Here at Japan Cinema we love photography, however it pains our hearts that we don’t feature as many photographers in the Creative Spotlight as we would like. Luckily this week, we were able to catch up with Li Hui! Li Hui is a self-taught photographer who presents her work consists of photographs reflecting a very successful world sweet and sensitive. With images captured with film cameras, the artist seeks to preserve the memory of simple moments. Read below for the full Q&A…
Can you start off by telling us more about your personal background and how you got into photography?
Li: I’m a self-taught photographer and got into photography seriously in 2009. Now photography has become a way of recording my life.
Your photos have a very calm, desaturated tone to them. Why do you gravitate towards this particular style?
Li: In fact, I didn’t expect this particular tone to become my signature style. The results simply come from the fact that I use a negative scanner. After some time I just naturally accepted this feeling of nostalgia and calmness that this process evokes. But I am still interested in trying out new film scanners to achieve a variety of different results. I don’t think this will affect my personal style, though.
The same can be said for the ambiguity of the human faces as well as they seem to either be hidden or shadowed. Is there a sense of vulnerability in your work as well?
Li: I used to be a very sensitive and shy person. Photography has become a way for me to explore the world through the camera and become more open. But my own shyness is still a predominant factor in my work.
Aesthetics aside, what ideas do you have in mind and how were you able to construct these ideas?
Li: Sometimes the moment just feels right, or there’s something interesting I see, and I just press the shutter without even thinking about it. When it comes to double exposure, however, I always arrange the composition in my mind first, as I want it to turn out a certain way.
When it comes to your creative process, If the original image doesn’t spark a reaction or trigger something in your imagination when you first open the file on screen, is it still worth spending time on it?
Li: Yes. Of course, I’d be somewhat disappointed, but I’d analyze the image in order to learn from the experience and improve my shots in the future. Most of the time I just experiment with the film I use, so each photo shoot is essentially a trial & error process. But I’ve learned so much over the years.
Give us a few of your favorite Asian films!
Li: The Goddess of 1967 by Clara Law, Tokyo Sonata by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, I Just Didn’t Do It by Masayuki Suo, Be with Me by Eric Khoo.
How has your work evolved in the past four years and how do you see the next four years progressing?
Li: I’m not good at planning ahead. I just follow my heart. I’d like to travel more and work on more projects I’m interested in.
You stated that your work tries to remind us of our common feelings. How would your work affect someone if they are unable to transport themselves in your work?
Li: Hopefully they can find other things in my work that speak to them. But I can’t control how other people feel about what I do.
So, ultimately, the goal of your work is to transport people to a familiar time and place?
Li: No, this isn’t really my goal. Different people can have entirely different views on my work, and a picture can evoke different feelings in each person. My goal is to capture things that I find worthwhile and interesting on film, nothing more. If other people actually like what I do, then that’s just an added bonus.
Lastly, can you offer up any advice for any budding photographer out there in creative land?!
Li: Forget the rules, take more pictures!
Want to see more of Li’s photography? Visit the official site below: