Photographer Shaoqi Hu's visual language paints a romantic yet haunting mood in their body of work. Through the amalgamation of colors, multiple exposure technique, film grain, and skilled use of film blur, they recontextualize surrealist photography in the contemporary setting. Get to know the artist and their creative vision through our exclusive interview.
Hello Shaoqi! First off – what's it like to be a film photographer lately in the digitally-driven world?
For me, Being a film photographer is touching base with photography. only when you are shooting through film, and developing and scanning, all of this process is very important. it allows me to get intimate with my work.
Do you remember the first time you held and used a film camera? May you share to us that moment and how did you get into film?
The first time I used a film camera was completely accidental. I was in an existential crisis and had no idea which direction in my life I was gonna take, and one day out of blue, I saw an old camera shop so I went in. and it all started from there. I think from that day I found a way to express my inner self.
We love how your photographs – many being shots of daily, mundane scenes from life – are complemented with the quality of being ephemeral and surreal. Can you tell us more about your photographic style?
Most of the time I am just playing with the camera or the films. I took loads of pics and out of hundreds maybe ill find one I like, that was the start of my photography practice. and later on, as I can use manual cameras more confidently, I was more able to create something that I might deeply connect with. i don't take photos according to one particular style. perhaps I steal from many different things I like and try to express them through my photos. one thing for sure I was a big fan of the surrealist period in the early 20th century, artists like Man Ray, Paul Eluard, Dali, Frida Kahlo, etc. all have been an inspiration for me.
What elements do you usually look for when taking a photo?
I like portraits and bodies. Usually, when I am taking a portrait, I wanna capture something from the object that can make the audience pause a second when they are viewing. and of course, I like saturated lighting and texture.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I mainly get inspiration from my own emotions that I can't put down in words. I studied English Literature and was trying to write. However, I found it's easier for me to express myself through images sometimes than through words. I also dream a lot, all kinds of dreams. That also influences the way I want to present my work.
If you could work or collaborate with any photographer, artist, or person, dead, alive or fictional, who would it be?
perhaps Charles Bukowsky, just to have a fun conversation about the misery of life
What's artistically challenging you right now that you want to overcome?
I have been in another crisis this year if I am honest with you. trying to balance between daily life and my artistic pursuit. I am currently living in China, where doing art as a career is as ridiculous as it does for people. But I will soon be moving back to London where I also get most of my inspiration. I am struggling to create more, not just similar photos all the time, but to always learn and add something more to my work. sometimes I pressure myself too much perhaps.
What does an ordinary day look like for Shaoqi Hu?
My ordinary day is normal. wake up, exercise, eat, play with my cat, do some work if there's any. and try to create.
Finally, what are you up to these days as a photographer?
As a photographer, I am trying more in expressing my inner self through more abstract practice. and just adding more elements in my photography. I can not stand the fact I am just creating the same image all the time.
For more of her works, visit her Instagram.