Henry Lu for ZE5T Magazine

A few weeks ago, my high school friend Allan hit me up about this cross-disciplinary arts magazine he is starting, the magazine would feature emerging Canadian artists. Long story short, I jumped on board to be the photographer! Personally, I have been looking to be involved in projects where I only have to focus on making images and leave the editorial and logistics to other people. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice my portrait skills and editing techniques.

Our first interview featured a mutual friend, Henry, who is an Chinese international student studying Arts Management at University of Toronto Scarborough, in addition, he also practices performance art. You can read the interview here. I took photos during the interview and some standard (“safe”) portraits to go with the article. But I also had an impromptu photo session with Henry inspired by his interview.

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As we were interviewing Henry, I was brainstorming locations for the portraits. Since we were close to the Toronto Chinatown, I thought it would be fitting to take photos there. But Henry immediately spoke out against Chinatown, he said he hates Chinatown because it represents a poor image of China (“Do people seriously think that China still looks like this?”) Throughout the interview, the name of renowned Chinese contemporary artist and dissident Ai Weiwei kept coming up, after learning his reservations about Chinatown, I felt it would be appropriate to recreate Ai Weiwei’s “Study of Perspective” photo series (aka the one with the middle fingers at landmarks).

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I’m really happy about how these photos turned out and it was great working with Henry. I’m glad we created something everyone’s happy with under the spontaneous circumstances.

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