LUO YANG: An Exploration of the New Chinese Woman

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

Interview by Julian Lucas | Kathleen Graulty 2016

Breaking down stereotypes with provocative imagery, Chinese photographer Luo Yang records powerful images of GIRLS, a photographic series of Chinese women. In these images, Luo challenges the perceptions of how the Chinese woman is portrayed. GIRLS re-defines this by investigating sexuality, body image, and liberation.

Later on, when I photographed the girls and more and more people saw and liked these pictures, I realized that these girls brought comfort and encouragement to them. I realized the power of the “girls". 

 

What subjects appealed to you when you began photography?
当你最初开始摄影时是什么吸引了你? 

Lou Yang:
从小我就很喜欢影像和电影,常常为周围发生的事感动。我还记得有一部电影的画面是我印象非常深刻的:一个空旷大厅里,一排排空的长凳上,一个女人独自坐在那里静默地抽搐着哭泣着...我整个人被这画面震撼了!那部电影我已经不记得了,但那个画面却深深地烙进了我的心里。我能感到一种渴望在我身体里滋长,我要去纪录那些感动的瞬间,为了那些女孩,为了像我自己像我的朋友像我的同学一样的那些女孩...我们的敏感、脆弱、困感都需要被纪录下来,这些是我们生命的一部分,是我们的青春,这些都真实地存在过!那一天,我向同学借了一部相机,从拿起它的那一刻起就再也没有放下过!

I was very much into images and movies from an early age. I was often very touched by the things happening around me. I still remember a scene from a movie, in which a woman was sitting alone on one of those rows of empty benches in a big hall, crying. Her crying was so silent ... I was shocked! I don't even remember the movie, but that scene somehow stuck deeply in my mind. I could feel that there was a desire growing inside of me, that I needed to record those touching moments, especially for girls, girls like me, like my friends or my classmates. I needed to catch those sensitive, fragile and confusing emotions. They were part of our life, our youth, they truly existed. One day, I borrowed a camera from my classmate. That was the start and it has never ended since.

 

 Do you feel a sense of responsibility to present the new generation of Chinese women and challenge the stereotypes through your images?
你是否感到自己有一种责任感,要将中国新一代女性展现出来,挑战陈旧的观念和思想?

Luo Yang:
刚开始拍摄时候并没有想那么多,更多是我要表达自己情绪和困惑,慢慢开始拍摄身边的女孩,当更多的人看到并且喜欢这些照片时,我意识到这些女孩们的给予观者安慰和鼓励,我意识到“女孩们”的力量,并且希望更多的展示出女孩的真实的生活和内心的想法,现在可以说是有种责任感吧。

At the very beginning when I started photographing, I didn’t think that much; it was more about channeling and expressing my own emotions and confusions.  Later on, when I photographed the girls and more and more people saw and liked these pictures, I realized that these girls brought comfort and encouragement to them. I realized the power of the “girls”.   I hoped the images could show more about the real lives of the girls and their true thoughts inside.  Now, yes, I feel the sense of responsibility.

 

When viewing your photos there is a feeling of liberation, yet the girls present a sense of confidence and boldness. What are your feelings during or after photographing them?
看着你的照片有一种解放的感觉,然而女孩展现出一种自信和勇敢的感觉。在拍她们的过程中和拍完后你有什么感觉?

Luo Yang:
每一次拍摄对于我和模特都是经历一种解脱的过程,兴奋而释放,我们都很享受有这样的一个瞬间,可以完全的自我。
Every shooting is a process of liberation to me and to the models as well, we feel excited and released. We all very much enjoy this moment, a moment of complete ego.

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

Where does your inspiration come from? Is there a driving force that encourages you to go out and photograph?
你的灵感来自哪里?是否有一种驱动力鼓励着你走出去,去摄影?

Luo Yang:
我的灵感应该说就来自于我自己的对这个世界的情绪和困惑,当我在身边的女性朋友生活中看到同样的问题的时候,我意识到我需要把这些情绪和生活拍摄下来。时间很快流逝,我要在这些美好的女孩子没有被这个社会和世界改变前,保留下来这些美好的瞬间。

My inspiration comes from my own feelings in face of this world. When I sense similar emotions in my girl friends, I know I need to photograph them.  Time passes by quickly, I need to save those beautiful moments before the society and the world do any change to these lovely girls.

 

Most of your images are in color, is there a specific reason for this? 
你大多数的照片都是彩色的,是否有什么特殊的原因吗?

Luo Yang:
因为生活就是彩色的,女孩就是彩色的,我为什么拍成黑白的?
The world is colourful and the girls are colourful too, why should I photograph them in monochrome or black and white? 
 

 

How many cameras do you use while taking pictures?
你摄影时用几台相机?

Luo Yang:
我一般用两台胶片相机,一个120中画幅胶片相机,还有个傻瓜相机。
generally use two cameras, a 120 medium format film camera, and an auto focus camera.       

 

Were there any stories the girls told you that you felt was important? Care to share?
女孩们有否告诉你一些故事让你觉得是很重要的?很在意,想分享出来?

Luo Yang:
很多,很多都很感动的细节和故事,所以我接下来想如果能拍摄短片把这些故事保留下来会很有意思,看我接下来的作品吧。

There are lots of stories and details, of course, that’s why I’m thinking of doing a video work which could “record” all these stories…please wait for my next artwork ;)

 

What’s next for Luo Yang?
罗洋的下一步是什么?

Luo Yang:
继续拍摄女性的影像,计划想拍摄关于母亲的专题,我之前更多的是拍摄年轻的女性,但是当我和女孩们聊到她们的母亲包括我自己的母亲,她们的故事都很感动我,在中国80后一代的母亲的经历是我们难以想象的艰辛,却没有人把她们的生活记录下来,如果不去记录下来,母亲一辈的时代很快就会过去,会很遗憾。

I will continue with female images. I am thinking of focusing on the subject of “mothers”. I took a lot of pictures of young girls, but when the girls and I talked about our mothers, their stories were always so touching.  When we were little, in the1980’s, mothers in China went through incredibly hard times, but nobody ever took note of that. The age/time of our mothers will pass in a near future, it would be a pity to not document their lives.

 

What is your favorite photo book?
你最喜欢的影集是哪本?

Luo Yang:
没有最喜欢的吧,很多关于女性艺术家的书和画册我都很喜欢,比如 Sophie Calle,Rineke Dijkstra,Marina Abramović。
It is hard to say which one is my favourite. I like many books, but especially photo books which are by female artists, like Sophie CalleRineke Dijkstra or Marina Abramović.

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

© Luo Yang // Courtesy of www.mo-industries.com  

 

If you happen to be in Hong Kong, Mo-Industries will feature Luo Yang's solo exhibition GIRLS at the Cat Street Gallerywhich will be on display from September 14-26, 2016.