Xuebing Du – The Flower Photographer
We discovered the work of Xuebing Du early on our instagram curation, first by her serie about California but we felt in love about her vision of flowers. Saturated colors and working on the image bring the work of Xuebing way beyond the traditional photography such as Karl Blossfeldt or Irving Penn.
More close to art than photography Xuebing brought a new vision of flower. We decided to know more about who is behind this amazing work.
Interview by Adrien & Jules –
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Zhejiang, China. Although I brought up there, it didn’t inspire me as much as Hainan, an island where my family used to work. I would fly there almost every summer to get together with my family. It had a huge impact on me and I always fantasized living there forever.
Could share with us your first creative moments?
Well it’s kind of hard to remember my very first creative moments, but I was always into drawing and calligraphy growing up. I was better at art over other academic subjects. As I grew up, I was involved in lots of painting, drawing, and calligraphy classes. Teachers also gave us a lot of creative freedom and encouraged us to explore our creative sides.
Why did you choose the photographic media to express yourself?
I’m quite into sentimental things and get emotional whenever I see old family photos because it just tells so much story about the memory, the date, the time, the location, the people, the temperature. If I didn’t choose the photographic media, I would absolutely express myself in other mediums like film and music. Photography is something that, in comparison, doesn’t require too much of a team effort, so I think it’s easier to pick up. I think photography is quite a limited medium, as it is two dimensional, and if it’s not about the narrative behind picture, it’s purely about the visual. I think other mediums like film and music are more multi-faceted while photography is purely just a static shape.
Why did you choose to transformed your pictures on software like Photoshop ?
Because there is only so much you can do in the real world, the flower won’t change its color for me, so I have to make the effort to change the photo to how I envision it. I’ve noticed lots of artists use different editing software, but I’ve been using Photoshop so long it’s just become second nature to me.
We notice that your work is not only photo, you use scanner, computer transformations to create images. Your work is more than be behind the camera. Could you explain us your process?
I don’t have a set process. I kind of just experiment with a photo. When I take a photo my work hasn’t started. A picture is just a starting point for me. When I start editing that’s when I actually start establishing and creating my pieces. I let a mood or a moment influence me and take me somewhere. Sometimes I get stuck and I’ll take some time off, then come back to it.
Why did you use other tools to create picture? How did it start?
I started using a scanner because in contrast to a normal photo it is limited to a small window, it is one dimensional, so it creates a really good depth of field, and softly blurs unwanted details. This ends up creating really good still life work. Because of this I experimented a lot with scanners. It really captures the softness and stillness of a flower and sets a romantic mood with the softened details. My goal is to create an image, so whatever medium would work as long as it helps achieve my ideal. I like the idea of viewing a flower from different mediums and perspectives, with a camera my goal is to capture a moment with the highest detail possible.
What about your first success ?
I guess my first success would be licensing my work to HuaWei for phone’s wallpaper. It was a really good opportunity, since my work will be loaded to every single Huawei Mate 20 phone. I’m hopeful there will be more collaborations in the future.
Flowers are really present in your work, Is it your favorite subject? Why?
Flowers might be my favorite subject for now, as this is a time when I see women as flowers, and I’m trying my best to articulate the idea of being beautiful, vulnerable, soft and gentle, and nothing can represent this better than a flower. I’m trying to capture each flower’s character, as I’m trying to translate its meaning, its ultimate beauty and its short-lived nature.
Do you work for commercials, fashion, magazine, commissioned works?
No I don’t currently but I’m open to anything as long as it matches my interests, and both the client and me find it worthwhile.
Which artists inspired you?
I’m inspired by artists’ spirits more than anything else; the persistence of continuing to create work, the determination of expressing themselves to the fullest, doing whatever to achieve the art they want to make. So whenever I feel uninspired, I look up to them, and they always inspire me to find my own subjects to work on.
How do you find your subject?
I have a lot of subjects I’m interested in studying. Right now, I’m continuing to explore nature, color and texture through all kind of subjects, and I am most interested in gardens, tropical themes, or extreme places like desserts. I’m also interested in capturing the climate of a location, the heat, the humidity, the coldness, and the wetness. I want these characteristics to come out in my photography, and lead viewers to another world.
How social media help you as a photographer?
I do think it helps to get my work out there, and helps people to see my work online. With the internet people from all over the world get to see creative works. You just publish your work online, and it’s really up to the audience to decide whether they like it or not.
Do you have something to tell us more about Xuebing Du’s photography?
My photos are about love and fantasy. Photography gives me an escape from reality where I can create my own world. I’m really thankful for all my supporters, it’s been great to be able to share my world with all of you.
Courtesy of the artist – 2018