Interview with the talented up and coming photographer Christine Xuan after the exhibition of her final project in Shoreditch. What a lovely little lady.
FF: When and why did you start photography Christine?
I started photography when I was around 14 or 15 although at the time I didn’t take it very seriously, it was more of a hobby than a career choice. I started to take it more seriously around 1,5-2 years later at the age of 16 or 17 which is when I was thinking of what to study at University.
I started to take an interest in it when one of my friends introduced me to the website deviantArt where many people uploaded and shared their art and got feedback from other members of the site. It was on this website that I discovered the photography of many talented individuals and it inspired me to try it out too. I’d never been good at art (drawing/painting) at school so always felt a little frustrated that I couldn’t produce what I saw in my head, photography allowed me to do exactly that though!
FF: What/ who is your inspiration?
I’m inspired by many things, mainly films. I particularly love the films of Alfred Hitchcock, the way he uses light is so beautiful. His work, along with the film “The Last Seduction” starring Linda Fiorentino is what inspired me to create a film noir/femme fatale series in my final year of University.
FF: How has you style been influenced – and developed?
I feel that it’s been heavily influenced by the people I meet and get to work with on shoots. The feedback/critique from fellow photographers and tutors helps me to develop my style in terms of pushing me out of my comfort zone. Of course my style has also developed by just shooting as much as I possibly can, constantly practising every weekend while I was still at school.
I used to work solely with natural light before going to University. There I had briefs that called for using studio lighting, something that I was not very familiar with and slowly over the course of 3 years I started to become more comfortable working within the studio and experimenting with using the lighting provided.
FF: Where did the concept for your final project come from?
The concept came when I was organising my portfolio and realising that over the past 6 months or so I had been shooting work that was quite dark in terms of make up and styling, which I felt had become a bit too repetitive.
It was at this point that I decided to do something that was the complete opposite of my current work. After going through a few ideas I finally settled on creating a series of photographs, each one restricted to just one colour. I also decided to create some props for this series as my work also lacked the use of props and I felt it would add more depth to the final images.
At first I wanted to use real flowers for all the shoots but realised early on that it would not work so instead I created over 400 origami flowers for the shoots. I still managed to incorporate real flowers into the shoots however by making floral headbands which was also a nice contrast to the paper flowers that would be surrounding my models.
I don’t really think I can choose just one experience as there have been so many things that have been so wonderful! One that sticks out and I am incredibly grateful for is my University trip to Shanghai for 2 weeks in 2010. My tutors gave us the opportunity to work with Superdry clothing and we put up an exhibition of the work we shot for them at the end of the trip.