Based between Berlin and Shanghai, the photographer Shuwei Liu flits between personal and commercial work; but regardless of their end purpose, his photographic results are always atmospherically conceptual. He recently photographed the Croquis SS19 campaign, titling the Chinese menswear brand’s shoot as An Invitation from Another World and centring the shoot’s concept around Chinese mythology and his childhood experiences.
“During my childhood,” Shuwei tells It’s Nice That, “the only kinds of houses I could draw, were either mushroom-shaped or tree-shaped.” His fictional world became known as Planet Mushroom and was the starting point for this Croquis shoot. The idea seemed to fit well with the fashion brand’s new David Bowie-inspired collection, drawing out the alien-like style with Shuwei’s signature quirky ideas. Futuristically dressed, the models embody Shuwei’s concept of planet mushroom. And on this concept, he somewhat arbitrarily adds: “mushroom and jellyfish must understand music much better than us… Look at their bodies, and look at ours.”
As a result, the campaign sees water features, ethereal video art and an Alice in Wonderland surrealism; white rabbit and all. The repetition of the white rabbit actually refers to an ancient myth, however. The myth details a woman named Chang’e who “left the earth, flew to the moon and settled down there”, explains Shuwei. “She was turned into a rabbit as punishment for using a longevity drug. So, on every night of the full moon (which is the 15th of every month on the lunar calendar) the rabbit will be working hard on making drugs. Please do pay attention to the shadows on the moon,” he adds.
The photoshoot is set in this otherworldly moon. The lo-fi photography, taken on disposable cameras, becomes part of the story as well. In Shuwei’s vision, witnesses to Chang’e’s transformation have taken the grainy photographs, capturing the white rabbit, the moon’s inhabitants and the strangeness of the surrounding environment. The photographer goes on to say, “the tunnel scene is where they try to depart. Whether they made it or not, I have no idea.”
A particularly conceptual shoot for a SS19 fashion campaign, An Invitation from Another World is an example of how a commercial project can become a continuation of an artist’s personal work. While the characters in the campaign were previously developed on some of Shuwei’s past projects, the photographer comments on how the shoot became “a perfect tribute to David Bowie, the man who fell to Earth himself.”
- Photographer Svetlana Bulatova documents the environmental trauma of the Chechen wars
- From designer to full time artist, Caroline Walls on her gestural paintings
- Benjamin Muzzin on how digital art needs to be “shaken up badly”
- Choose Your Fighter: illustrator Kevin Sabo’s queering of hyper-masculine gaming culture
- Matthew Jones gives insight into Accept & Proceed's work for Nasa
- Illustrator Jordan Awan on fulfilling his childhood dream
- How Pelle Cass creates his jarring “still time-lapse” images
- Apple's new typeface is available for use right now
- Channelling personality into branding: Commission Studio on Fenty’s new visual identity
- Does the perfect portfolio exist? Top creatives and studios offer their advice
- Droga5 unveils undulating identity for London’s newest outdoor destination, The Tide
- Applications are now open for The Graduates 2019!