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Memories

Published by Catherine Nguyen

"What you have caught on film is captured forever. . . it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything."

- Aaron Sussman"

 

Photographs capture beautiful scenery, indescribable emotion, and of course memories of all kinds. My interiors work preserves a space in a particular moment in time. It brings the homeowner’s vision to life. My images capture the expression of style in the most important places of your life: where you live, where you work and where you play. I am shooting more than just the décor of a space.  I am shooting how a client designed a room around an heirloom that has been passed down for generations.  I am shooting the newly furnished nursery of a growing family or the creative wonder in an artist’s studio.  Every time that I walk into a new project, I draw from my own experiences and think about the stories a space can tell, the memories the images will reveal. It is important that the memories are nurtured, and the story gets told. So, in this spirit of documenting and sharing memories, I decided to take a different approach with this blog and recount a few fond memories of my life so far. My marketing team at Martin Communications conducted this Q&A session -interview style.  I really wanted to go beyond, “What is your favorite food?” or “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” These questions were devised to help you get a better understanding of the person behind the camera and how I choose to cherish, capture, and present the memories of clients, friends, and family. 

Side note: Please enjoy the photographs that accompany these memories. Of course, we won’t mention some of the hairstyles or outfits. It was the 80s and 90s after all!

 

Q: What are some of your most treasured sights, sounds, smells, etc. of Vietnam from when you were younger? 

A: I don’t remember anything at all because I was just a baby when we left in 1975, but I did return in 2000.  Those are my first memories of Vietnam. Going on that trip was complicated.  There were certain expectations because I was there to see family primarily on my father’s side. My father was originally from North Vietnam but went South at the age of nine when the communists took control.  He did not get to see his siblings for almost 36 years. It was a mixed experience but the family connection, especially meeting them as an adult, was interesting. 

Vietnam is filled with gorgeous spots, but H? Long Bay was by far the most beautiful.  Ridiculously so.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with little islands everywhere. We hired a boat to take us on a tour all over the bay. The other place that really made an impression on me was an open-air museum where I could touch these sculptures that had been around since the first century.  Nothing was behind glass or guarded.  I could just wander around for a small admission fee and explore artifacts of this incredible culture. We saw incredibly different types of architecture in the north from the south.  The architecture in the north, especially in and around Hanoi, is very French and très jolie! A lot of it stems from the French occupation in the late 1800’s.  In certain places of the country, it does not look or even feel like you are in Vietnam. Oh, and then of course there is the food! All kinds of Vietnamese street food and the vendors change what they are selling depending on the time of day. 

 

Q: Where do you consider home?  Is Raleigh now home?  Will San Francisco or New York “always be home”? 

A: I think that is a hard question to answer.  San Francisco definitely doesn’t feel like home anymore.  I do think that Raleigh is my home now as I have been here since 2013 but New York City will always hold a large stake in my heart.  My heart always feels full when I am in New York, but it was more difficult to get the sense of community there that I have here in North Carolina.

 

Q: Tell us one of your favorite childhood memories.

A: I loved when my cousins from Wilmington would come and visit because grandma lived with us.  They would come every year or two and I just loved those parts of the summer.  We grew up more like siblings.  They are a boisterous crew which was a different energy than my quiet, serious home.  Bike riding, going to the community pool, playing with neighborhood kids, going to the park and the library, playing on the playground – they were full and happy days that would end with all 13 of us piling into two station wagons (ours red, theirs blue) and heading out to our favorite Peking Duck restaurant in China Town.

Q: What is the one food that makes you long for those childhood days again?

A: My grandmother would make a Vietnamese version of fried chicken that I cannot seem to replicate.  I just learned that it was made with a tempura batter and fish sauce, so I am going to try to work on that.  It was mouthwateringly good.
 

Q: Did you go to your prom (s)?  If so, what do you remember most? 

A: I did go to my prom.  I had a boyfriend, but he wouldn’t go.  He was going through his “Ethan Hawke” moment at the time.  However, my good friend Matt, who is still one of my best friends, took me. Our prom was at The Plaza Hotel. Afterwards, Matt, his girlfriend Tina, my boyfriend Rob, and I all went to a diner.  I remember at the time that I was too vain to wear my glasses and I didn’t have contact lenses, so everything was blurry that night!  I wore a long black dress I borrowed from my sister and had a corkscrew perm.  It was so 1992.

