Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue, We welcome Yang Han, a visual artist, fashion photographer and creative director, who is currently studying arts in London. With the experiences of growing up in an atmosphere of developing film in a dark room, and the influences of her parents, for her, becoming a photographer may not be a choice, but rather a destiny. Literary criticism, films, books and scenes of everyday life are the sources she draws inspiration from. The surprising thing is that here, for the first time, she shares with us one of her most impressive artworks. It was this project that made her realize the importance of having the right and opportunity to make her voice heard as an art creator.
Who is Yang Han?
Yang Han is a visual artist, fashion photographer and creative director. Yang graduated with
distinction from MA Fashion Photography at London college of Fashion, University of the Arts
Currently she is studying for a PhD in arts and humanities faculty at King’s College London.
Combined with abstract and surreal elements, her work has strong visual appeal, rich and
delicate emotions. She grasps at emotion and psychology in her work, embodying the inner
world of the characters she depicts through unique fashion visual language.
She has won SONY young photographer award, Nikon award, Qaidam Cup award and United
Kingdom’s Top 10 Fashion Photographers 2019 award in One Eyeland Photo contest.
Nana: Why did you be interested in photography and visual arts initially, and choose them to be your career?
Yang Han: It seems to be a rather magical and fated coincidence that I am interested in photography and the visual arts. For me, photography is not a choice, but an arrangement of the fate. Since both my parents were photographers when I was born, I grew up in an atmosphere of developing film in a dark room. But, unfortunately, my father died very young. I took up this profession because I could find all my passion and love for my life in the career and on the other hand it is also a continuation of my father’s dream.
Nana: What processing steps do you usually go through when creating a work or taking a new project?
Yang Han: I don’t have a fixed path before creating a new project. Because of little moments in my life, I
also have the desire to create something.
More recently, I have been reading the literature on theory. In reading the literature, a lot of ideas will come to me. I will write down these ideas and implement them when I have time. In the process of implementation, I need to find different collaborators.
At times, this process is very long. Because the people you work with, need to respect your ideas and creativity, but also need to maximize their strengths. Finally, all the creation, from pre to post, needs to be controlled by yourself. Because that’s what really represents you. A fashion art project is not only about the creative concept, but also relies on the execution and control of the whole project.
Nana: Could you tell us about some most memorable projects you have done in the past?
Yang Han: It seems that every project I’ve experienced has had some memorable point, but every project has had regrets. It always feels like the next one could be done better than the one before.
In comparison, one very memorable project that has never been published is a documentary project I made in 2017 about Lesbian community in China called “Sugar”, which is the name of a bar. At that time, because of this project, I was in Lesbian bars for several months, recording and interviewing; I almost ran through all Lesbian bars in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two cities in China.
That was the first time I came into contact with the lesbian community in China, and I was very impressed. It also made me realize that as an art creator, it is very important to have the right and opportunity to have a voice. The following works are all from that project. This is also the first time I share it out.
Nana: In your recent works, we can see some Chinese, and Asian culture elements, as well as amazing use of the light and shadow, is there any messages you want to convey by them?
Yang Han: Yes. In my previous work, you probably saw more white models. Because I grew up in the stage when the Chinese fashion industry was most influenced by the colonial culture. Although the
whole Asian fashion industry has been developing very fast these years.
However, the state of colonial culture has not improved much in fashion industry. I have been studying in London for the past few years and my field of study is mainly about fashion, technology and gender, which also involves race, colonial culture and so on.
Reading is a subtle way for me to think. At the moment I create my work, I should think about the position of creation. But most of the time, I am unconscious in terms of actual creation, I don’t limit myself to a certain culture, elements, etc.
Maybe I am still following my own interest, hobby and heart in creation. When a person is in a purely creative environment, she may create something that is closer to her own upbringing, culture and inner being. This should be a subconscious connection.
Nana: How do you get your inspiration for your work. Has any culture or other styles influenced you in the creation of your work?
Yang Han: I like to watch some literary reviews and movies. More often, I will draw inspiration from life for my shoots. For example, meeting a special scenery on the side of the road, flowers, shops, spaces, decorations and so on.
Nana: Nowadays, there are many arts e-commerce and various self-media platforms, Is there any unique way of promotion for you?
Yang Han: I don’t think I’m good at self-promotion. In fact, I haven’t done any promotion other than publishing some works on Instagram, or due to some projects that need to be published to online magazines because of the needs of collaborators. I think that creating great work is the best way to promote myself. So, I keep creating all the time. It’s just that I have been focused on academics for these years and the progress of creation has been very slow.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking a position in the art and fashion industry?
Yang Han: Find a way that you are good at, put in all your passion and love, listen to your inner voice. Persevere and put in the effort, I believe we will all gain something.
Find a way that you are good at, put in all your passion and love, listen to your inner voice.