When I first started my photography business I had no idea how to reach people or gain an audience. I had an Instagram account but no followers and a website without viewers. But one day I woke up to the reality that there were people following me, amazingly creative people.
Fiona Hsu was the first person to contact me about my photography after I had started my business. On August 10th 2016 she reached out to me with a few questions about photography and asked if I could do a few tutorials (ones which I have not done, but have plans to do in the future). I have since followed her as she has grown on her own journey and couldn’t think of a better person to open up this new series of blog posts.
Every month I would like to do a ‘First Friday Feature’ post and share with you other creative individuals who are constantly inspiring me. I think artists should come together to create a community that can grow and create together. And by sharing the work of other artists we are able to help each other reach more people and a wider audience.
So let’s begin this journey here, with the amazingly talented Fiona Hsu.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, what makes you tick?
My name is Fiona Hsu (Little Corvidae), I’m a self taught fine artist and photographer. I am very passionate for arts and also curious with the past eras and have always wanted to visit abandoned houses and empty prairies. My life is filled with cello, piano, orchestra, painting, photography, figure skating, and trespassing into the hills, those are the things that keep me vibrant and free as a bird.
2. What got you started in photography?
I was a competitive figure skater when I was 11 year old, and since I was able to land two double jumps within a year, my coaches saw prudential in me and decided to push me toward competing in many competitions. However, due to over using my legs from skating, I badly torn my right foot tendon and had to go through a surgery which later left me prisoned in a wheelchair for a year, followed by almost two more years of physical therapy. As an passionate and curious adventurer, not being able to move and do the things I love was an absolute torture to me, so from there I went through a lot of self worth and confidence issues. During that time, I started to write short stories and novels not only to practice the English language, but also to imagine myself beyond the wheelchair and to entertain myself. I was scrolling through images for inspirations one night and ran into Brooke Shaden’s photographs, and her haunting and beautiful works healed me and inspired me to start fine art photography.
3. Describe your work flow, what is unique about your process?
What’s unique about my work flow is that the majority of my images are inspired by my unrested dreams at night and odd childhood imaginations. I have a dream journal next to my bed where I record my dreams every morning to remember them. In addition, I also enjoy looking at back at my old artworks I drew little for some funny and interesting concepts.
4. Is there a certain theme you try and express in your work? Why do you feel a need to share that?
I want to express the tale and frames within each and every fallen individuals similar to how I went through my surgery recovery, and to emphasize every aspect of beauty and hopefulness within melancholic definitions. I feel the need to share them for various purposes, most which I challenge to alter the idea how beauty is often seen in the most positive and colorful of forms. I create artworks of negative aspects in life and find a way to signify beauty and worth within them.
5. Where do you find your inspiration? What stories compel you to create?
I find my inspirations in my dream journal beside my bed and daydreams, I also find inspirations on Pinterest and from numeral photographers and painters on Instagram. Bronte’s Jane Eyre is one of the novels that compels me to create and follow my passion, the story of a young girl in search of identity and independence truly inspires me to do the same through my talents.
6. Out of your images, which is your personal favorite and why?
My personal favorite is The Wilted Room. I took a big step of improvement when I finished editing this self portrait, and I can proudly say that this the most powerful image in conveying my theme I’ve created out of all of my works. I was on a trip to Taiwan when I took this image on my phone in our old apartment. I didn’t go back to visit Taiwan as a vacation, but to attend my grandfather’s funeral. Within a year I lost my dearest uncle to cancer and a grandpa in his sleep, so I created this photograph to commemorate my love ones in heaven, to turn them into wilted flowers and to preserve their beauty.
7. Who has been your biggest role model and/or mentor during your journey?
My biggest role model is one of my favorite photographers, Brooke Shaden, her works compelled me into the hidden beauty of photography the moment I see her works. I don’t have any mentor to guide me throughout my photography journey, I learn most of the tips from the Internets.
8. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given was regarding on my self worth and confidence issues. It was to say “I am beautiful and my skin is perfect” a loud to myself when I’m feeling worthless toward my appearance. The advice was given by an absolute amazing fine art photographer, Lillian Merritt. My greatest gratitude to her for empowering me to step in front of the camera and to express my stories through self portraits. With her advice, I’m also able to conquer a lot of personal obstacles in my life including socializing with people, overcoming my shyness, and many more.