It says it all when you have a mission statement of: “Light the passion, empower the possibilities.” Shuhui Yang has nearly a decade under her belt in professional photographic experience, design and business, and she has shown her “creative mystique” in the Museum of Photographic Arts and Zink Fashion Magazine.
Yang studied art and graphic design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She attributes much of her art design background as inspiration to her approaches and the motivation that grew her career from hobbyist to professional.
Good Morning! So let’s get started with an easy question. How would you describe your photographic style in 4 words or less?
“Brave, sophisticated, compelling and philosophical.”
Philosophical; naturally, artists have a philosophy about their work. Photography is about self-reflection, and reflection of the photo on other photographic discourses. This is an ideal that is about the theory behind one’s work, of which Yang finds to be complex, and naturally, a learning experience.
Are you self-taught? What photo techniques were you able to teach yourself?
“Studio lighting. At the beginning, when I first started learning photography, I would do a lot of self-portrait studio lighting. It allows you to do it anytime, when that time is available, and reduces the scheduling conflict that you often have working with others. While it was hard taking a picture, lighting the set and being the model at the same time, it helped me to learn to pay attention to detail such as light fall. It is a great way to learn about lighting, directing the model, and building lighting foundation. I learned more from my failures than from my successes.”
Self-portraits are a great way to learn the basics. Other than what you have learned from yourself and colleagues, what other photographers have influenced your work?
“Henri Cartier-Bresson and Annie Leibovitz are the most inspirational to my work.”
They are both icons. We know you spent your college years in California and now you reside in New York. Where’s one place you’ve always wanted to go, and why?
“Greece. I like the color, architecture and natural scenery. There’s something about white architecture and the blue ocean; I find it really attractive and sexy.”
We agree. It’s a beautiful place. There’s something about Greece that is instantly alluring. Do you have any regrets from your journey to this point in your career?
“I took many photos for other people and their projects, but did not take enough photos for my family when I was home in Taiwan. Next time I’m home, I plan on shooting full-fashion portraits in single shot and group shot of my family, although they are camera shy.”
What inspires you?
“My inspiration comes from life and the people that I meet. Photography also helps me discover and learn about life. A wise man, Leo burnett once said; “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think is still the secret of great creative people.”
Now, here’s a question that we always wonder: what makes a good photograph?
“A good photo will touch people’s eyes, heart and mind.”
What were you thinking about when you decided to create these images, and how did you come up with the theme?
On Mute project inspiration (top):
“I usually like my photos to have underlying positive and encouraging messages, but I sometimes feel that people go for the surface, plastic image and don’t care to think deeper. At the time of this shot, I felt that my personal voice wasn’t being heard. This was my representation of that feeling of frustration.”
The Sheep project inspiration (bottom):
“In my early photographic career the model would cancel at last minute, and I said to myself: don’t let what you can’t do stop from doing what you can do. If I only had one model, i thought of what concepts would fit and how could I maximize the uniqueness of a single-model shot. I happened to see my neighbor throw out a mirror in the trash recycle area. Then the “sheep” concept hit me, which was to use a mirror as a metaphor. The project’s statement is to try to encourage people: don’t follow what other people are doing. Be who you are, believe in yourself. You are unique enough to stand out on your own. Everyone has their unique something. Find your own style and essence.”
Learning from the Pro
What are we going to shoot today?
” It’s a fashion shoot. The project is called: ‘The Lightness.’ It was inspired by my sister, who is like a positive energy light-ball. The shoot was coordinated with Q Management model Britt Bolton, and Muse NYC model Sofie Roelens.”
How did you learn how to do what you are about to show us?
“From doing self-portrait studio lighting; I learned by playing around and having fun.”
What tools are you using to make this image?
“This is a motion shot; the motion happens really fast. You have to be really quick. Timing is key.
1 Broncolor Scoro power pack. It’s one of the fastest light recycle speed power pack on the market right now.
2 Pulso G lamp: One main front light with broncolor’s P70 Reflector, one backlight.
Shutter speed 1/160 second
Aperture : 22F
Why did you choose these tools?
“They are the best tools on the market. I chose the broncolor Scoro power pack and Pluso G lamp because its fast light speed, and its fast light recycle speeds. If I used another brand, wouldn’t be able to catch the action smoothly. The digital screen also makes it so much easier to use.”
Why did you choose broncolor over other brands?
“My first set of lights were Alienbees. They are good for studio portrait shots, but not very good for the fast speed motion shots. Now that I have the broncolor Scroro power pack and Pluso G lamp, I can shoot portrait in still and in motion. Broncolor products are very adjustable, user friendly and produce great light with super fast recycle speeds and solid flash durations.”