Pioneer Public- Long Phan

Written By Tia Bailey

Long Phan is a senior photography major who is originally from Vietnam. 

Phan transferred to Point Park after the school he was at previously, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, closed down. His experience at Point Park has been good, despite the hasty transfer. 

“It’s great,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends.” 

Phan is currently working on his senior thesis, which is about the exploration of being Vietnamese in America when you weren’t born here. Phan moved to the U.S. when he was a teenager, originally as an exchange student. 

His high school had an English exam that his friend tricked him into taking, and he ended up passing the exam. Because of this, he was granted a scholarship to study abroad in America. 

“My mom and dad told me that I should try to finish high school here,” Phan said. “If I had gone back home, my high school would have held me back a year, so I finished high school here and thought I may as well go to college here too.” 

Phan enjoys taking portrait photos and editorial-style pictures. COVID-19 has changed his process when taking photos, because being close to people isn’t ideal. 

“It’s hard to get access to people and you don’t know where people have been and if they have taken care of themselves and others,” he said. “I’m cautious taking portraits of people I don’t know.”

This has also affected how he goes about his thesis, because he now has to do it through his own point-of-view. He said he is now exploring Vietnamese-American commonplace through his own lens and culture. 

Aside from photography, Phan is very into gaming. He has been into it since he was 3 years old and even thought about being a pro-gamer when he was a kid. Now, he says that it is only a hobby, as the scene has changed so much. 

“As of right now, to be good at gaming, you need to have that one talent already,” he said. “Take FortNite—it’s a game for kids, but when you look at the pros, they’re all teenagers. As someone older, gaming is really hard to compete with the younger generations.” 

Although he does not want to do gaming professionally, it is still a hobby for him and a subject that he is very knowledgeable about. 

After he graduates with his photography degree, he hopes to find a teaching job, and his ultimate goal is to find a job in the creative field. If he does not find one here, he will go home.