"The beauty of nature resonates with me deeply because it can make sense of a world where little else does."
Ngoc Minh Ngo was born in Vietnam and traveled extensively before moving to Brooklyn, where she now lives. Her photographs have been published in Martha Stewart Living, Domino, Elle Decoration UK and Architectural Digest. She is the author of Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature. Her new book, In Bloom: Creating and Living with Flowers comes out September 13, 2016.
I was working on an independent feature film directed by a friend and together with the Director of Photography, we looked at a lot of early black and white photography. I fell in love with the work of Andre Kertesz and got a photographer friend to teach me how to print black and white. My boyfriend at the time helped me to buy a manual camera and set up a darkroom in my bathroom. I spent many happy hours late at night, with the music of Joy Division, in my darkroom. I love the excitement of learning something new. With photography, as in anything else, there is always something new to learn. I've just started learning to do tintype.
This was taken in a wildly beautiful place in the countryside of Morocco, on the day of the Paris attack. It encapsulates what I think about the beauty of nature making sense of a world in which nothing else does.
My soul place could be any place in nature, be it the Muir Woods National Park in the rain or an apple orchard in the late afternoon light, or the sea in its ever changing moods and colors. The beauty of nature resonates with me deeply because it can make sense of a world where little else does. As the writer Adam Nicholson wrote, "here in a chance beautiful thing is something given, neither engineered nor sought, neither curiously made nor elaborately framed, but dropping as a bead of meaning out of a meaningless sky. Its value, its weight, is in your own recognition of its beauty. There is something naturally there which you naturally recognize as good. The ability to see that beauty is a sign that the world is not an anarchy of violence and destruction. You belong to it and it belongs to you."
One of the most extraordinary books, begun in 1561 as the Model Book of Calligraphy by Georg Bocskay, with Joris Hoefnagel's botanical illustrations commissioned thirty years later by Emperor Rudolph II. It's an magnificently illustrated contest between words and images, something that I think about often.
I have always followed my instincts, doing what interests me most. In addition to photography, I also love gardens and have spent the last few years shooting gardens and flowers, something that makes me really happy because it combines my two great loves. I'm photographing a book on a garden in Morocco, which involves trying to catch the wildflowers as they come up each season.
I wish I could photograph all the wildflowers in the world, especially those in war zones. I was told that in Afghanistan, there are amazing fields of wildflowers that few people take notice of. In Morocco, all the fields of wildflowers are disappearing because of rapid development, and many native species are being threatened by extinction.
All images used with permission of Ngoc Minh Ngo.