Pipo Nguyen-duy was born in Hue, Vietnam. Growing up within thirty kilometers of the demilitarized zone of the 18th Parallel, he describes hearing gunfire every day of his early life. He later immigrated to the United States as a political refugee.
Nguyen-duy has taken on many things in life in pursuit of his diverse interests. As a teenager in Vietnam, he competed as a national athlete in table tennis. He also spent some time living as a Buddhist monk in Northern India. Eventually Nguyen-duy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at Carleton College. He then moved to New York City, where he worked as a bartender and later as a nightclub manager. Finally, Nguyen-duy earned a Master of Arts in Photography, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Photography, both from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.
Nguyen-duy has received many awards and grants including a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography; a National Endowment for the the Arts; an En Foco Grant; a Professional Development Grant from the College Arts Association; a National Graduate Fellowship from the American Photography Institute; a Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission; a B. Wade and Jane B. White Fellowship in the Humanities at Oberlin College; and three Individual Artist Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council. He participated as an artist-in-residence at Monet’s garden through The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Artists at Giverny Fellowship; as an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California; and participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program.
Nguyen-duy has lectured widely and his work is part of many public collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is currently a professor teaching photography at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.