Nature’s Laboratory delves into the importance of biodiversity and those who care for the planet. Simultaneously, it celebrates creating memories, living adventurously and facing fears.

This year’s Silk Laundry Art Prize had a focus on arthropods. Despite their small size, this species is essential to the human food supply chain and is also essential for maintaining ecosystem sustainability and pollinating crops. So, this year’s competition challenged our community to portray the delicate nature and charming characteristics of the little critters.

Interview with Vinh Nguyen - People’s Choice Winner  

Walking down the aisle, Vinh Nguyen’s wife was dressed in a Silk Laundry gown which sparked his connection with Silk Laundry

“Her love of the brand is how we found out about this competition," he fondly shared retelling their elope in Mexico. 

For Vinh, photography is a creative outlet from his day job as a designer in the architecture industry. 

“When I’m taking photos, I find that I'm not stressed and I just forget about things. I'm really focused on just the moment and not thinking about anything else.”

Sourcing inspiration both nearby and on travels abroad, he found himself drawn to arthropods upon a visit to the Amazon jungle, which made entering the Silk Laundry Art prize an obvious choice. 

“I found that taking pictures of insects requires really, really intense focus because even breathing will make the picture out of focus.”

Vinh’s dreamlike imagery of a white flower crab spider hiding in a rose resonated with the wider Silk Laundry community. Capturing the critter waiting for its breakfast to arrive, Vinh snapped the little creature on a whim in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens which ended up winning The People’s Choice award. 

 “I was walking into the Botanical Gardens and was looking at some flowers. Then randomly I noticed something in the flowers and there I saw the spider staring back at me.”

Paying close attention to the little details in life, Vinh finds that observing his surroundings and immersing himself in his environment sparks a catalyst for his images. This is how his imagery of the spider crab flourished. 

“Once I saw the spider, what drew me to it was that subtlety of tones and how it was really simple.” 

“It caught me by surprise. At first, I noticed a spider and wondered what it was doing. I thought maybe it was looking for breakfast or maybe it was waiting. Then I found out it was a crab spider and that they wait around for something to fly by that they can snatch to eat for a meal.” 

Capturing the charm of what is typically a more frightening creature, Vinh thinks his enchanting depiction of a spider is what drew people to his image. 

“I received feedback that my picture looks a little like a painting, maybe because of the simplicity of it. Usually, people wouldn’t describe a spider as appealing, it's normally something that scares people off.” 

“It was a lucky capture and that’s the thing with photography. You can’t plan for these things.” 

Learn more about the Silk Laundry Art Prize here.