The imagery of LA based director and photographer Bobby Vu represents a dreamlike mix of bursting colours, strong faces and memorable scenes.
How did you get involved in photography?
I first got involved into photography during filmmaking. The filmmaking process was such a slow process where you are completely dependent on your cast and crew. From writing the script, casting actors, looking for the right location with permission, and then find someone willing to score the music. Sometimes, it takes years to finish a short film on a low budget. So instead of waiting for others and decided to pick up the camera and start creating. Hopefully, photography would keep my filmmaking eye constantly sharp. I fell in love with it.
And what fascinates you about making films?
While growing up, while other kids are out playing, I was home watching films. Mostly American and Asian films. What fascinates me is how the film makes you feel and how it touches our hearts. A movie can make you scared, happy, silly, or even depressed. People in general has always been my fascination and seeing how they react to film is my high. My goal is create something that people will talk about for generations and I’m still far from that goal.
What do you want to capture in your work?
To capture a complex range of emotions and aesthetics in the photos. Even if an image is just a simple one. We usually start out by focusing on how to make a pretty photo and then try to tell more in the photos by capturing the subjects to look like they are in a different world. Where the setting has become it’s own personality with usage of composition and colors without photoshopping them into another fantasy setting entirely. As if they are in a movie.
The essence of a perfect image?
I might be strange, but I love imperfections in images. I used to be a perfectionist by wanting to have things perfectly symmetrical or follow a composition grid but when I started researching old classic photos from life magazine and wonder why they’re so amazing. It’s amazing because it was very distinctively human. They tell you more of a story than just a perfectly beautiful photo. I wanted to adapt that essence in my films as well, when things aren’t perfect but still capture the human spirit. Of course, then there is the other side of my work which is super polished. My CLASS photoseries. My geeky portrait series that is influenced by 1800s European oil paintings.
Do you take your camera everywhere you go?
I take my camera out 50% of the time. In case of emergency, I’m okay with just using my phone or borrow the camera from the person next to me. lol
What do you want to be remembered by?
I want to inspire others to be themselves because I love everyone’s uniqueness. You are you and nobody else could be you. Even if they made a movie about you starring Daniel Day Lewis. That is basically the secret to originality. So I wanted to be remembered as the guy who helped many artists become who they are.