A Portrait of Aron Schuftan
This is my diary: Raw & Unfiltered.
My photography is a heartfelt diary of what I see, the moments I experience, traveling to other countries and immersing myself in the culture.
My love affair with photography did not begin with creative intentions but more with a journey of self-discovery and immortalization. Being an only child I’ve always felt a weight of responsibility and duty to pass along my history and that of my ancestors.
I can remember avidly listening to the stories of my heritage during family dinners, trying to commit them to memory and being so frustrated by only finding a handful of tattered old photos of eras gone by. I longed to be able to see what they saw, to help tell the stories, to make them more real; more visceral.
The experience urged me to document and attempt to immortalize my life through the lens with the images I create. It is my hope that it can bring future generations closer to me. It was this desire that led me to take my first class in photography at Tulane University in New Orleans in the mid-90s where I was getting my degree in Pre-Medicine and Sociology.
I developed my skills and found that I was able to tell stories with my pictures and it was a great way for me, a self-proclaimed introvert, to interact with people. It empowered and lifted me in a way a gambler must feel as he watches a ball tumbling on a roulette wheel.
My photography is a heartfelt diary of what I see, the moments I experience, traveling to other countries and immersing myself in the culture. As a street photographer, it is important to me to capture a moment, the feeling –without manipulating my subject or the environment. I try to be a fly on the wall and capture exactly what I see. At the same time, I try to capture the unusual or the ordinary, but in a new light.
For me, the art lies in the capture, not later enhancement of an image. Photoshop has revolutionized photography but being a purist, I shy away from post-production of my work. What you see is what I saw, unfiltered, raw and grabbing the energy of that exact moment. It is through my images, that my viewers can see and experience cultures, faraway lands and the emotions captured by my lens.
Some of my images can be unsettling (eg: a dog meat market, poverty) and others lifting, human and inspiring. For me, as an artist, I want my images to elicit emotions good or bad.
What currently inspires me is the people of Vietnam: I shoot mostly children and the elderly. I find their innocence and wisdom interesting subject matters. In any case, I always try to incorporate visual elements in my shots that tell a story and are not just “pretty” pictures.
For me, not only is the image important, but also the title. I have always believed that the title of a photograph adds another dimension to the image. At times, the title of the shot is apparent to me before I take the picture. When possible, I always strive to find a title that makes my viewers think one step beyond the image.
Recently, I have decided to take a sabbatical as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist to pursue my passion of photography. I have been living in Vietnam since 2014, but have been regularly visiting since 1995 when my parents moved here (and still live here). My mother is Vietnamese and my father was born and raised in Chile to German-Jewish parents. I spent my adolescence in Nairobi, Kenya, but have been fortunate to have lived all over the world including Cameroon, Spain, Puerto Rico, Chile and the US.
I would love to continue to travel the world to take pictures, meet people, and teach medicine along the way, perhaps even host my own TV show one day 🙂 (see video below).
My dream would be to work with National Geographic taking cultural street photography (if anyone can introduce me I would appreciate it!).
Thank you so much for taking the time to journey with me through my photos. I hope you enjoy looking at my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them….