With their Fashion N ® 1 Gallery show approaching AF’s Liz Brand put local photographers Lynol Lui and Alex Waber in front of the camera while answering a few questions.
A Photography Show exhibiting the works of two locally and Internationally Published Photographers, Alex Waber and Lynol Lui. Both photographers will be showing unpublished works, presenting current concepts and explorations into Fashion Photography.
Doors will open @ 7 pm at the Remington Gallery and Studio on Friday the 28th of February, located @ 108 East Hastings.
So here is Lynol and Alex 101:
How old are you?
When did you first pick up a camera and what prompted you to do so?
L: “ I was late in actually using the camera artistically, or in a way more so as a tool besides seeing my dad taking pictures at family events, or myself doing the same. i actually started off remembering picking up the pencil more so and drawing, drawing from comics, drawing from books, movies, anime’s etc.. i have loads of sketches at home. But realistically I never actually took an art class till i was in my first year at university, and even then i wasn’t set on finishing with a BFA or anything. I had done drafting throughout high school and was planning on becoming an industrial designer, kinda following with my sister (she’s an interior designer). But it wasn’t till I met my drawing prof in my foundation class where she gave me the courage to actually pursue a career in the fine arts. Then two years into my program that’s when I took an introductory course in photography and decided that photography was sorta my choice in where I wanted to pursue, I didn’t know it at first, but i think eventually i was evolving both of these two fields into something of one, eventually, it wasn’t too long into my introductory course that I went to visit my sister, who was now based in Hong Kong. Her partner at the time, her and I went to shanghai and he let me do a shoot for a mag, now that would probably be the fondest memory i have, to say that was my moment where i can remember I was gonna do this for a career. Which kinda dives into your second question.“
A: “Very young, my dad was a photographer so he made cameras available when I was still pretty tiny. Took a lot of out of focus pictures of my dog and my toys and far away airplanes.“
When did you decide that fashion was the direction you wanted to go in?
L: “ I wanted to go into fashion specifically cause I was always interested with clothing, textile and tailoring, even when I was little. Having an older sister as your mentor sure helped and having one that loves clothes helps again. I remember seeing photos of supermodel tear sheets taped to her closet or collaged on the floor, images from vogue to seventeen. I have always been into fashion, always wanting the clothes that no one else would have, and at times, it could be said, I had expensive taste. But to me its also how the garment or the article can make you feel, the confidence it builds, the persona it can bring on, its amazing what a colour, a texture or even a fit can mentally do to you. What image is projected one day to the other simply by how you possess yourself to be. I’m quite interested in that, quite interested in how one projects themselves and how they’re perceived as well.“
A: “When I was 21 or so. I came out of working as a cinematographer and still wanted a pursuit of similar narrative and creative quality and fashion photography seemed to fit the bill.“
What do you think is the most challenging aspect about being a photographer?
L: “lol, hmmm… I don’t really know if i can even answer this, cause I think there’s a lot of challenging aspects about being a photographer, and then there’s ok answers for the moment and then its like another challenge slightly tweaked comes along and that answer doesn’t really work anymore?? If that makes any sense?? I think challenges are always going to be a part of a photographers life, regardless of how good and well known you are.“
A: “ Marketing.“
Are there reoccurring themes that can be found within your photographs?
L: “I definitely think so, I’ve been told I have specific style, I still haven’t quite pinpointed it myself, and when I ask people how they would describe it, I’m met with a lot of err and ekk and fashion, and…. lol. I know there’s been some sort of style that has evolved through my practice, just not sure how to really describe it. but I go though phases, like basically 5 months ago you probably wouldn’t of seen anything colour come out of me, I was afraid of colour to be honest cause I felt like I couldn’t control it or know how to control it. It scared the shit out of me. So all I did was b&w’s but I changed it up, i did them how I wanted to see b&w’s.“
A: “More and more themes are cropping up, especially as my fine art pursuits meet my fashion and even portrait work. I’m fascinated by our relationship with beauty, how we see ourselves and others as well as how media shapes those views. Beauty as propaganda, as a destructive force, as a creative force. Possibly stemming from that is a disillusionment or… Destructive force, a rebellion against conventional beauty.“
Do you have a day job? What’s it like to handle working and trying to find time to test for your book?
