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  • interview | the art of little bird’s feminine snapshot aesthetic

    During a recent interview with Chinese indie ceramicist Baotatang we learned about a Beijing-based photographer named Little Bird (小鸟儿) that we just had to feature on NeochaEDGE.

    Little Bird’s work is brilliant – it exudes a uniquely feminine snapshot aesthetic. Judging from her photos, you would never think they were taken by such an ordinary, simple girl.

    Many photography fans, especially in China, have recently fallen in love with Love Camera, a photography magazine from Japan. Compared to the more commonly seen male-oriented, professional photography magazines, Love Camera‘s target audience is decidedly female and the photos it features are tinged with feminine delicateness.

    In a time when anyone can become an instant internet celebrity, “ordinary people” are inspiring other ordinary people with their amazing photography.

    We caught up with Little Bird to learn a little more about her, her photography, and her “it’s everywhere but difficult to explain” creative inspiration.

    For more from Little Bird on NeochaEDGE, link here.

    For more Chinese photography on NeochaEDGE, link here. /// cy

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    Baotatang said you were someone who could “photograph a plate of grapes and make it look like an ink and wash painting.”

    I’m not sure which photo she is referring to, but it’s probably this one (just below).

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    Sometimes people’s vision and memory can play tricks on them. There isn’t any special story about this photo. I just placed a plate on the carpet, and when I finished eating the grapes I thought it looked nice, so I shot it.

    To me, it doesn’t look like an ink and wash painting, rather more like a decorative plate hung on the wall.

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    What are you trying to capture with your photos? What do you want to express?

    I’m not sure. Sometimes when I look at my photographs I’m pretty discouraged. I’m not sure what I want to express or how other people will feel when they see my work.

    I used to shoot a lot of still objects. I sometimes pay too much attention to details. Maybe that’s because I’m short-sighted. Sometimes I’m obsessed with looking for details in my shots. Maybe it’s because I’m boring.

    Sometimes I’m attracted to some color combination I randomly see, so I just snap a shot. I think this is a reflection of my introverted lifestyle and confused thinking.

    These days, I want to shoot more people – pretty women and interesting faces.

    I only wish my camera could speak for me.

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    “…I’m still trying to figure out what photography means to me.
    I think young people should try to find different ways of
    expressing themselves, and, when they find something that works,
    hang on to it tightly, maybe even cling to it as a lifestyle.
    ..”

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    What has influenced your work? Your childhood, friends, someone special, books, music, movies?

    I think childhood experiences have an enormous influence on everyone.

    Between movies, books, and music, movies impact me most. They are so full of life. Music is quite a bit different than movies, but also owns an special place in my heart.

    Movies, music, and books are actually all so beautiful and fascinating compared to our day-to-day realities. They bring to life the youth and inspire their senses of self-expression. Their influence is everywhere, yet difficult to articulate.

    Regarding my artistic influences, I can really only think of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up. The main character is a photographer and the movie is all about the process of photographing, developing, and blowing up photos. But this is not what’s important. What’s most important is that the movie is quiet and beautiful – it has a special resonance in my heart.

    Tranquil – that’s the best adjective to describe my work.

    I remember precisely the first time I watched Blow Up – a weekend afternoon at my house. It was sunny and I felt dizzy while watching. Later I learned that my dizziness was caused by an earthquake. I originally thought the film was making me dizzy – hahaha – in reality, everyone around me at the time was dizzy.

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    “…I don’t think my photos are good enough…I don’t even like
    them
    very much…I often shoot photos in my head, but need to
    wait for the scenes to unfold in reality to be able to actually
    capture them in a photograph. I’m
    always waiting…”

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    You quoted Ai Weiwei in one of your photo collections saying, “I think people should just forget about photography all together. There is no such thing as photography in this world. Just like cars, if you don’t want to move from point A to point B, then cars are just giant iron shells, completely meaningless.” What does photography mean to you?

    In some ways, I agree with Ai Weiwei. It’s a great metaphor.

    I recently changed my online status to “know how.” The complete sentence being “know how it is, but don’t know why it is like that.” This is what I think about photography – very unique and beautiful.

    I want to live under such presumptions. When you know it, but you don’t know why it is like that, you can always take the best shots.

    But, it’s a process. I’m still trying to figure out what photography means to me. I think young people should try to find different ways of expressing themselves, and, when they find something that works, hang on to it tightly, maybe even cling to it as a lifestyle.

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    Your photography is very unique. It has a certain sense of tranquility to it. Tell us a bit about how you developed your style.

    My photographs aren’t very serious. To be honest, I don’t really think too much about them. The photos I take – why I take them, how I take them, etc. – it all just comes from my heart.

    If asked to use one word to describe how I feel when I’m shooting, it’s “scary.”

    Reality is scary, but it’s a different kind of scary from the scary in horror films.

    Tranquility is sort of scary, and I’m extremely sensitive to scary things. I never watch horror films.

    Have you watched Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea by Miyazaki Hayao? This is exactly the kind of scary that I’m talking about. You know, when the fish is tossed in the sea, and then after the tsunami Ponyo is in the boat with the little boy. Their houses were all submerged in the water or flooded. The water was clear and they could see everything beneath, including the fish. It looks beautiful. But I think it’s scary. This kind of “scary” is rooted deeply inside everyone’s heart.
 What’s most magical is that there is always something in real life that resonates with our hearts. For me, this is photography. I see it, I feel it, and I photograph it.

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    “…my photographs aren’t very serious. To be honest, I don’t really
    think about too much about them. The photos I take – why I take them,
    how I take them, etc. –  it all just comes from my heart

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    What do you think of your photography?

    I don’t think my photos are good enough, and I don’t even like them very much. I often shoot photos in my head, but need to wait for the scenes to unfold in reality to be able to actually capture them in a photograph. I’m always waiting.

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    Your photos seem to mirror your life. Tell us a bit about your life. What is most important to you?

    Eating delicious food.

    Sometimes I joke that I live for eating – three square meals a day.

    As for my photography, I spend most of my spare time framing and shooting in my head. I’m doing it all the time. That’s why my work reflects scenes from my day-to-day life.

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    Despite obvious examples of copying, some people say that China is currently experiencing a creative rebirth and emergence. What’s so great the Chinese creatives you know?

    I never researched this, so I can’t agree or disagree with the “rebirth” statement.

    As for copying, I think the whole world is doing that. To put it in a larger context, copying is a fundamental pattern of human behavior. Children have to imitate adults in order to grow up.

    But, I do agree that our generation hasn’t produced any original masters in any field.

    As to the “what’s so great about Chinese creatives” question…hmmm. If I try to make such a definite statement, then I’m no different than those who make the blanket statement that “all Chinese creatives are copy cats.”

    To put it another way, I think what is least valued about Chinese creatives is maybe what should be the most valued.

    But, it really depends on the observer’s perspective. Something can be loathsome, or it can be lovely. It just depends on who says so.

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    more of Little Bird’s photography ///

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    More Creative Inspiration

    Comments
    1. yellowmoon says:

      照片很棒。
      我赞成艾也赞成她的看法。
      好好把持住,哈哈。

    2. Faith Saganek says:

      Amazing photographs! How do I get in touch with Little Bird or a gallery that represents her work to purchase a print?

    3. Anthony Blair/ Faith Saganek-Blair says:

      Where can we find more information on Little Bird’s work? Has she been in any shows lately and how can we purchase prints?

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