Photography and Artist Statement by Rongrong Liu, Copyright 2018
I woke up in the morning, looking into the mirror. That was a face I am so familiar with for 22 years, but how well do I actually know it? For most of the time, our face faces others. I didn’t realize how much I have changed when comparing the photos taken this year with the ones taken in my freshman year. I am just too used to it to recognize any everyday change. Then how about me, as a person? How much have I deviated from the me two years ago?
My photography experience started from my interest in fashion. I wanted to use this individual project to push me back to where I started, and use myself as the subject to let me re-examine and look into myself. I enjoy the paradoxical freedom and constraint of self-studio. During the photoshoots, there was no one else there, so I was completely free. I can control the camera. I can control the setting. I can control my facial expressions and my styling. However, the vacant viewpoint controlled me. I was not instructed, therefore I didn’t know how the photos would turn out to be. This makes self-studio harder than the regular photoshoot, but I enjoyed the unplanned surprises it brought and revealed the true me in front of the camera.
I didn’t plan for a specific theme in fashion to shoot, instead, I put together everything I love. There are some standard aesthetic stylings and self portraits – it is a regular me. There are some beauty photos, the starry night and the sakura (cherry blossom makeup), the ideas of which have jammed in my mind for a long time, but I wasn’t bold enough to wear those makeups outside. And there are ironic high-street fake design collaborations – it is a me to explore. The co-branding collaboration in high-street fashion becomes a way for brands to earn incredible profits through successful marketing. The supreme shirt is 50 dollars originally, but after its collaboration with Louis Vuitton, the t-shirt was sold at 395 dollars and more. What about this Colgate and Louis Vuitton collaboration, whose brand logo is so similar to Supreme? I guess via some systematic brand marketing, it could achieve the same. Other than that, there are some other collaborations like Joshua Sanders’ symbolic smiley face versus Acne Studios’ emoji, and the most recent rainbow burberry pattern in trend versus bandage. All these ideas popped up in my mind and I used the camera to record them visually. It is like my brainstorming diary.
This individual project on myself is not completed yet and it won’t be completed because I will continue doing it on my way to further self-exploration.
About The Author: Rongrong Liu is a Junior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Rongrong Liu, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/rongrong-liu-a-colorful-favela/