With an unconventional style, a positive mindset, and great music taste, Chungyu Li is an inspiring artist, whose creativity emerges from the simplest things in life.
At first, it was his unorthodox style that caught our attention, but then we couldn’t stop noticing Chungyu is based in Beijing, the capital of the country where the Covid-19 pandemic started.
Interested in knowing more about his bold approach to photography and the current situation in his home country, we talked with the artist about his work, creative process, and his feelings towards this worldwide issue.
Could you start by briefly describing yourself? Who is Chungyu Li?
My name is Chungyu Li and I’m a 28-year-old fashion photographer and art director now based in Beijing, China.
What led you to photography?
Actually, I majored in Computer Science in college but the common job after graduation made me feel bored and unhappy. It was not what I was chasing for. I always yearned for freedom and didn’t want to deal with unimaginative things for the rest of my life.
So I looked for a change and started my new career in photography in the year 2015.
You have a very unconventional style, many times making use of smart compositions and element repetition. What is it that inspires you?
I’m not a conventional photographer. What I shoot is based entirely on the subject. All around the theme of creation. It may seem sort of abstract, but I don’t think it’s hard to understand. Everything I do is trying to touch one’s heart.
I honestly hoped you could see the way I think — everything in life has the potential to inspire you, it only takes an observation.
How would you describe your creative process?
I prefer to be an observer of the things around me — that’s where most of my inspiration comes from.
At the same time, I need a lot of study. Good creation comes from time, not from luck. When you have enough preparation, you will inadvertently combine both.
How important is the choice of your models? What are your key pieces of advice when it comes to selecting your subjects?
I like a person with an interesting soul. Whether he/she is a professional model or not. Sometimes I choose a model from a modelling agency and do the shoot together. Sometimes, though, I ask my friends to recommend the right person. It all depends on the subject.
I think that, most of all, you have to have clear thinking, not blindly follow. If you know exactly what you’re shooting, then it will always be a great piece of work.
You are based in Beijing. How is it to live in China in such troubled times?
First of all, thanks for your concern. My country makes me very proud. China has a clear way to deal with the epidemic and is very efficient.
At this time, I seldom go out. I’m mainly at home and trying to improve my cooking. Sometimes, I do some preparatory work, such as writing plans and the like.
But people are very confident in a good final outcome. I have faith that the epidemic will be over soon.
Are there any direct impacts on your life and work?
I have been resting at home and most of the work has been delayed. But I’m not too worried.
How have you been coping with the situation?
Now I’ve been mainly communicating and dealing with the issues through WeChat, which is very convenient.
The work schedule is on hold, but I still need to finish some projects. Overall, not much is going on.
What are your plans for the future?
More locations are planned for this year. I’m hoping to be inspired with new countries and cultures. The Internet is good but sometimes really limited, and I believe we have to experience things in the real world. A new environment should bring some inspiration.
What song are you currently playing on repeat?
Somethin’ bout your love by Exmag.
Chungyu Li is a Beijing-based professional Photographer and Art Director. To see more of his work, check out his Cherrydeck profile or his Instagram, here. To read more about being a photographer in China, have a look at our interview with Alina Kasimova. 🍒