The young and talented Tea XUXU fascinates us as a model in front of the camera as well as a photographer behind the camera. Her pictures are cheeky, fun-loving and reason enough for us to pelt her with a few questions.
What inspires you?
Someone that has never had the feeling that his head explodes due to all his creativity is not going to understand what I mean,- a dustman as well as a business man, the naked woman showing on the poster of Beate Uhse, as well as the small girl from a Froop commercial, a spider, a breath of wind, all the people that cross my way. I pay attention to details, to their gestures and originalities that they have. The whole world is a source of inspiration,- you only have to know how to use it.
Is individuality something important to you?
I think as a photographer on the basis of professional ethics you have to be individual, otherwise you are not going to survive the business.I despise photographers that just make one-to-one copies from other artwork. You can get your inspiration from magazines, but you then have to convert your picture in your own way.Every picture has been shown in 1000 of different ways, therefore it is difficult to do something completely new,-something that the world has not seen before. So much the more I think that photography has become one of the most difficult jobs.
Your pictures have a very feminine language… Do you think that men and woman subconsciously use a different metaphorical language?
I think that pictures are just like love between men and woman. There is the sort of anger, when men put their foot down, leave the room and go to the bar around the corner and when woman throw the new chinaware after them. There is the sort of passion, when a man jumps up from his chair in order to cheer for his favourite football team and screams like a lion and the passion of a woman when she shows off her new shoes. It is happiness, danger, lack of understanding, desire and differences in opinion. Men and woman are never going to be the same, therefore neither will be their photographs. A men sees a woman differently than she does see herself. Woman often forget that our small imperfections also make us special and make us a likeable person. But we often want those imperfections to be retouched. And sometimes men don´t understand that only the small action of a mouse click is necessary to make us woman happy :)
Photography is art. To what extend does this statement apply to you. Or do you have another statement that describes better what photography means to you?
Everyone defines art in a different way. There are those sort of photographers that want the model to turn the picture exactly into the picture that they have in mind. Others just take pictures and hope that later on when going through them there will be some good ones that you can work with and only then think about what you can create out of the picture. And yet others take the picture in an unplanned moment, when the model doesn´t know that it is being photographed, because those are the moments when people are most beautiful… when they don´t know what is happening around them and when they let their hair down without thinking. I think of myself to be all of those mentioned types, because I think that you have to equate art with individuality and every model has to be treated individually.
You are also a model in front of the camera. Are you enjoying this just as much as being behind the camera?
I use the experience of modelling in order to be able to give my models the right feeling. I know from my own experience what I can trust them to do. I know what is not much fun and I know what is real fun on a shooting. I have worked with various photographers that couldn´t have been any more different and I was able to learn something from all of them, wether it is a positive experience that I want to pass on or a negative one that I want to spare my models. Just the same as I can put into use my positive experiences with the models that I shoot. Therefore I need this balance for myself to be in front and behind the camera, otherwise my photography wouldn´t work the way it does.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ah, I love questions about the future! :) In 5 years I might have been run over by a bus or I am able to realize my 2 dreams. Sitting in one of the world leading advertising agencies with my bachelor diploma hanging on the wall and continuing to work on my dream: to bring out my own magazine. I know these are realistic dreams, hence if I no bus crosses my way the next 5 years, then I am lucky enough ;)
Thanks for your time!
Interview by Christine Guggenberger