Jackie Zhang With One Click
By Jim Yuan Zhou
It all just takes one click. It could be a creation of happiness, sadness, memories, or the simple truth. Photographers, able to capture beauty, whether in the present or the past, are some of the most stunning artists we can ever imagine.
As one of the most talented photographers in New York City today – Jackie Zhang, is a China-born, New York-based photographer. We are very excited to share some exclusive stories about Mr. Zhang’s passion for photography, his life story, and his ambition for his work!
AF: Can you tell me about yourself?
JZ: My name is Jackie Zhang, I am from China and came here to New York two years ago. I am a photographer focusing on art and fashion.
AF: How did you get started in photography?
JZ: I guess I started taking pictures for fun when my mom brought me a camera back from a business trip to Japan. It’s a digital camera and I started to shoot like crazy.
The next thing I knew, was that I became addicted to some masters’ works and I couldn’t help but create photography works of my own. I spent my college years majoring in engineering; however, on my own time; I worked with young designers from the art school across the street to shoot their works. After college, I made a decision to work on something that I connected with passionately. I went to the School of Visual Arts for a Master’s degree in fashion photography. Technically speaking, that’s when I started as a professional photographer.
AF: What was your career path?
JZ: I have degree in Mechatronic Engineering. I liked to take portraits of my friends around me, and I photographed many of my friends in art school. I went to grad school for photography where I started to work with agencies in New York to do tests. After that, I interned on some photo sets and started to work with some magazines and other clients.
AF: Who are some of your favorite photographers?
JZ: Peter Lindbergh, Tim Walker, Guy Bourdin and Eugenio Recuenco
AF: Are there any photographers who influenced you, and how did they influence your photograph?
JZ: When I first started photography, I would say Greg Crewdson had a big impact on me. Although he is not a fashion photographer per se, his dramatic, cinematic and cryptic style found its way to influence my works. Also, some essential elements like the emotions from Peter Lindbergh, the fantasy from Tim Walker and the dark romance from
www.asianfusionmag.com Eugenio Recuenco all provide my professional nutrition.
AF: What is the theme of your work?
JZ: I consider my works to have a narrative, but they’re more stories that have no beginning or ending. My photographs involve fantasy, poetics and romance which form into ornamentally, conceptually layered pieces, grounded in pleasure and aesthetics. I like my pictures to have a visual pleasure, but that pleasure is not enough. Inviting the viewer to move into a space of speculation, I strive to convey an underlying sense of anxiety, isolation, fear and wonder.
AF: Tell me about your studio and your team?
JZ: I work with my crew constantly and depend on different projects; there are different stylists, MUA and hair persons that I work with. My team is usually very mixed; all from different countries.
AF: How does living in New York City shape your work?
JZ: The city shaped my style in a very subconscious way. I didn’t realize it until some art directors told me that my work is very much New York. But on the other hand, I don’t think there is one typical “New York Style”. It’s more about the energy and attitude that’s transferred in the work. The city is constantly my source of inspiration: the talents, buildings, streets, pedestrians, and of course the trends.
AF: Who is your favorite designer and model to work with?
JZ: I’ve worked with a lot talented people, among them, models like Rosie Tupper and Frances Coombe. They impress me a lot.
AF: What are some of the challenges you face?
JZ: There are many challenges. I need to balance the aesthetic needs of clients and myself. Today’s fashion market is tight, creating a good production with a very limited budget from clients is also very challenging.
In general, a foreigner starting up as a photographer isn’t easy, especially in New York, especially in fashion. However, no one here is actually from New York. And everyone has a “coming to America” story almost always more powerful than yours. New York taught me not to fear obstacles, and that template opens a door of many possibilities.
AF: What do you enjoy photographing most and why?
JZ: I liked stories as a kid, and to me, making a story in photography is most enjoyable. I think every artist has their way of speaking; musicians talk through their instruments, dancers talk through their body, writers talk through words. As a visual artist, visualizing a narrative moment is my way of speaking from the inside.
AF: What is your next step, and where do you see yourself in five years?
JZ: Continuing to work with talented people in New York and produce more works.
I am working closely with film teams right now and I want to take aesthetic cues from the world of cinema and collaborate that with my works in both motions and stills.
In five years I want to have myself developed enough to publish a book with a unique aesthetic style that reflects who I am and where I am going. Also, I want to start. to travel around the world to work on different projects.