Men of the Year 2015: Zung, Photographer
Tooth and Nail
“I always believed in myself, I always did what I thought was right.” Despite his success in the photography industry his start was rocky to say the least. Born and raised in a small village called Sekinchan, Zung had to drop out of university during the Asian financial crisis. Deciding to use his passion for photography to make some money, Zung started shooting events in nightclubs where he travelled hundreds of kilometres every night, working into the wee hours of the morning all for a meagre wage. Persistent in his approach to his work, he soldiered on, venturing into wedding photography and eventually realising that the photography industry was the right path for him. Coming from a poor background, Zung has never considered it a disadvantage to him but rather he says that it actually trained him to think outside the box and even instilled within him a fighting spirit to make the best of every situation.
Photographs by Vincent Paul Yong/Studio Verve, Outfits by Emporio Armani, Watches by Bell & Ross
Zung has shot portraits for some of the world’s biggest names including the Dalai Lama, Donald Trump and Anthony Robbins. One of his proudest achievement yet was a project where he did six different shoots in six different continents in six weeks; the kicker is, he only had six days to plan it all. With a style of photography that sets him apart from the rest, Zung says his philosophy was inspired by his sister. “She passed away when I was 18. I watched her suffer with breast cancer but she kept telling me to cherish every moment in life. The good and the bad. This is why my style is about capturing the moments.” In doing this, in freezing the once in a lifetime moments of his subjects, he inevitably also captures their souls in a photograph.
After fighting tooth and nail to achieve his goals, Zung now wants to give back to the community. “Along my journey, I had a lot of good people help me. I kept asking why? I am nobody,” however, now he sees that he has that same opportunity to help others. Two years ago he gave a talk at TEDxKL which led him to keep using his life experience to inspire others. Volunteering to speak at orphanages and schools, Zung says if each individual does their part, “we can build a better society.”