This idea for Vu Bao Khanh’s recent project, Not Belong Here, began when he spotted an astronaut helmet one day at a vintage flea market. The helmet immediately transformed into his subject and he felt compelled to make something of it and could not bear to leave the market without it no matter the cost. And with it, his childhood dream of flying in outer space was awakened!
The ideas flowed quickly for this series and Khanh spent just two weeks for everything from developing the concept to scouting various locations throughout Hanoi and finally shooting and editing.
Khanh discusses that he wanted to convey how lonely people are when living amidst society. Like an Astronaut who belongs in outer space but is instead standing in the middle of the crowded city. It’s a concept he’s been inspired by in the work of Tim Dodd and Maximilian Motel.
Logistically, translating the idea into the images Khanh envisioned was no simple task;
The most difficult part of this series was posing my model on the busiest cross bridge during rush hour or having him jump on the edge of a roof during a thunder storm. For that shot two people needed to hold the strobe, with an octabox attached, so it wouldn’t blow away in the strong winds. Thanks to my courageous friend, Quan, who fears nothing (and is also the co-developer of the project), we were able to nail the tough shots.
It was a brief project but Khanh feels the images are ready to live on their own and speak for themselves, meaning it’s “time to move on something new…!”