L: “I do. I work full time in a cafe, and basically i work full time as a photographer. I can’t speak on Alex’s side, cause I’m not positive how long his post production takes, but i spend hours on mine, its just, for me another part of the job, and a tool I use to its advantage. But I’m not one to do composites and such, I’m just hugely detailed, anal, precise about my editing. So usually when I’m not at the cafe I’m at home either shooting, or editing. Which means late nights most of the time. but the cafe jobs nice, and I’m happy I have it cause it gives me a break from this world as well, lets my mind relax and not overthink. and when its time I come back to my images, my eyes see things more clearly.“
A: “ I do photography full time, and run the studio. I suppose the day to day is marketing, headshots, portraits and the occasional look book as well as dealing with rentals and helping organize events. I’m fortunate in that it’s all creative and feeds my skill set and imagination. I definitely get antsy if I don’t do something really creative for myself on a regular basis so I try to book things fairly regularly, even if it’s just messing around with friends. A lot of it never sees the light of day, but it’s important and occasionally there’s a gem.“
What photographer (s) inspire you the most? And what about their work moves you?
L: “I have a few, Dimitris Theocharis is the main photographer i assisted when I was living in London, and forever till I die I will hold him to my heart. he showed me everything i know today, and even had to mentally kick my ass from time to time to get me back on track. Not only was he my mentor but he became a really, really great friend, and i will forever love him. Richard Avedon is a photographer I always admire. Nick Knight, Solve Sundsbo, Mert & Marcus, Steven Klein and I’ll probably get hated on for this but I don’t care Terry Richardson.“
A: “It used to be Helmut Newton, his approach to a more subversive fashion editorial and his dance with controversy, but as I am beginning to understand the meaning held within the medium itself I am drawn more to Sally Mann, Sarah Moon, Roy Arden. I also have always loved Dian Arbus for her incredibly telling portraits, and Avedon and Ritts for their beautiful aesthetics.“
Describe your upcoming exhibit, Fashion No. 1. And what inspired this collaboration.
L: “ Fashion No. 1…. Well its a collaboration between Alex and I. Basically Alex hit me up and said I wanna do a show, wanna be a part of it. This year I told myself that I was finally gonna do some prints so why not start it off by doing prints for the public to see! lol“
A: “I really wanted to do an exhibit to showcase the more refined artistic side of fashion photography. Too many magazine spreads all look the same, and even the work I’m asked to do for tests and look books are more safe and one track than I’d like. This is an opportunity to show how broad the genre of fashion photography can be.
Lynol was my first choice to work with, I’m always excited when I see his new work because he’s trying new things, pushing boundaries and exploring the space afforded to him. Also from having worked with him and talked extensively I felt we’d be a good fit as we’re of a similar frame of mind about the art of photography, but differ in our approach. It was a pleasant surprise to see how similar our concepts were; yet how different they ended up being.
The initial idea dealt with identity. A few of my current projects do. The working title for the collection in all my notes is “Fashion Portraits”. It’s exploring the way we relate to people on a human level, and at the same time how we relate to people through the fashions we wear. All the other madness I mentioned earlier leaks in after that.“
What are your plans for the future?
L: “Keep doing what I’m doing I assume, it’d be sad to stop, I do this cause I love it, to me I don’t count the hours spent or the late nights I’m up, I just do it, its natural for me and I’m simply driven by it to do so. I guess its just to spread my work further and get more attention for it. like I said earlier I do plan to do more printing this year besides the editorials hopefully I can do more shows and not just this one, but if this one show is it I’m pretty cool with that too lol. I wanna work on my relationship with the whole west coast, so going more into U.S.A. and reaching out to brands out there. and yeah just meeting and collaborating and producing more images as I go on.“
My Final Question is: Are you SURE about Fashion Photography as a Career?
L: “It’s working pretty good for me right now, but I do pursuit other things, photography has been my main for a bit now, the thought of doing some designs for clothing has come up and I’ve actually had some interest. I’ve been told to get into designing clothes by others, but it’s always been questionable. Last year became more so of a consideration than ever so… who knows. It would be an interesting area to touch on. As of right now, photography is pretty set in my mind.“
Shot by Liz Brand