Nue Chanthavongsay; A Gifted Photographer With An Eye For Capturing Humor.

Nue Chanthavongsay; A Gifted Photographer With An Eye For Capturing Humor.

You first met Che in Rochester works for actor Che Holloway, an impromptu interview and amble through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!

Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.

For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews

Nue Chanthavongsay; A Gifted Photographer With An Eye For Capturing Humor

nue 1

Photos courtesy of Nue Chanthavongsay

In this highlight, we turn our attention to Nue Chanthavongsay, an extremely gifted freelance photographer and cinematographer with a real funny bone! Nue’s work truly showcases his humorous and good hearted nature.

I recently was fortunate enough to work with Nue on his “Fat Head” series. The amount of fun and professionalism he showed throughout the shoot made me feel at ease and able to express myself more, which in turn worked out in both of our favors. These qualities are necessary for a photographer. Nue has what it takes and worth your time if your interested in working with someone who thinks “outside of the box”.

I asked Nue a series of questions. Here is what we discussed.

Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.

I was born and raised in Rochester, NY.  I’m of Laotian decent.  I went to high school at Webster Schroeder and graduated from RIT’s advertising photography program back in May 2016.  And last summer I travelled to Laos and became a monk for 8 days.nue 3

What inspired you to be a photographer? Early experiences worth sharing?

I don’t really have an inspiring story as to how I became a photographer.  After graduating high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do so I went to MCC for Chemistry.  That didn’t last very long and I ended up switching majors to liberal arts.  At the time, I was taking classes to fulfill the requirements and one of the classes I ended up enrolling in was Digital Photography.  The only reason I took that class was because I thought it would be an easy A.  But as the weeks progressed, I actually started to have fun with how creative you can get with it.  And it’s been going strong ever since then.  I always felt like I was a creative person but I never really did anything about it until I took up photography. Now its all I think about.nue 4

Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.

I want to say that almost everyday is a struggle because I still work a daytime job just to have a steady paycheck.  But it’s not something I want to keep doing forever.  I want to be able to work full time as a creative but that can’t happen just yet.  So, I freelance on the side, along with personal work, while trying to maintain a social life.

What do you believe sets you apart from other photographers?

Well first of all, I’m super handsome… just kidding.  I think the type of content that I create is huge in differentiating me from other photographers.  I’m a pretty good conceptual thinker.  I include a lot of humor in my work, which is fun and super juvenile at times.  I also do a lot of video, which is essential to the industry nowadays.  You have to be able to do both photography and videography and kickass at it.

Do you have other interests or hobbies?

I love fried chicken! I’m always trying to go on food adventures whenever I can.nue 6

Any projects you have out or currently working on?

Currently I’m working on a series of photographs I call, “Fat Head” where all I do is photograph people on white and make their heads bigger in Photoshop.  I haven’t worked on a series in a while so it’s going to be a lot fun.  This is going to be the best project I’ve done to date.nue 7

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
It’s unknown for now because at the end of 2016, I had a plan to move out to LA but here I am in Rochester.  I think for now I’m going to ride it out in Rochester until I feel the need to move on to NYC or LA.  I have a few things going on in Roc and I’d like to see where it takes me.nue 2

What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers/photographers?

You definitely need to have a thick skin when it comes to your work because people will have something to say about it. nue 8You have to be able to handle whatever comes at you.  When it comes to getting your work critiqued, don’t just fish for compliments, get actual feedback on what you can do better.  The best advice I ever got was also the harshest piece of criticism I had to take, but after hearing that, it motivated me even more to work harder and show everybody what I got.

How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?

You can follow me on Instagram @nue_chanthavongsay
I’m also on Facebook @nuechanthavongsay on my FB page @PhotographysLongestName


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About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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