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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

Work / Photography

Bee-themed shoot Bal arose from a Turkish film and a stomach ache

“My ideas come from the most ordinary things in life that people don’t usually care much for,” explains Beijing-based photographer Jin Jia Ji. Frequently circling between Beijing, Shanghai and Europe, Jin learned his craft as a photography assistant in this native capital city. As well as shooting for a number of fashion editorial campaigns for the likes of Marie Clare China and Modern Weekly, for Jin, photography is not just a source of income, it is “the most direct way to express emotions for me,” he tells It’s Nice That.

In a recent shoot for the magazine Men’s UNO China, Jin’s concept came about in a rather unexpected way. Emphasising the opening statement that his ideas come from the most ordinary things, the starting point for this shoot arose with a stomach problem. “I was eating honey a lot because I had a stomach problem,” says Jin.“And it helped, I always notice the beauty of honey when it’s in a different shape and then, this thought extended into a bee themed shoot.”

Upon realising a shared interest for the 2010 Turkish film Bal, the magazine’s fashion director Evan and Jin teamed up to make the bee themed shoot happen. For the latest issue, the pair of creatives took inspiration from Semih Kaplanoglu’s film which translates as “honey” in English. The film centres around a six-year-old boy searching for his lost father, a beekeeper who has unexpectedly disappeared. With little dialogue or music throughout the film, the visuals play a key role in the storytelling and in a similar vein, Jin’s bee-themed shoot does the same.

Jin describes being a photographer like “a dream” where he can experiment and portray new ideas and emotions. “I don’t have a fixed style yet” he says on the matter, “I am still open to new possibilities” and in this way, Bal sees the photographer take on a cinematic approach to the golden honeycombs and beekeeper fashion aesthetic. Focusing on the differing forms of honey, its makers and a range of garments inspired by those who tend to the bees, Jin’s shoot for the Chinese magazine is rich in colour, style and composition. And, by offsetting the fashion-centred images with more artistic shots that makes us feel all gooey and runny just like honey, Jin’s shoot presents us with an all-encompassing narrative lifted from both film and unexpected personal experiences.

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal

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Jin Jia Ji: Men’s UNO China, Bal