Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Yuan.
Christine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My relationship with photography was born out of traveling. When I was 18, I traveled to Southeast Asia to visit my uncle in Thailand. There, I was amazed and shocked by what I saw — boat markets where people bought what they needed daily on a river, elephants painting with their trunks, kids dressed in decorative wear begging for money. It was a whirlwind of imagery and I desperately wanted to capture it all because there’s this surreal sensation of “I can’t believe this is real.”
That trip led me to take a darkroom photography class in college and I fell in love with photography as a medium, as it was quite immediate and something you could do on your own. I eventually desired to see my images move, which led me to film school at UCLA. Learning to direct and work with others was another ball game, but the rush of collaboration and the finished product was something that I had never experienced before and enjoyed the challenge of. I now practice both photography and filmmaking and I think the balance of both is something I really enjoy.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think the relationship to your work is always a continuous road to walk down and the further you walk, the smoother it hopefully gets with practice and experience. There are always bumps in the road, but the challenge is to keep walking. There’s no other choice! At least for me, there isn’t. I’m in this relationship to my craft for life and I am quite excited by that.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Sometimes the most challenging part of my job is having a different schedule everyday and learning to set routines and daily practices for yourself. A challenge is not overworking yourself because you don’t subscribe to a 9-5 and you sometimes don’t know when to stop working. My hours are irregular and different but that’s also what makes me love what I do. The trick is to constantly be in dialogue with yourself and your needs.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me, success is creating something you love and are proud of. It’s tricky because you can also be your own biggest critic and success will always remain one step away. There are works you look back on and are fond of, but I’m not sure if anything can wholly really encapsulate what you’d call your soul. And that’s what drives me. There are moments that it does and those are rare and brilliant. But I think that’s what continues to drive me – is to constantly peel back and reveal my soul thru works I attempt to express myself through. Success to me is creating a clear channel through your work to reveal your soul.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
My plans for the future are to continue walking down the path that I’m on and meeting new people and discovering both new and old ways of expressing my experience of being human.
Photography by Christine Yuan