Zhang Jingna is a rising star in the field of international photography, the first time that i saw one of her projects was because one of the crowdfunding projects launched on the platform. The name of the designer is Phuong My and the pictures of her collection was absolutely stunning, at the point that Vogue Talents decided to feature the collection on Vogue.it.
Having the chance to interview her and share with our readers her words and thoughts is a very great honor, and we’re sure that as soon as you take a look to the fine creations of Zhang Jingna, you will understand why her works are loved by so many people.
Can you recall how and why you became a photographer?
A number of things played a factor each. I first became interested in visual works due to Japanese animation and comics, there was a beautiful fantasy to the images. Then I discovered Japanese visual rock, which focused on very heavy hair, makeup, and costuming, which I found very intriguing, it was the first time I realized photography could be a medium for expression and beauty. And finally when I was in art school, I discovered the Pre-Raphaelites and absolutely fell in love with John William Waterhouse’s works, I wanted to create images like that. I was studying fashion design as my major, so I bought my camera and started photographing my own work trying to create works reminiscent of paintings in style.
Can you tell us about the beginning and what has been your artistic evolution?
I wanted to photograph beauty, this essentially stayed fundamental to the way I shoot and work. Due to circumstances, fashion became what I ended up doing as a career as the jobs came. But after moving to New York two years ago and starting a personal series, I realized that what I really wanted is to still have my own voice and do work driven entirely by my personal feelings as an expression. So after almost ten years, I am back to doing more fine art images.
Photography is like writing with the light, which stories do you want to tell with your projects? – What comes first – the lights or the concept idea?
The concept always comes first. I think of an item or character that acts as a catalyst for a story, then I build upon it to complete the idea. The lighting comes last to set the mood and to bring out the story and its influence.
What part of the process excites you the most when you start a new project?
Conceptualization and the shoot itself. Other things are a bit like grunt work, but coming up with the concept and then trying to create it on set is really where the creativity happens, and it’s a little organic so it’s very beautiful to experience.
From all your projects which is your favorite and why?
It’s a hard choice, but if I have to pick one for now it would be my most recent personal series, “Motherland Chronicles“, since it marked the beginning of a new chapter in my photographic journey.
Which books and blogs do you consider valuable for a fashion photographer?
Is there a fashion photographer that you particularly admire?
What is your advice to those photographers that starts to approach this profession?
Learn everything you can about every aspect of fashion, from designers to history, to photographers to what’s current. Be prepared to work harder than you think you will have to. And don’t give up if there are rejections. Keep doing your best.