Ho Chi Minh City
Maika Elan (Nguyen Thanh Hai) is a Hanoi-born freelance photographer currently based in HCMC. After studying sociology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, she started to take pictures of her daily and private life in 2008, and soon after turned to professional photography, starting with collaborations for editorial clients and fashion firms around Vietnam. In 2010 Maika moved to documentary photography. Her first project ‘The Pink Choice’, focusing on the private, personal lives of gay couples in Vietnam, has been widely exhibited and published in many international printed and online magazines, winning the 1st prize for Contemporary Issues Stories at the 2013 World Press Photo, and the 1st prize Documentary Story at the 2013 Pride Photo Award 2013. Maika was also awarded both Best Photo Essay and Best Single Photo at the 2010 Indochina Media Memorial Foundation, and was selected for the VII Mentor program from 2014-2016. Her first solo exhibition took place at the Goethe Institut in Hanoi in 2012.