Chances are you already know Chen Man, or at least have seen her work before. Born in Beijing, she went to high school at the Central Academy of Drama, and graduated college from Central Academy of Fine Arts in China.
At first, she focused on painting and sculpture but was soon drawn to the photography industry where she gained worldwide recognition with her stunning fashion photos.
Chen Man came to Paris last month for a photo shoot and was nice enough to spend some time with eYeka to discuss her work, creativity and share pieces of advice for the eYeka Community. Here’s the interview the Chen Man. Enjoy!
eYeka: You once said that the most important thing in photography is the “idea”, not the technology. You don’t need a good camera to get a nice photo, but your “creative consciousness”. Can you share with us more about this?
Chen Man: First of all, be yourself. You must be true to yourself and know what you want. Secondly, I think the “idea” is the most important part. You must let others know what you’re trying to express. Then, and only then, your photography toolkit comes into play.
eYeka: You have developed your own style in photography, and because of your success, some photographers are trying to copy your style. What do you think of that? Do you think modeling one’s style is also one of the ways to learn and to improve in photography?
Chen Man: Others have copied me since long ago. I think it’s a good recognition and it’s essential for me to be acknowledged as a photographer. Just like how I have a lot of followers on my Weibo, being copied is a foundation to build your own market.
I don’t really care being copied by the others as there are really no rules for taking great pictures, just resilience and hard work. In fact, I have always believed that as long as you keep on going and constantly innovate, no one can surpass you. Take a look at Lady Gaga. There are lots of people trying to imitate her, but she is still the top one. So be sure about yourself, never give up, and your talent will show!
eYeka: Can you share with us where does your inspiration usually come from?
Chen Man: Basically my inspiration comes from life, my own life and that of people around me. I like to observe every single detail in my life and build on it. I feel like it is so colorful and there are simply too many things I want to express. I don’t need to force myself to find inspiration, my work is influenced by the world we live in which is why it is complex. Right now for instance I focus on traditional Chinese philosophy, which I love, and how it applies to our modern world. In a way I try to mix the millenarian Chinese culture “hardware” with the Western culture “software”.
eYeka: Thank you, Chen! Last question, do you have any suggestions for our eYeka community?
Chen Man: I specially want to emphasize about plagiarism issue. Some creators may be unhappy if someone else copied their works. I feel ashamed as well that in my country, China, there’s no special law or regulations to protect and enforce the copyrights.
I want to say to your creators that I am experiencing the same thing as they do. However, deep down it should not be a concern. As long as you keep on improving yourself and bring forth new ideas, others will not overtake you. A professional once told me that: “You have been copied for long, but you have never been overtaken.” This would be my advice to your Community!
Thanks again Chen Man for the advice to eYeka community! If you want to know more about her or her works, check out her website here
If you want to put her tips into action, don’t hesitate to jump in one of our contests!