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PORTFOLIO

26.09.2014

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Kiên Hoàng Lê travelled to Japan to complete his final dissertation for his studies of photojournalism and documentary photography. He searched for the perfect theme for five months before taking part in a workshop with Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata. It was then that he accidentally discovered a little bar.

The Suna no Shiro bar lies hidden in the red-light and pleasure district of Tokyo, and is a meeting place for eccentrics, artists and outsiders. The atmosphere in the bar immediately captivated Kiên Hoàng Lê, and the workshop with Antoine d’Agata strengthened his conviction that he should follow his gut feeling when taking photographs. As a result, he put aside his medium format camera, and set about capturing the scene at the bar using a Leica M9 and a flash.
Drawings by artist Aida Makato, founder of the Suna no Shiro bar
Statue in front of a karaoke bar in the Higashi Nakano neighbourhood
After a night of booze, Toshi and Kai sleep in the bar till the trains start running again
A salaryman - as the Japanese call an office employee - at Shinjuku Station, too exhausted to go home
Hiropon, a permanent customer, trains in the bar's upper floor
A homeless man has removed his shoes before lying down to sleep on a sheet of cardboard
Cross-dresser Kathi has taken off her clothes: the air conditioning in the bar is broken
Hioron, a permanent customer, in the bar's upper floor, shortly after waking up in the afternoon
A drunkard in the train on the way back from Hanabi, the summer fireworks festival
Ivy growing over a wall in the Higashi Nakano neighbourhood
Photographer Kiên Hoàng Lê (Middle) in the Suna no Shiro bar

Kiên Hoàng Lê

Kiên Hoàng Lê was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, and grew up in Bogensee close to Berlin. He has been working as a freelance photographer since 2009. In 2012 he was a photographer for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In 2013 he got his BA in Advance Visual Storytelling at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. Kiên received a grant which he used to do his research in Japan, and then completed his studies of photojournalism and documentary photography in Hanover. Kiên Hoàng Lê lives in Berlin and is represented by the FOCUS Agency.
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