Interlude 30 Project unfolds photos, stories of women in their 30s

(VOVWORLD) - Women, what do you have at the age of 30? No matter if it’s a happy family or a broken relationship, a high position at your company or a struggle to start up your dream business, the 30th year of your life comes anyway. Are you gonna celebrate it with a cake and some candles as usual? 30-year-old journalist and photographer Nguyen Bao Ngoc and her Interlude 30 Project will tell you that there’s much more to celebrate! Thanh Ha reports.

On a lovely autumn day in Hanoi, Bao Ngoc’s Luk studio welcomed a beautiful woman named Nguyen Pham Thanh Hang. She brought some sunflowers to take photos with, because sunflowers have a special meaning for her. “I want to take photos with sunflowers, because they always turn towards the sun, and they symbolize cancer patients", Hang said, "I’m living the last days of my life, and I want to make the most of them. If I can breathe for just one more day, I want to make it a special day.”

Interlude 30 Project unfolds photos, stories of women in their 30s - ảnh 1 Nguyen Pham Thanh Hang (Photo: Interlude 30)

Hang is at the final stage of colorectal cancer. The cancer cells have metastasized to her lungs and heart, making it difficult for her to breathe or talk. When she’s not undergoing painful treatment at the hospital, Hang maintains a popular Facebook page. Her optimistic perspectives on life inspire others to treasure every moment they’re alive. She said: “I’m having pericardial effusion and I always have needles in my heart to suck the fluid out. But whenever I feel like it, I take the needles and fluid bottle out with me to get a tattoo. The tattoo artists were wary at first. They were afraid I might experience heart failure and die during the tattoo procedure. But after hearing my story and seeing how much I want a tattoo of my daughter’s name, they offered to tattoo me free of charge.”

30-year-old Thanh Hang’s story is included in Bao Ngoc’s Interlude 30 project, a photo and story collection of women at the age of 30, each reflecting a different life perspective. There’s the successful MC who has put her professional life on hold to take care of her three kids, the beauty queen who is trying to live a better life after a miscarriage, the well-known businesswoman who realized while facing a huge business failure that her family is the greatest success of her life. Ngoc believes that 30 is the age when women have gone through enough ups and downs, achievements and failures, to realize the core values of their life. She takes photos of them and writes about their life stories as a way to celebrate her own 30th year. “My 30th year in life has a special meaning to me, and I think to every other 30-year-old woman", she said, "This is a very sensitive stage of life according to society. Unmarried women are considered hopeless; married women who don’t have kids or a suitable job yet are thought to be unstable; divorced women don’t receive much sympathy from society. I think this is unfair to the women, so I started this project to capture the inner beauty of these women and encourage them to be confident about themselves, and continue living their own lives even if they don’t seem to meet society’s standards.”

Interlude 30 Project unfolds photos, stories of women in their 30s - ảnh 2Journalist, Photographer Nguyen Bao Ngoc (Photo: Luk studio) 

Journalist Ngoc has a passion for photography, especially photos of women. For every Interlude 30 layout, Ngoc spends time in advance discussing the concept with her subject, selecting appropriate clothes and a suitable background for the photos. After the photos comes the talking, where Ngoc hears what the women have gone through in their 30 years. Then she plays the part of storyteller, using her photos and words to describe how women are living in today’s society. She said: “Women in different periods have different perspectives of life. I always get excited seeing pictures or reading stories about women during the war years or in the subsidy period, because I learn what life was like for women at that time. I hope that in 10 or 20 years, when the next generation reads these stories, they will learn what life was like for their mothers and aunts in 2017, a period of modernization and globalization.”

Of all the photoshoots, Ngoc particularly liked the pregnant women. When she first told her friends about the Interlude 30 project, some of them were excited but thought they couldn’t participate because they were about to give birth. Ngoc introduced six expectant mothers to each other and did a photoshoot of the six women. After they gave birth, Ngoc got them together again for another shoot of the mothers and their babies. Hong Mi, one of the mothers, said: “I was very surprised when Ngoc invited me to be a subject of her project. I was quite nervous because I was in my 34th week of pregnancy at the time. Then Ngoc explained to me that she wanted to take pictures and tell the stories of expecting mothers. I agreed right away because I think being a mother is a wonderful experience, especially for me, who was expecting my first child at the age of 30. The second photoshoot was very special because we got to gather around with our healthy newborn babies. It was almost a happiness overload for us.”

Interlude 30 Project unfolds photos, stories of women in their 30s - ảnh 3 6 mothers and their babies at the second photoshoot (Photo: Interlude 30)

Bao Ngoc is happy that her project is connecting women: “This project is very meaningful to me. I’ve learned a lot from the women I’ve met. The connections created have allowed women to share their stories and support each other’s lives.”

The Interlude 30 project is sponsored by DEP magazine, which publishes Ngoc’s photos and stories in a column titled “Fabulous 30”. A photo exhibit and lecture will be organized after Ngoc finishes her photoshoots. For more information, please visit: