Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Kiki Xue | Ethno-Fashion

Photo © Kiki Xue - All Rights Reserved
I've written up a number of posts about the fusion of fashion and travel photography, and this is certainly not the last. It is no surprise that I am frequently influenced by fashion photographers' aesthetic, by how they set up their shoots, and by the postures and poses adopted by the models, the color schemes and the lighting. It would be an exaggeration to say that this kind of photography inspires me, but it certainly leaves a visual and and subconscious residue which I reach for when I'm photographing in the various countries I travel to.

Having spent all of 2015 and almost half of 2016 photographing hầu đồng ceremonies in Vietnam to produce my forthcoming photo book: Hầu Đồng: The Spirit Mediums of Việt Nam, I've realized that much of my resulting images were instinctively influenced by fashion photography, especially those that had an Asian theme to them.

One of these influences is certainly Kiki Xue; a Chinese photographer who is currently base in Paris. Inspired by Irving Penn, Xue uses a digital Hasselblad, and creates an artistic atmosphere in his photography.

With one exception, I failed in convincing any hầu đồng practitioner to pose for me as in a fashion shoot. The exotic costumes they wear during the ceremonies are religious, and wearing them outside of temples during ceremonies is considered a sacrilege. Nevertheless, the mediums offered me ample opportunities to photograph them during their ceremonial incarnations. 

Photo © Kiki Xue - All Rights Reserved