Yung Hua Chen’s photography is seductive and cinematic. The Taipei-based photographer captures alluring portraits for fashion designers and also, purely for the love of the medium. Recently, she’s been shooting her lover Chihtian Shih. She tells It’s Nice That, “he inspires me in many kinds of ways. He’s an actor and plays many different roles that give him different life experiences.” Chihtian’s brooding good looks are seen in all types of situations; dappled in a dusky sunlight, walking the streets of Taipei, peacefully sleeping still in his clothes.
For the photographer and her muse, taking photographs together is an intimate experience. “We are sensitive to each other and observe things in different ways”, says Yung. “We understand each other during the shoot and I enjoy working with him because I feel comfortable and poetic.” Whatever the situation, Yung’s photography feels effortlessly glamorous. A casual outing with her boyfriend is seen as a high fashion shoot through the lens of camera led by Yung’s eagle-eyed perceptions.
Capturing light and shadow is in Yung’s second nature. “I always think that light is like water,” says Yung, “they come in different forms and change in different ways. Light might stay quietly at the corner, flow in-between shadows, and fade away without anything left.” Her fundamental understanding of the way light moves in photography is exemplary. Shadows are drawn out to highlight certain details of the portraits, like a softened chin harbouring the glare of a light, or a blurred reflection coming off the window of a moving vehicle.
Yung started taking photos at a young age. “I remember when I was in kindergarten and my dad used to take me to lots of places in Taipei by scooter”, Yung recalls. “We went to the botanical garden and art communities, or even just on the street and used to take lots of photos there.” For Yung and her family, photography was a way to document happy moments, “thinking back to these memories makes me feel warm and happy” she remembers.
Presently, Yung’s favourite subjects to photograph are models with unisex or non-gender specific characteristics. “I am fascinated by the meaning of the feminine temperament and I love to photograph people that look soft and gentle with a fierce presence,” she says. The photographs characterise the models’ personality through a balance of powerful aestheticism and Yung’s sensitive art direction. It comes down to a level of trust that allows the models to reveal a naked emotion in front of Yung’s lens and she hopes “the viewer can feel the atmosphere [she tries] to express by feeling the colours and shape of the character in the photograph." In essence, she "wishes the viewer can also just be themselves and become inspired by the scene” in front of them.