Ris­ing pho­tog Luo Yang on shoot­ing China’s girls

HK Magazine - - PAGE 3 -

HK Mag­a­zine: When did you first be­gin pho­tograph­ing women, and what was it ini­tially that in­spired you to do so?

Luo Yang: I started pho­tograph­ing in 2007 out of the de­sire to ex­press the real me and how I felt about the world around me. Much of this was re­lated to the con­fu­sion of pu­berty, of be­ing young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced. But when I saw the girls around me shar­ing the same emo­tions and con­fu­sions about life, I re­al­ized that I needed to record our lives.

HK: How have your im­pres­sions of Chi­nese women changed since then?

LY: From 2007 to 2016, I got to know girls who were born in the 80s to the 90s. At the be­gin­ning, I no­ticed there weren’t too many girls like these; girls who were in­de­pen­dent, open and free to be them­selves. Now they are be­com­ing a ma­jor­ity.

This makes me be­lieve that there’s an emerg­ing trend among young girls to ex­press them­selves. It gives me a lot of con­fi­dence. Tak­ing pho­tos of these girls is an en­cour­ag­ing process for all of us.

HK: What is the most glar­ing stereo­type you want to dis­pel about Chi­nese women through your work?

LY: It’s hard to say that I’m dis­pelling any­thing. I’m just try­ing to do the best I can to show the re­al­ity that I see, to com­fort and en­cour­age the girls I’m pho­tograph­ing. Of course, I hope that af­ter see­ing my work, peo­ple can be per­suaded to see women in a dif­fer­ent way and give them more free­dom and space beyond the stereo­types about women in Chi­nese so­ci­ety. HK: Ai Wei­wei has named you one of the ris­ing stars of Chi­nese pho­tog­ra­phy. What does that mean to you?

LY: That was a very en­cour­ag­ing kind of recog­ni­tion, es­pe­cially be­cause the feel­ings I’m try­ing to ex­press come from real life. I guess this is also why my work touches peo­ple: As women, we all share the same sen­ti­ments and emo­tions.

HK: Who are other fe­male artists in­spir­ing you to­day?

LY: There are many fe­male artists I like, namely So­phie Calle, Rineke Di­jk­stra and Ma­rina Abramović.

HK: You’ve said that women will al­ways be your main sub­ject. Do you have a vi­sion for your next project?

LY: I think women will still be my main sub­jects, but the scope will be wider, in­clud­ing more ages, lo­ca­tions and na­tions. And I’m work­ing on video art, too; I’d like to in­clude some video works in my next ex­hi­bi­tion. See Luo Yang’s “Girls” dur­ing a spe­cial pop-up ex­hibit through Sep 26 at the Cat Street Gallery (50 Tung St., She­ung Wan), or at the Asia Con­tem­po­rary Art Show this week­end (Con­rad Ho­tel, 88 Queensway, Ad­mi­ralty).

One of the fastest-ris­ing pho­tog­ra­phers to come out of China, Luo Yang has trav­eled the world ex­hibit­ing her im­ages of young Chi­nese women in a photo-se­ries she calls, sim­ply, “Girls.” She talks to Jes­sica Wei about her in­spi­ra­tions and be­ing sin­gled out by Ai Wei­wei.

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