Two years ago almost to the day, I signed up for a Julian Wainwright Photography workshop in Saigon just for fun, maybe because I enjoy photography and celebrations. At that time, I had just quit my 9-to-5 job and had already decided to leave my little Vietnam - this sweet land I called home for nearly four years - and reconnect with my native Paris.
I remember this day as if it was yesterday, a sunny day in February 2015. I drove my motorbike to Work Saigon in district 3 where the workshop took place and I remember arriving late. I was surprised at the large number of people that were there, mostly Vietnamese. I understood why: weddings are a very important life milestone for Vietnamese people. The first part of the morning workshop was purely theory with Julian's general presentation about wedding photography and then a review of his portfolio.
After the first part of the workshop, we had a lunch break at the Secret Garden rooftop near Pasteur where we ordered some vegetarian and pescetarian meals. The ambiance among the students was great: we talked about photography, techniques, weddings and exchanged about our respective jobs as well as life in Saigon. I enjoyed it very much. After the delicious meal and exchanges with the participants, we caught a cab to return to the class to continue the wedding workshop with coffee and pastries.
The second part of the workshop was dedicated to reviewing one-by-one all the photos each student sent to Julian before the workshop. I remember how amazed and impressed I was with everyone's work and my insecurity at that time had made me felt very bad when comparing my portfolio to the other students’ work. I was happy that all the pictures got reviewed anonymously on the screen and thought to myself that I would never become a wedding photographer anyway (just to feel better) :)
After the theory lesson, the workshop continued with a photo shoot with a Vietnamese couple who acted as models for the group to be able to practice what we had learnt in theory. We all grabbed our bikes and drove to the cathedral in district 1 in the hustle and bustle of the city. The couple was photogenic and looked happy so we all had the opportunity to create a nice portfolio for future reference. We had fun trying all different poses, playing the paparazzis for movie stars!
After the photo shoot session, we all returned to Saigon Work to end the workshop with a lesson about Adobe Lightroom before we all went for a beer altogether on the street corner of the school...
Two years later, I still remember this great moment with nostalgia and I miss it. Irony of fate, exactly a week ago, I had my first wedding photo shoot here in the City of Light, although I had never thought one second to become a professional photographer back then. All the best happens when you least expect it and when you do what you truly love. If you happen to be in Asia one day, I really recommend Julian's wedding photography workshop!
Thank you, Julian, for this memorable day!