Welcome to this seventh episode of the new Dior Talks series ‘The Female Gaze’. With the term developed in response to the writings of feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey, this podcast series will explore how the work of the female photographers and creatives collaborating with Dior offers a radically new and progressive image of women.
In this episode, series host Charlotte Jansen, a British journalist and author, speaks with Lean Lui, a young photographer making major strides in the worlds of fashion and art imagery with her development of a dreamlike, metaphorical, emotional aesthetic. Self-taught, she only began taking pictures seriously two years ago when she was nineteen, the same age at which, incredibly, she also published her first book. She first picked up a camera when she was six years old and has been fascinated with image-making ever since. On the eve of her move to London to start an MA at Central Saint Martins, she is in great demand for fashion, editorial and gallery-based work.
Now twenty-one years old, Lean Lui was born and lives in Hong Kong. She credits her interest in the photography to her early fascination with its chemical processes and arbitrary, analogue roots. Her love of this vintage aesthetic combined with a childhood obsession with reality TV modeling shows, and she started taking pictures of her friends and cousins while other children were in the playground. As she grew older, she developed a passion for the Surrealists and ‘wabi-sabi’, the Japanese aesthetic of transience and imperfection. Her greatest influences have always been painters and thinkers rather than other photographers. In the last couple of years, she has shot for Vogue Italia, VICE Magazine and Figaro HK, as well as the recent ‘Secret Garden’ shoot for Dior Magazine.
In this week’s episode, Charlotte Jansen asks Lean Lui about her influences and ambitions for the future and her own particular approach to feminism and expanding notions of the female gaze. Lui describes herself as a solitary child, more interested in creating her own worlds and forming her own visual language than following the status quo. As she gets ready to embark on her MA at Central Saint Martins in London, she elaborates on her own 21st-century feminism and already considerable body of work, including her landmark series of images ‘Teenage Problems’ in which she captured a group of girls navigating their place in the world.