Q1: When did you initially become interested in photography and fashion photography?
Feng : I was convinced that I wanted to become a photographer or a filmmaker when I was in high school. When I was six, my father bought me a cheap camera for my birthday. Even though I often clicked the shutter without thinking, I remember feeling a sense of fulfillment from the experience of presenting my point of view through photographs. I believed this was the only thing I could do competently, and constantly sought out opportunities in this field. When a model friend suggested I try my hand at fashion photography, I decided to give it a go. I knew nothing about fashion at the time, but having my work chosen by Vogue Italia gave me a lot of confidence.
Q2: How would you characterise your photographic approach?
Feng : Photographs that tell a story are appealing to me. My work focuses on the relationship between photographs and people and the narrative told by the entire collection of images. When I take a photo, I think about how the subject relates to its surroundings, and investigate the subject’s feelings through the camera’s eye, which enables me to connect with them on a deep, personal level. If I had to describe the quality of my photographs, I would use the terms “fresh,” “vivid,” and “freeze time.”
Q3: How have your film studies influenced your photography style?
Feng : Films and photographic art complement each other. When I’m shooting a film, I use the same mindset and perspective as when I’m shooting a photograph, and when taking a photograph, I naturally employ some film techniques. For instance, I often ask the person I’m photographing to imagine that they’re a character in a script I’ve written, which turns the entire shoot into a performance and enables them to play either their inner self or a different character. This relieves them of many anxieties.
Q4: What do you find most appealing about fashion photography?
Feng : It’s the very instant that one can never adequately prepare for. After finishing hair and makeup and adjusting the lighting, I take a peek at my subject through the lens. They are connected to their clothes, themselves, and the environment. Everything is unknown and random, and it’s through this randomness that I’m able to capture my perspective and view. While some may view fashion as superficial, I disagree. Even a single garment can be displayed in an infinite number of ways, each of which can generate a different posture, feeling, and story.
Q5: Can you share some words of wisdom with those interested in a fashion photography career?
Feng : If you have faith in your abilities and spend time flipping through fashion magazines, watching movies, listening to music, and following all forms of pop culture and artwork that speak to your sense of style, you’ll never be short of ideas. Breaking into the industry in the modern era can be a breeze. If you send a private message to a creator you like, you might find a job.
Interview & text : Calvin Wong