Marcus Bui

“You allow people to be themselves when talking to you because you put them at ease, and everyone's favorite subject is themselves. Is it because you feel more comfortable in the shadows than in the spotlight? Do you believe that you deserve to be in the spotlight in your everyday life?”

This was the criticism my public speaking professor gave me when I played the role of an interviewer for an assignment. He noted my tendency to shy away from being asked questions and sense of empowerment when I was doing the asking. I have since found parallels between my art and myself that speak to the same sentiment.

I am a light chaser, fascinated and mesmerized by the structure of light: how it bends, its comfortable warmth, and how it intensifies the subject. Light has been a crucial part of my photography since the beginning, playing a significant role in many of my initial projects. Over time, I also began using photography as an excuse. I—a mostly introverted and taciturn person—use photography to interact with people, take their pictures, and explore things I would not have otherwise.

Do I deserve the spotlight? Photography is as much about documenting others as it is about the artist. My photos are representative of me; they always have a sort of distance from the subject, a reflection of my introversion. Combining my love of light with photographing people, I want to show myself through shining a spotlight on others.

Marcus Bui is a photographer from the Bronx in New York City. For some time, he has been captivated by photography—quickly falling in love with it after taking courses in high school and at the International Center of Photography. Bui won the 2023 YoungArts National Competition and exhibited his work in the Megafauna Land Dwellers Exhibition—a show about eco-feminism and nature conservation curated by Naomi Fisher. He loves to photograph family, street life, adolescence, and light. Currently, he is a high school senior completing his associate degree and a student in the ICP Teen Academy Imagemakers Program. He will be attending Columbia University in the City of New York in the class of 2028 as an intended Neuroscience major.