An Thien Tran
And many thanks.
When I saw this balloon floating down the hallway of my sister’s apartment, I immediately chased after it. I thought maybe someone would step out of their apartment and enter the scene to make it interesting. The balloon says “Happy Birthday” on it too, so I was looking for one of those cliché juxtapositions. Instead, nothing else happened. No one showed up and it was just me and the balloon. The wind (which was the main source for keeping it afloat) started to die and the balloon took one last dive in front of my camera. Flash! It landed at my feet and I got one exposure.
Looking at this picture now, I’m convinced that taking pictures is the closest thing to having a superpower. I can freeze time with my camera and then a portal to a different world opens up. What other art form lets you do that? I say that because what exists in my pictures such as this one is not what our reality is supposed to look like. It resembles glitches and bugs of the universe because of how odd things and people behave physically in that space. The way the balloon is suspended in front of this ghostly background and then there’s that mysterious halo of shadow behind it; these are things we normally can’t see with our eyes. Moments like these are my daily small revelations, answers to the questions that don’t exist. That’s another way of saying I don’t fully understand what happens in front of me but I’m happy to be here witnessing all of it.
An Thien Tran is a Vietnamese-American photographer based in Dallas, Texas. He has worked on multiple personal projects exploring his immediate surroundings, and for the past 4 years, he has been documenting the Vietnamese diaspora in Texas. He also co-founded Beautiful Noise Collective, an international art community that promotes multimedia creativity in online spaces.