 

Q: Where/How did you meet your husband?
A:
I met him on Match.com when I was living in San Francisco.  I noticed that the people who were finding me were not paying attention to anything that was on my profile. So, I did my own searching and found him. We went to a Japanese restaurant that is still there called Koo and had a “Spoonful of Happiness” to start.  It was the longest, best and last first date ever for me.  

Q: What is that one incredible moment, that single snapshot, of your wedding that comes to mind?

A: On our actual wedding day, we got married at San Francisco City Hall under the rotunda so there was this beautiful light coming down.  I don’t remember the vows – they are a blur – but I remember the kiss.  It felt like it was just the two of us. 

 

Q: What was the silliest fight you had with a sibling?
A:
My sister and I were bickering recently about who has more gray hair.  She is 6 years older than me.  My cousin Nancy was also there and asked us to stop fighting because it was making her uncomfortable.  It was all pretty comical really.

 

Q: If you could take back a moment in your life, what would it be?  Or would you forego that opportunity completely?
A:
Hmm… I think that all our choices lead us to where we are so I am not sure that I would take back any of those moments. There was, however, a person I dated in my 20’s for 9 months.  He should have been a “one date only” situation. 
 

Q: What colors really soothe you?
A:
Deep blues

 

Q: Do you have a favorite font?

A: I really like the handwriting font I use for part of my logo.  It is called Despeinada. There are a lot of fonts that are handwriting fonts that are a little bit too wedding, feminine or flowery, but I like that this one looks like brush calligraphy. It looks like someone just wrote it.  It is a little bit loose and not so perfect.  My name in my logo is very legible and I wanted something that would complement and contrast that. 

 

Q: Of all the places you have traveled, what place captivated you most and why?
A: Mallorca.  Absolutely stunning cliffs, and the coast has the most incredibly beautiful color of water.  There is a quaint little village, Valldemossa, with old stone buildings, cobblestone streets, and this amazing church.  The architecture blends into the countryside with its stone facades and green shutters. 

 

Q: If you could pick a song to be the theme of your life, what would it be? 

A: “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. I sang this song to my husband at our wedding reception.

Q: What is that one incredible moment, that single snapshot, of your wedding that comes to mind?

A: On our actual wedding day, we got married at San Francisco City Hall under the rotunda so there was this beautiful light coming down.  I don’t remember the vows – they are a blur – but I remember the kiss.  It felt like it was just the two of us. 

 

Q: What was the silliest fight you had with a sibling?
A:
My sister and I were bickering recently about who has more gray hair.  She is 6 years older than me.  My cousin Nancy was also there and asked us to stop fighting because it was making her uncomfortable.  It was all pretty comical really.

 

Q: If you could take back a moment in your life, what would it be?  Or would you forego that opportunity completely?
A:
Hmm… I think that all our choices lead us to where we are so I am not sure that I would take back any of those moments. There was, however, a person I dated in my 20’s for 9 months.  He should have been a “one date only” situation. 
 

Q: What colors really soothe you?
A:
Deep blues

 

Q: Do you have a favorite font?

A: I really like the handwriting font I use for part of my logo.  It is called Despeinada. There are a lot of fonts that are handwriting fonts that are a little bit too wedding, feminine or flowery, but I like that this one looks like brush calligraphy. It looks like someone just wrote it.  It is a little bit loose and not so perfect.  My name in my logo is very legible and I wanted something that would complement and contrast that. 

 

Q: Of all the places you have traveled, what place captivated you most and why?
A: Mallorca.  Absolutely stunning cliffs, and the coast has the most incredibly beautiful color of water.  There is a quaint little village, Valldemossa, with old stone buildings, cobblestone streets, and this amazing church.  The architecture blends into the countryside with its stone facades and green shutters. 

 

Q: If you could pick a song to be the theme of your life, what would it be? 

A: “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. I sang this song to my husband at our wedding reception.

 

Q: What is the best girlfriends trip you have ever taken?

A: I took a trip with three of my closest friends to the Bahamas in the late 90s and it was great because we were all together.  We were at the resort and my best friend Susan was raving, “This is seriously the best orange juice I’ve ever tasted.”  When I tried it, I realized it was pineapple juice!

For more information on my travels, my inspiration, and my photography, check out the rest of my blogs at CatSpace and explore my website!