Melbourne photographer Maria Nguyen gets joy from figuring out how to connect

Here at Revival Runway we love discovering new creative talents like photographer Maria Thi Thu Thao Nguyen. Her first experience with us was for our Creative Coast runway show, and we loved her so much she is now a part of our RR Family.

For Creative Coast, Maria shot some amazing behind-the-scenes backstage photos that perfectly display the focus, fun and family of our fabulous volunteer models. We love her work, but for Maria, it amazingly started as ‘shits and giggles’ at the end of 2019. Despite the quality of her work, photography is currently a side gig. Maria’s full time job is delivering university lectures for a STEM trade union!

Creative Coast Geelong fashion show backstage photography Maria Nguyen

“During the 2020 lock down I decided to take it a little more seriously and it has led me to where I am now,” Maria says, going on to explain that her launch into the new medium of photography was all because of a break-up.

“For a long time I competed in most forms of MMA. One time, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu mate of mine moved back to Sydney, and she sold a Canon 800D to me for 25 buckeroos. 

“[At the] end of 2019 I was suffering from a bad romance – yes, cheesy I hear you think – I was all emo, rotting on a couch. I needed to get up because nature called. 

“That was when the Canon 800D was suddenly in my line of sight. I thought to myself, ‘Ok, I can rot and go mouldy or I could try something new’. 

“My dad is a photographer, so at age 36/37, I finally was able to connect with my father!”


When asked about what she loves about photography, Maria jokes: “Where do I begin? And I warn you it won’t end …”

“From a portrait or campaign level, I love that I can bring my vision to life and to work and lead a team of creatives,” says Maria.

Creative Coast Geelong fashion show backstage photography Maria Nguyen

“I am a qualified scientist, I have worked in the lab and quickly transitioned into a sales role selling scientific instruments and later pharmaceuticals. Altogether, I have had 15 years of sales experience. What I love about sales is the opportunity to connect with people and learn more about the world. 

“Portrait photography for me is just this. In life, we all have our flaws and areas where we shine. Aesthetically, people are the same. I get most joy figuring out how to connect and be able to draw areas and angles where my subject shines.

“Before portraits I spent a lot of time doing street photography. Identifying a beautiful moment in arbitrary, impromptu chaos is something that is challenging and rewarding. 

“And … Thanks to Revival Runway, who allowed me to practise doing just this backstage. It was hectic, though I loved it. Thrived on it!”

As for which of her backstage images she shot at the Creative Coast show, Maria says that it was hard to pick just one: “Gosh. They all are as they all tell a story. To pick just one. It would have to be …”

Creative Coast Geelong fashion show backstage photography Maria Nguyen

“I chose this shot specifically because there is a story behind this one. I was listening in on the conversation. Nathan, was so beautiful and supportive and checked in on Shin Yie. 

“My guess is that it may have been Shin Yie’s first runway and he went out of his way to make her feel comfortable as well as walk her through some moves and how it all worked. 

“At the moment I took the shot I thought to myself ‘OOhh maaah lord. What a beautiful baby boiiii’. Hahaha.”

You can catch more of Maria’s fashion photography work at @mariaincorp and see her street photography at @marias_street_clicks. DM to contact for commission work

All images: Maria Thi Thu Thao Nguyen

All garments: Emipeli Design

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