between human beings and their activities in leisure time while driving down the "lockdown". There we can see some light in the dark.


I had the great fortune to have the freedom to realize most of my wishes and plans. Nowadays, due to health restrictions and a small financial budget, I cannot travel far and long and implement big projects. My biggest wish is to make a reportage about the cities, life, human conditions in the metropolises like Saigon and Hanoi. Hopefully, it will be possible someday.

Michael Nguyen, Painting bei Rainer Lafeld / Hamburg
Michael Nguyen Photo by Susanne Kotrus
Michael Nguyen, Photo by TTN
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