Institute: How did your career in photography begin?
Runxi: I first thought that I would become a fashion designer, but when I began studying visual arts, I
found that I excelled there even more. These skills allow me to bring my creative visions to life. I worked for Vogue China before. During that time, I assisted some very big name photographers like Mario Testino etc. I got inspired a lot to be a visual artist. Now I am working as a photographer based in New York.
Institute: Who did you aspire to growing up?
Runxi: Nick Night and Tim Walker. ELLE was my very first fashion reading material because it was the only fashion magazine that I could get in China at that time. I will never forget the strong feeling that Dior’s campaign shot by Nick brought to me when I saw the image in ELLE. Even today I am still fascinated by Nick and Tim’s work. They are artists, not just photographers.
Institute: What are you currently working on?
Runxi: I just finished a fashion film ‘Visionary’ for VISIONAIRE Magazine celebrating their 25th Anniversary. I also have many collaboration works with some fashion brands and young designers. I am not just shooting still photos, I am also a fashion film director. I think that moving image is absolutely the trend of fashion and modern media.
Institute: Do you have an all time favorite image?
Runxi: While I don’t have an all-time favorite, I like Richard Avedon and Irving Penn’s work, and I also like modern photographers like David Sims. It’s really hard to choose a favorite image because my feeling towards them changes over time.
Institute: What is your creative process?
Runxi: I like to create my own view on paper before my using the lens. I take a sketch book with me all the time, I draw everything I like on it and I use these images to create a scene.
Institute: What has been your proudest moment to date?
Runxi: To be a photographer who can work for the Met Gala. Since the theme of Met Gala 2015 was about China, a lot of Chinese celebrities were invited to present. I was honored to be a part of Vogue’s team to shoot the Chinese celebrities, and my works were published by Vogue for the first time.
Institute: What career path would you of taken if not photography?
Runxi: Fashion design was my dream career in childhood and also the inspiration for my photography career. I am still sketching fashion designs. I like to build up my life around fashion and visual art, and working with different talented people in a free way is ideal to me.
Institute: What do you think of taking photos with your phone?
Runxi: I never shot photos with my phone without thinking. I think that it is some sort of responsibility to present good work as a professional photographer. This is also my way to respect my job. I know some people enjoy taking pictures with their phones randomly, but that is really not my style. I posted my iPhone photos on my Instagram for a while, but as my work increased, I stop doing that.
Institute: What does 2016 hold for you?
Runxi: I have a lot of new goals for this year and expect to be traveling internationally for fashion campaigns.
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