Maika Elan

The Pink Choice

Homosexuality is no longer considered a big taboo in today’s world: people have heard a lot of it, have almost come to accept it. Many can easily say they are homosexual, or have homosexual friends.

However, there still exists a large barrier, when the notion of homosexuality is still limited to define what homosexuality is and how “different” it is… The “acceptance” of the nature of homosexuality is mostly based on sympathy, ignorance or even contempt. There has not been any recognition and/or encouragement of homosexuality as human right to love and to be loved.

Insufficient and sometimes wrong notions of the community make homosexual people’s life very difficult. Depending on the society’s level of open-mindedness, homosexual people choose to act in different ways: Some gather at places like dance floors, karaokes, cafes. Others, more discreetly, make friends via internet forums. Some male homosexuals get married with women. Others choose to live alone. More noteworthy are those many (both gay and lesbians) who choose to live together openly as couples.

Thereon poses questions about their private lives: How do they live together? How do they express their emotions towards each other? What is interesting about their lives? Those questions, however, have remained great taboos. People avoid asking them, avoid investigating them, and even be scared of the possible answers… Starting from my own curiosity, my own confusion and my own motivation, as well as my insights into homosexuals’ lives that I myself had a chance to witness, I wholeheartedly carried out this project: a photography document about homosexual couples’ daily activities and their private moments (called THE PINK CHOICE).

I want to tell the story by going into the great depth of love and intimacy. I want to avoid stereotypes of homosexuality. I also want to avoid the tabloid/shocking news style. I want to show simply how they care and love each other in daily activities. More strongly, I want to show that their loving and caring for each other is nothing deviant. They are all normal and natural behaviors, attitudes, thoughts and emotions.

Love is beautiful, and we can only claim ourselves supportive of homosexuality when we accept their love – and see it beautiful as it naturally is!

About the Artist

Artist Website

After studying sociology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, Maika started to use the camera, and then Lomo’s family cameras, to take pictures of her daily and private life since 2006. From 2008, she turned to professional photography soon starting collaborations for editorial clients and fashion firms in Vietnam.

In 2010 Maika moved to documentary photography and her first project called The Pink Choice, focused on personal life of gay couples in Vietnam, has been published in many magazines on print and online such as in USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, China, India and Brazil…

Maika Elan was double-awarded for the “best photo essay” and the “best single photo” in 2010 at Indochina Media Memorial Foundation and in 2012 The Pink Choice was finalist at Asian Women Photographers.

In 2013, The Pink Choice won 1st prize stories, Contemporary Issues, at World Press Photo 2013 and 1st prize documentary story at Pride Photo Award 2013.

Maika participanted in the 2013 Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, Holand and sellected for the VII Mentor program from 2014-2016. Maika’s name is also honored in the Forbes Vietnam 30under30 list in 2014.

In 2017, Maika is one of the six selected talents of the first 6×6 Global Talent Program in Southeast Asia & Oceania – an initiative organized by The World Press Photo.

In 2018, she was nominated for the Elliott Erwitt Havana Club 7 Fellowship and for the Visionary Award.